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Wavy Surface


Michael S. Cooke

In view of a call as Senior Pastor of Northshore Church



Abstract Pathway

SATURDAY, MAY 18, 2024


6:00PM - 6:30PM

Congregation is invited to come and meet the Cooke family in an informal setting.


6:30PM - 6:45PM

Pastor Search Team will explain their process and how they personally came to recommend Michael.


6:45PM - 7:15PM

Michael will share his heart and answer a few pre-submitted questions.

Abstract Pathway

SUNDAY, MAY 19, 2024


9:00AM & 10:30AM

Michael will present the message at both worship gatherings.

You will have an opportunity to meet Michael in the student room after each worship gathering.


6:00PM - 7:30PM

We will meet to vote on the Pastoral Candidate. Childcare will be provided for babies through pre-school. Registration is required for childcare.






Proberbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."

We embarked on this journey beginning in June of 2023 when each of the seven members of our Search Team were nominated, vetted and approved by the Northshore Church Leadership Team and the Executive Pastoral Staff. We were then affirmed by a Covenant Member vote to serve on the Pastor Search Team. Our incredibly challenging and exciting task was to discover the man that God has chosen to lead Northshore Church upon the retirement of Dr. Larry McEwen in May of this year. From the very first meeting we prayerfully considered all that we had to do, praying earnestly and continually, and sought the Lord’s counsel at every turn. We started and ended each session with heartfelt prayers seeking God’s will, discernment, strength and wisdom. We also prayed continually for unity in the body of believers at Northshore Church.

The composition of our team was determined by the Northshore Church by-laws and constitution and included members of the current Leadership Team, Pastoral Staff and church lay people. To ensure we were properly equipped for this daunting mission, at our very first meeting in early July, we received invaluable training from Don Pucik, the Southern Baptist Association area representative and an expert in assisting churches in finding new pastors. We also studied and learned procedures and advice from several highly respected authoritative works dedicated to this task. As a team we decided to require a unanimous approval of a candidate to bring forward to the congregation, even though the by-laws are less stringent.

Even after all the training and studying, it was clear from God’s call that in order to do this highly important job properly, we would need some professional assistance. So, after laying the foundation for three months, in October, we contacted several Pastor Search Firms, and after carefully vetting each of them, we were led to “The Shepherd Staff,” a leader in the field of providing qualified and thoroughly vetted pastoral staff candidates nationwide. It was evident from the many meetings and interactions with them and from praying for the Lord’s will to be accomplished that God was leading us in their direction.

In November, as part of The Shepherd Staff process a three-member team, led by the President of the company, spent four days at Northshore Church, meeting with our team, the Pastoral Staff, Leadership Team and a wide variety of ministry leader and church member focus groups. The result of this “Discovery Weekend” provided them not only with our mission, purpose and vision, but also a clear picture of Northshore Church’s direction and needs. All this information was compiled into a job description, employment announcement and an extremely accurate Church Profile delivered in December and we began moving forward with Shepherd Staff. Before beginning the search externally, an internal candidate was interviewed and vetted by Shepherd Staff and our team. Ultimately, he decided to remove his nomination for personal and family reasons just before January.

Shepherd Staff initiated the national search for our next Senior Pastor in March of this year. Through a series of detailed stages they reviewed, interviewed and ultimately vetted nearly 70 candidates. Constant collaboration led to the presentation of a single candidate, Michael S. Cooke in late March. Michael is currently the Campus Life Pastor at First Baptist Church Simpsonville, in Simpsonville, SC. We agreed as a team to review Michael immediately instead of waiting for a batch of candidates. We leaned ever deeper on Him for direction while intently pouring over the information in the presentation packet, including his testimony of faith, resume, references, education, work experience, background checks and links to several of Michael’s sermons. We held
three separate Zoom interviews with Michael and spent countless hours reviewing everything about him. After which, each member of our team felt the unmistakable tug of the Holy Spirit toward Michael and his family.


