District Superintendent Transition


Dr. Mark Lindstrom Appointed as North Arkansas District Superintendent


A letter from the North Arkansas District Advisory Council:

Dear District Family,


The District Advisory Council is pleased to announce that Dr. Carla Sunberg has appointed Dr. Mark Lindstrom as the new district superintendent of the North Arkansas District. To read Dr. Sunberg’s official announcement, please click here.

Dr. Lindstrom was raised in a small town in western Kentucky. He responded to the call to preach at eighteen years of age and attended Trevecca Nazarene University, where he met his wife Kelly Purnell. After graduating in 1996 with a degree in Pastoral Ministries, he attended Nazarene Theological Seminary completing the Master of Divinity degree in 1999. While pastoring growing churches in TN and AR, he finished the Doctor of Ministry degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2006.

Mark and Kelly are no strangers to the North Arkansas district having served as lead pastor at Bentonville Community Church of the Nazarene from 2003 to 2010. For the last 8.5 years, Mark has served as the lead pastor of Grace Church of the Nazarene in Columbia, TN. Under his leadership, this congregation has seen numerical and spiritual growth, completed multiple building projects, planted a new church, and served as a resource for other churches on the MidSouth District.

Mark and Kelly have four children: Ivan, Peter, Norah, and William. Please keep this family lifted up in your prayers. Dr. Lindstrom will assume responsibilities on January 1st, and we could not be more excited to have them back serving on the North Arkansas District!

The District Advisory Council wishes to thank every pastor and local church leader that supported this search process. Your prayers and participation in the survey and focus groups were invaluable to our work. We appreciate Dr. Sunberg and USA/Canada Regional Director, Dr. Bob Broadbooks, for their excellent guidance and careful oversight.

Finally, on behalf of the entire district, we offer our sincere gratitude to Dr. Randy and Debbie Berkner for their excellent leadership and unswerving commitment to Christ and His Kingdom! The future is bright and there truly are “great days ahead” in North Arkansas.

For more information on the process of the appointment of Dr. Lindstrom, please see the bottom of this page.




North Arkansas District Advisory Council


District Superintendent Transition Process Information


A letter from the North Arkansas District Advisory Council: 

To the North Arkansas District Family,

As most of you know, Dr. Randy and Debbie Berkner have transitioned into a new season of ministry in retirement. We have truly appreciated the visionary leadership and pastoral guidance they have given to us during their tenure. We pray for all God's best as they find new avenues of service.

Our leaders have taken steps that we believe has helped us find the district superintendent God has for our district. Throughout this process, we wanted to be sure to keep our family "in the loop" as everything is unfolding. Because we value your input, concerns, and questions we have put all the information that you would ever need about this transition on this website page. Below you will find an abundance of information about the transition process. The input of local pastors and church members was vital as Dr. Sunberg prayerfully considered who to appoint as our new DS. At the bottom of this page, you can find links to the letters from our District Advisory Council that provided the information for this page, along with any other links or documents that are mentioned.


Call to Prayer


After our district assembly, the District Advisory Council (DAC) met with Dr. Carla Sunberg (our jurisdictional general superintendent) to establish the process of selecting our new leader. Dr. Sunberg, Dr. Robert Broadbooks (Director of the USA/Canada Region).

The DAC then communicated what this process would look like and how you could participate. They called our district to prayer and fasting and challenged all pastors to lead their congregations in this effort:

1) Pray for the leadership directly involved in this search process and everyone involved in identifying the characteristics and attributes our district most needs.

2) Pray for the District Superintendent God is preparing for this position and that he or she will continually seek God’s direction and paths for the future of the North Arkansas Church of the Nazarene.

3) Pray for the Berkners as they move into God’s new work for them. Ask the Lord to wrap His mighty arms around them so that they might feel His love and care.

Thank you for all your efforts to seek God’s way for the North Arkansas District during this critical time.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." --Jeremiah 29:13


The Process


Phase 1: Assessment (August)


We created two assessment tools that we then used to create a “district profile.” The first was an online survey that we invited each pastor and church member on the district to participate in.

The second assessment tool was a church board focus group. We asked pastors to hold a focus group during their August board meeting to gather opinions and thoughts about the health of our district. 

The purpose of the survey and focus groups was two-fold:

1) We wanted to assess our district’s strengths and weaknesses. We hoped to build on our strengths and correctly identify weaknesses to which we can give purposeful and strategic energy.

2) We wanted a clear picture of the kind of leader and skill-set we need. The information we gleaned from your participation helped us create a leadership profile. The profile targets personal qualities and professional competencies that best address the needs of our district. You can find the leadership profile here.


Phase 2: Nominations (September)


Once the leadership profile was created, anyone was able to make nominations. We opted for an "open nomination" process to cast as wide a net as possible so that we could then prayerfully consider all qualified persons. We closed nominations on September 20. The DAC then met to review nominations and select a small pool of candidates. 


Phase 3: Interviews (October)


In consultation with Dr. Sunberg and Dr. Broadbooks, a group of finalists was interviewed by the DAC. After the completion of interviews, the DAC ranked the finalists and Dr. Sunberg prayerfully appointed Dr. Mark Lindstrom from this list.

If you have any questions, you can contact Mark Snodgrass, our DAC secretary, at msnodgrass@bnaz.org. We believe God has the right person for our district in Dr. Lindstrom. Thank you so much for keeping this entire journey at the forefront of your prayers.



North Arkansas DAC





Dr. Sunberg Announcement of Dr. Lindstrom as DS

DAC Call to Prayer Letter

DAC Process and Survey Announcement Letter

Dr. Sunberg Letter

Focus Group Worksheet

Input Survey

Leadership profile