headshot of Jeff Noble

Jeff Noble

Lead Pastor

Jeff became Northstar's second pastor in 2009 after the retirement of founding pastor Bob Jackson. He and his family are from southeast Arkansas where he served as a campus minister at the University of Arkansas at Monticello for eight years before planting Journey Church there and serving as its founding pastor for six years.  Jeff loves coffee and is still trying to decide if he's a "runner." He's a former fantasy football champion, the author of Super Center Savior, an Apple fan boy and a teller of bad puns.
headshot of Matt Simpson

Matt Simpson

Discipleship  and Admin Minister

Matt was raised on a small farm outside of Gettysburg, PA where he was homeschooled K-12. Upon graduating high school, Matt went to work in the outdoor recreation industry, which ignited a passion for the outdoors that he still carries today. He moved to Blacksburg in 2013, where he met and married his wife, Emily, and began working full-time at Northstar in 2016. He holds a B.S. in Speech Communication with a minor in Biblical Studies from Liberty University, and a Master of Divinity degree from  Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. 
headshot of Matt Simpson

Sean Couch

Minister in Residence

Sean is a Christiansburg native who loves to help people move from frustration to flourishing in Christ. He loves being around people and usually has a new podcast or book recommendation he will gladly share with you. He and his wife Samantha have three children who are growing up way too fast. He holds a B.S. in Religion from Liberty University, an M.Div. from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, and is working on a D.Min. in Pastoral Leadership from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Sean has served at churches in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Virginia.
headshot of Julie Jewell

Julie Jewell

Children’s Minister

Julie grew up in Augusta, Georgia. She received a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University in 2004 and a Master’s degree as a Reading Specialist from Radford University in 2010. She previously worked as a classroom teacher and reading specialist in the area. 
headshot of Julie Jewell

Chris Spence

Children’s Ministry Assistant

Chris was raised about an hour away in Bland, Virginia. She and her husband Isaac met while Chris was in undergraduate school at Radford University. After living in North Carolina for a few years, they returned to Blacksburg to raise their family. Chris holds a BS Degree in Elementary Education from RU and a MS Degree in Resource Management from VT. Chris and Isaac have two daughters, Natalee and Harper. They enjoy spending time with their Boxer dogs, hiking, biking, gardening, beekeeping, and traveling. A highlight of Chris’ week is seeing all of the children come to Northstar to learn more about God! 
headshot of Lydia Ilardo

Lydia Ilardo

Children’s Ministry Assistant

Lydia was born and raised on a little hobby farm in Floyd County. She was homeschooled K-12; you CAN hold that against her. She spent her freshman year at Liberty University before moving back home and continuing her pursuit of a nursing degree at NRCC while working at Cookout where she met her husband Marcus. They got married in 2018 and have two children, Lorilynn (Lori) and Judah. Lydia and her family started coming to Northstar in 2021 and became members last summer.  Since then she has enjoyed serving as a teacher in the toddlers and 4-5 year olds and loves serving the Lord and her Northstar family in this role.
headshot of Jessica Yalung

Jessica Yalung

Financial Secretary

Jessica was born and raised in State College, Pennsylvania. Her family moved to Blacksburg for her senior year of high school. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2008 with a degree in Human Development. The summer after graduation Jessica married Justin and moved to join him in North Carolina and in 2010 she earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from NC State. After the birth of their first child they moved back to Blacksburg in 2012 to be closer to her family, Hokie football, and the small town they love. Jessica and Justin have two boys, Ezra and Micah, and a daughter, Abigail. They love spending time outside, Sunday drives, and visiting little old towns in the mountains.
headshot of Philip Beaver

Philip Beaver

Youth Minister

Philip was raised in rural Wythe County VA as one of five homeschooled boys. Throughout his teenage years, he worked for his family businesses in lawn care, electrical work, and managing a local horse camp. Philip was active in youth group and the worship team at his home church during high school. He also met his now-wife, Emma, in youth. After graduating, Philip helped lead the youth group at his home church while studying business and finance at Wytheville Community College and Radford University before he became a real estate agent full-time. Philip and his wife Emma got married and moved to Christiansburg in early 2020 and got plugged into Northstar quickly, where his passion for the worship team, youth ministry and BEing the local church grew.
headshot of Tanner Blankenship

Tanner Blankenship

Worship Leader

Tanner is a New River Valley Native, a musician, a businessperson, a motorcycle rider and a wannabe world traveler.  In 2011 he earned his master’s degree in Philosophical Apologetics at Biola University. Tanner is an adrenaline junkie and enjoys just about any outdoor adventure. He's attended Northstar since 2012 and is proud to serve with the music team as our volunteer worship leader.
headshot of Carri Drake

Carri Drake

Administrative Assistant  & Events Coordinator

Carri was raised in Allentown, PA. Her gymnastics took her to West Virginia University earning a BS in Exercise Physiology. Carri met her now husband Josh through BCM. After spending one year at home in PA coaching gymnastics, she moved back to Morgantown, WV, married Josh and pursued a degree to become a Physical Therapist Assistant.  After having their first son, Liam, Carri and Josh moved to CO, while Josh completed his PhD. After having their second son, Eli, they found themselves in Charlottesville, VA. Josh accepted a position at VT which brought their family to Blacksburg, VA in January of 2020. Carri enjoys exploring the mountains, hot yoga, reading, attempting to train their GSP puppy, Kenai, and digging into God's word with a friend and a good cup of tea.

headshot of Livi Marrin

Livi Marrin

Volunteer Coordinator & Youth Ministry Assistant

Livi started attending Northstar in 2019 during her freshman year at Virginia Tech, and instantly fell in love with the community of believers here. A redirection from the Lord led her to start interning at the church, where she started considering full-time ministry. Having recently graduated, she is excited to continue serving and pouring into the body that has built her up by joining staff! She is a big coffee drinker and you’ll most likely find her at Bollo's in her free time chatting with all the locals and their dogs. Livi also loves long walks on the Huckleberry, weightlifting, writing punny emails, and making popcorn with her Whirley Pop.
headshot of Livi Marrin

Emily Altland


Emily has been attending Northstar since her freshman year at Virginia Tech in 2017.  Northstar and the NRV have truly become home to her as she loves to go kayaking, play pickleball, and craft with her friends in the GAP ministry.  She just graduated with her Masters degree in Computer Science, and is excited to return for her THIRD time as an intern at Northstar this summer.

We are looking for interns! 

This team serves as Northstar's primary spiritual anchor by assisting the pastor and church staff in guiding and shepherding the church. Team members include Josh Drake, Chris Gaines,  Jeff Noble, Ben Price, Kevin Seaton, John Shockley, and Justin Yalung. This team has a formal membership process, which involves being nominated by a church member. The process is defined in our membership materials.