As we moved forward, the team was so incredibly impressed with Michael that a chemistry visit was scheduled for him and his family from April 18-23. During their stay, they spent lots of time getting to know our Pastoral Staff, the Leadership Team, and the Pastor Search Team. They even attended a worship service and were blown away by the genuine love they felt from everyone that greeted them incognito of course. We spent hours interviewing Michael and Jamie in several different settings throughout the visit, during which the Cookes expressed a clear calling back to Louisiana. At our Search Team meeting on Monday, April 22, after much discussion, deliberation and prayer we unanimously voted to affirm Michael S. Cooke and to extend an offer to present him as a Senior Pastor Candidate to the Church. Carrie Tassin and I met with the Cookes later that night in the lobby of their hotel to inform them and initially talk about the way ahead. The first and last thing we did with them was to pray!

The Cookes prayerfully accepted our offer to come in view of a call and will return to Slidell and Northshore Church on May 18th and 19th for the Official Candidates Visit. The Congregation is invited to meet the Cooke Family on Saturday, May 18th at the Church and later to hear their testimony and the Call to Northshore Church.
Michael will then preach at both services on Sunday, May 19th. Later that evening the Church will hold a business meeting where covenanted members will vote on Michael to become our next Senior Pastor; this will require a 90% approval vote.


My prayer for our next Pastor is that he will “Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Tim 4:2). This brings us to the opportunity for our church to meet and fall in love with Michael S. Cooke and his family in two weeks. – David Lawson, Pastor Search Team Chairperson






New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

  • Project Phase

  • Specialization in evangelistic church growth (expected 2024)


New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

  • Specialization in Expository Preaching


North Greenville University

  • Major in Christian Studies



Michael is currently the Campus Life Pastor for First Baptist Simpsonville in Simpsonville, SC. He has 15 years of experience in ministry, with 12 years of experience as a Senior/Lead Pastor.


First Baptist Simpsonville/Upstate Church                                                                        2021- PRESENT
Campus Life Pastor

  • Facilitates a wide variety of ministries in a church of more than 7,000 members.

  • Actively engaged in the pastoral ministry of the church, working to provide ongoing assistance to the Lead Pastor.

  • Involved in the planning and execution of the general ministry of the church.

  • Serves on the teaching team, helping to prepare messages each week,preaching on various Sundays throughout the year.


Authentic Church - Greenville, SC                                                                                              2020-2021
Lead Pastor (Founder/Planter)

  • Stepped out in faith to plant a new church.

  • Organized the charter and developed constitution and bylaws.

Cornerstone Baptist Church - Woodruff, SC                                                                              2015-2020
Senior Pastor

  • Hired staff who led their ministries well.

  • Church grew rapidly, seeing many saved and baptized.

Tucapau Baptist Church and Philadelphia Baptist                                                                    2013-2015
Church - Startex and Pauline, SC
Interim Pastor


Enon Baptist Church - Franklinton, LA                                                                                       2009-2013
Senior Pastor

  • Licensed: Williams Blvd. Baptist Church - Kenner, LA (2008)

  • Ordained: Enon Baptist Church - Franklinton, LA (2009)




Dear Northshore Church,


My wife Jamie and I have very much enjoyed getting to know your Pastor Search Committee and learning about all that God has been doing at Northshore Church over the last 23 years. As we have prayed over the last several weeks, we feel very strongly that coming to Northshore Church is God’s plan for the next chapter of our lives.


Over the past several months God has been leading our family through a transitional time in which we knew that He was leading me back into a senior pastorate position. Currently, I am serving as a Campus Life Pastor at First Baptist Simpsonville Upstate Church. Throughout this season of seeking God’s will in this next chapter, I have clung to these words “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Duet. 31:8). Moses said these words to Joshua in front of the Children of Israel, commissioning him to lead the people into the Land of Promise. Isn’t it awesome to know that the Lord Himself still goes before us and with us through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit?! We earnestly believe that God has been shaping and preparing both our family and Northshore Church, so that our stories might converge at this very point in time to begin what promises to be a chapter full of adventure and successful service in His Kingdom work! We cannot wait to meet all of you and work alongside you in the fields that are white for harvest on the Northshore in Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, and around the world (Jn.4:35, Acts 1:8)!


As your Senior Pastor my ministry will largely focus on preaching and teaching the Word of God and leading our congregation to be both disciples and disciple makers. My desire is that our membership will grow both spiritual and physically as we love and admonish one another in the word of the Lord (Col.3:16-17).


We are already praying for you and humbly ask that you will pray for us as we will be leaving behind a ministry and family that we truly love here in South Carolina. Nevertheless, we could not be more excited about what God has in store for Northshore Church and us in the days ahead.


We are confident and have a great sense of peace about this move because we believe that God is bringing our stories together so that we might continue to worship and glorify Him in the years ahead. God has given us a love for you already and we look forward to growing together in the Lord with you.

In Christ Jesus,

Michael Cooke



When I think of what truly sums me up, it all comes down to one word… and that word is relationships. In fact, I don't know if there is anything in this life that I value more. I can't tell you everything there is to know about me without telling you about the incredible individuals in my life that have and continue to personally mentor, mold, and shape me. However, all these relationships are infused by and are in reality because of the one relationship that means everything, my personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! Without Him, I am nothing but because of Him I am becoming the man, husband, father, and pastor that He has called and created me to be.

I surrendered to Christ at the age of five. While this is considered a young age by most standards, when I heard the Gospel message I genuinely repented of my sins and received the Holy Spirit. I will never forget that day as it changed the entire trajectory of my life. I had the great privilege of growing up in a Christian household where both
my mother and father instilled in me a love for the Lord by both their teaching and their lifestyles. That love was also fostered over the years by various leaders in our local church that consistently poured into my life. At the age of 16, I knew that the Lord was calling me to preach and fully surrendered to His calling on my life. Since the age of 16, the ministry has been my primary focus and vocation.


I also met my wife Jamie around this time, and she has been my constant companion in life and ministry ever since. We were married in 2005 and we have four wonderful children named Sawyer, Lola, Jamison, and Oliver. Other than my salvation, my relationship with my wife, and the relationships that I have with our children have been the greatest blessing that God has ever given me.

Over the years we have served in several churches from church plants to established and thriving churches. Wherever the Lord has led us we have always sought to make disciples who make disciples through both corporate and individual evangelism. I love preaching and teaching the Word of God to encourage and edify the saints and to call the lost to salvation. We can’t wait to truly get to know you and work with you in the ministry that we believe that God is calling us to do together on the Northshore and beyond.


Philippians 2:12-13
“Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence but now much more in my absence continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it God who works in you to will and to act in order to
fulfill his good purpose.”






“Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility], Philippians 2:5. This verse of Scripture resonated with me when asked to lead our Pastor Search Team. I was extremely humbled and honored to help take on the critically important task of seeking God’s will and discovering the man He has already chosen to serve as the next Senior Pastor of Northshore Church. Throughout this long and arduous process our team clung to the promise that, “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth so that He may support those whose heart is completely His,” 2 Chronicles 16:9. Each member of the team bathed our efforts in prayer and continually sought after God’s heart in this matter. After months in faithful obedience and steadfast effort, the doors to discern the Lord’s will were flung open and Michael S Cooke emerged as the man of God we firmly believe to be chosen as the Senior Pastor of Northshore Church. Michael is a true Shepherd of God’s flock whose sacrificial love for people is only matched by his genuine love for the Lord. His heart is for the lost to come to Jesus and Michael has committed himself to reach others with the life changing Gospel of Christ. Led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Michael Cooke has been called to impact Northshore Church with God’s word spoken and shown in truth and love. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24



“Although we might have looked at various aspects of this assignment through different lenses, we all had one goal – to locate God’s man for the next Lead Pastor at Northshore. Not sure if each member of the PST had a “benchmark” characteristic that each one was looking for in a pastor, but my ideal man that God had for us must preach the whole counsel of God unapologetically. The apostle Paul says this in Acts 20:27 – “For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” It is my belief that Paul stresses to the young Timothy in his 2 letters to him that preaching the Word is of the utmost importance. Therefore, I was very interested in hearing our next pastor preach. After listening to Bro. Michael preach 3 or 4 times, I believed he would do just that – unapologetically preach God’s Word. After hearing him, and after speaking with him about what he preached, I was satisfied that he would not hesitate to preach any part of God’s Word. And I loved the fact that he passionately preaches as if he is sold out to God and His Word. I was willing to take the other characteristics one by one. In other words, I did not have a checklist to go by and check off the boxes. If he honored God with his life, met the criteria in I Timothy 2, and I believed that he was God’s man for the position. Personality and other traits were negotiable as I believe God can use any man He calls to preach for His glory. And that is what we should strive for, to bring God glory. As we began to interview Bro. Michael, what I noticed and loved about him was, he was the same man whether he was preaching or being asked questions. His love for God and his fellow man was evident no matter what he was doing. This was later confirmed when I was able to meet him in person. After hearing Michael, meeting him, and checking references, I was convinced that he was God’s man for the job. Is he perfect? Absolutely not, but there is not a perfect pastor in existence. Will he make mistakes? Probably, as that goes along with not being perfect. But will he love the people at Northshore as well as the community of Slidell? I believe he will! I look forward to this new era at Northshore Church. “



“The search for the next senior pastor of Northshore Church has been an amazing, God-led process. Our team has covered this search in prayer, and we have not taken this task lightly. My husband and I have been members of Northshore Church for 20 years so searching for our next senior pastor was one I knew would not be easy. By partnering with Shephard Staff, our team was able to connect with Michael. We held several virtual interviews and spent several days with him and his family. During this time, I felt a sense of peace that God was leading us to our next senior pastor. Michael has a love and passion for ministry. He has a passion to lead people to Christ while also deepening the walk with those who are already believers. He has several mentors in his life that he seeks counsel with and continues to meet with them. Michael does not want to come in and change the way Northshore Church is. He plans to spend the first year listening and learning about our congregation. I strongly believe that Michael S. Cooke will be a great fit at Northshore Church and by selecting him as our next senior pastor, Northshore Church will continue to thrive and grow in Christ.”



“Having been a member of the staff since 2012, it is difficult to think of Northshore Church without Pastor Larry leading us. He has, by the equipping of the Savior he loves, built an amazing church family. We spent a lot of time asking the Lord to help us find the right person to lead this church forward from here. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised when I met Michael and his family! Had God really answered our prayers so completely? Michael’s easy-to￾know personality and obvious love for Jesus and his church put me at ease immediately. His desire to share the love of Christ with everyone he meets is infectious and his deep desire to disciple those around him is on point with the direction Northshore Church is already headed. I was especially pleased to recognize his leadership style as one that I believe will suit our staff well as well as our church family.”



“As Northshore Church affirmed the Pastor Search Team, we collectively sensed the reality of responsibility and importance of the roles we humbly accepted. Though our next steps were unknown, we unanimously united in prayer seeking godly wisdom and God's Will for Northshore Church. This prayer was a consistent echo in our gatherings. We agreed to lay all biases aside and follow the Lord's direction by making decisions by "Trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and not leaning on our own understandings." Proverbs 3:5 As we patiently sought after the Lord, He presented vast tools and resources that allowed us to vet numerous candidates, including Michael Cooke. Michael presented himself with authenticity, genuineness and compassion in the gospel and especially discipling all followers of Christ. He consistently demonstrated an unconditional love towards Northshore and its congregation. His leadership, unapologetic view of the gospel and love for people coincides with the DNA of Northshore Church. I've watched and listened to Michael's interactions with his family, and he is an encouragement of a godly husband and father who actively leads his family according to the Lord. I believe the Lord has answered our prayers due to our obedience in seeking His Will for Northshore Church rather than our own. I am thankful for our congregation who prayerfully supported our team, but more importantly sought after the Lord's Will. I am excited to see the Lord continue to use Northshore Church in and beyond Slidell.”



“It has been a sacred honor to be a part of the Pastor Search Team. Each one of us felt the weight and responsibility to steward and protect the vision God gave to Pastor Larry and Jay 23 years ago. For many of us, Northshore Church has been a safe place in which God’s love embraces you where you are… a church that felt more like “a hospital rather than a courtroom.”


I was humbled by the teams’ dedication to prayer and willingness to patiently wait to hear from God as He directed our steps. As we present a candidate, I think it is important to remember that this was not merely the decision of 7 members of the search team. Rather, this is the result of hundreds maybe thousands of prayers by church members and other believers across the country that have been praying for our church, and the next shepherd for NSC. Those prayers were felt, coveted, and appreciated by the team. The God who promised never to leave us or forsake us, was with us throughout the process.


Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6


This path has directed us to Michael Cooke. Among other attributes, his authenticity, humility, and exuberant passion to share the love of Jesus with anyone he meets make him a great match for NSC. I am excited to see how Northshore Church will disciple, train, and equip the next generations of believers to share the love of Jesus to a hurt and lost world.”



“I have seen God move through this search process perhaps more clearly than I ever have in my walk with Him. It has been a humbling, refining journey, and one that myself nor my family have taken lightly. The weight and eternal importance of this decision has been felt by the whole team, but God has proven faithful to guide us towards His plan. Your search team has not agreed on everything over these past 9 months, but we agree that Michael Cooke is the right choice for Northshore's next Sr Pastor, and we can see God's hand has been guiding Michael and his family here toward us long before we ever spoke. One of our prayers has been modeled after 1 Corinthians 1:10 where Paul implores the church at Corinth towards unity: “Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction.” I believe God has answered this prayer for our team, and this verse continues to be my prayer for our church family. Michael brings a style of humble, genuine leadership that NSC has always been known for. This is coupled with his deep love for people, commitment to his role as husband and father within his own family, and unapologetic approach to preaching God's Word. He desires for Northshore Church to continue to be a hospital for the broken, while also doing the work to deepen the walk of seasoned believers. He brings proven experience in leading staff and congregations alike. He is not Larry McEwen, but he is not supposed to be. I believe selecting Michael Cooke is the next step in God's incredible plan for Northshore Church.”





3. Call of Senior Pastor--A Senior Pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. His election shall take place at a meeting of the church for that purpose, in which at least two (2) weeks notice shall be given. The Search Team of seven (7) shall be comprised of three (3) members of the Leadership Team, three (3) non- staff members of the congregation selected by the Leadership Team, and one (1) staff member selected by the Leadership Team. All seven of the selected members must be approved by the congregation at a called business meeting. If any individuals are not approved by the congregation, the Leadership Team must continue to submit names until all are approved. The church body shall then be given at least two (2) weeks notice of the team election. The Search Team shall meet and select its own chairperson. The Search Team will serve at the pleasure of the church. If after eighteen (18) months a Senior Pastor has not been presented and approved by the church, the individual members of the Search Team must be reaffirmed by the church body. The Search Team shall recommend to the congregation one man to have the church consider. While it is desirable that the presentation of a candidate to the church be unanimous, the committee would not be prohibited from presenting a candidate if there is only one dissenting vote on the team. If the candidate is not elected by the church, then they shall recommend another. The election of the Senior Pastor shall be by secret ballot and an affirmative vote of at least ninety (90%) percent of the votes which are cast at the meeting shall be necessary to extend the call. The church body shall be given at least two (2) weeks notice of the pastoral election.

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