Here are three messages that center on three individuals and their role in Jesus’ crucifixion.
In 2013 our church averaged 116 in morning worship attendance (up from 115 last year). Our Sunday evening crowd was 80 (up from 73 in 2012). Wednesday Bible studies grew to 63 (55 in 2012). We had 227 first time guests (down from 311 in 2012), and our offerings grew by 6%. In 2013 we saw 14 trust Christ (23 in 2012). Well, there they are. The numbers don’t lie and God’s been good. We are working on our budget and constitution to get ready for self-supporting status later this year. Hope you are staying warm this winter!
P.S. Here are some graphs we’ve been putting together for our historical timeline of averages.
Well, 2013 is coming to a close. It’s been a good year for CrossPointe. It’s been a good year for Casie and me. This year our church paid off the second mortgage and took a huge step toward self-supporting status. The church gave $40,000 to missions in 2013. We are still working on year end totals for attendance, salvation decisions, etc. None of it would have been possible without your prayers and support.
I never dreamed I’d be a church planter 10 years ago, but it’s what I’ve done for the last 6 years. I’ve learned a lot from just making mistakes and adjusting expectations, but these books definitely helped along the way. If you are considering planting a church or knee deep in the battle, I recommend you consider reading these 5 books.
The American Church in Crisis by David T. Olson- Based on research from 200,000 churches, this informative read will help you understand why we need healthy churches to be planted. It will also highlight the areas most in need of churches. It is very data-driven, but will draw your interest if church planting/church structure interests you at all. Click here to buy it on Amazon.com.
Innovate Church by Jonathan Falwell- Falwell and most of the staff at Thomas Road Baptist Church lead you through the changing church culture and how it has adjusted the methods of church planting. With incredible insight from multiple angles, the writers help you understand the practical needs of a church plant relating to leadership, music, preaching, small groups, etc. This one book has the insight of numerous authors. Click here to buy it on Amazon.com.
Fusion by Nelson Searcy- Searcy planted Journey Church in New York City in 2002. Today the church has grown to a multi-campus 1,000+ church. He also has worked at Saddleback with Rick Warren. He has the experience and insight when it comes to planting in an urban environment. Fusion is a book designed to help you connect visitors into the church/church plant. At only 181 pages, it is short, but full of practical information. Click here to buy it on Amazon.com
Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them by Thom Rainer- If we want to reach them, we need to know what they’re thinking. Thom has polled thousands of unchurched americans to come up with the data in his book. It relates what is important to them about church, where they prefer to attend, what they look for in a service, why they don’t trust churches, etc. It is incredible information that can help you determine your specific approach to church planting. Click here to buy it on Amazon.com.
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever- Based on a sermon series Mark preached at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC, Dever outlines 9 character traits of a healthy ministry. It’s simplicity is what makes this book so great. He clearly lays out his case for a church prioritizing these nine marks:expositional preaching, Biblical theology, the gospel, Biblical understanding of conversion, Biblical understanding of evangelism,Biblical understanding of church membership, biblical church discipline, a concern for discipleship and growth, Biblical church leadership. Click here to buy it on Amazon.com
Disclaimer: this post is specifically targeting college students who believe their life calling is to serve the local church.
Jesus is why I do what I do. He saved me, then called me into this thing called ‘ministry.’ I’ve been out of college for more than 6 years now. In my training to be an effective minister I was taught how to study the Bible, preach the Bible, parse the greek language, etc. I also learned theology, history, and all about the apostle Paul. Early on in ministry I realized I would struggle in areas of ministry that no class directly addressed. From day one, I was the computer guy at our church because I was under 40 years of age. I was also the new sound guy, the website designer, video editor, camera man, the chief graphic designer for our brochures, tracts, bulletins, etc. Within one year I found myself leading worship on stage with a guitar I’d only been playing for 9 months. I had no experience with any of those things before ministry. I could tell you Paul’s life story, tell you about seraphim and cherubim, but I had little practical training for ministry. I knew how to preach and teach, but I wasn’t the head pastor, so I needed more skills to serve our church plant. Let me make clear that I do appreciate the knowledge and doctrine I learned in college. I understand that theology and right doctrine trump practicality all day. I’m not saying we should toss theology classes. However in most private and public universities more practical, hands on training is becoming the norm. I believe the same should be true in training for ministry. I did two summer internships in California that changed my life. However, even an internship has its limitations. I understand that colleges are limited in how much they can prepare an individual for life and ministry. That being said, here are a five things I’d recommend every student consider before graduating.
- If at all possible, play a musical instrument that can lead worship (not a Bass Clarinet).
- Learn how to run and properly mix sound. It’s an invaluable skill today.
- Get a copy of Photoshop, Illustrator, or some kind of design software. Learn how to use it for ministry (printing, web design, etc.)
- Leverage technology. Today email, social media, and the internet offer the church new avenues to reach people. You will have to take the lead in all these areas.
- Be flexible. Understand that out of the gate, you may not be doing what you thought. You may have to learn some skills you thought weren’t part of ministry. I’m only 6 years out and I’ve learned so much about ministry, but a lot of ministry is behind the scenes. Be willing to take care of whatever needs to be done.
Let me finish by encouraging you to stick with it. Ministry is awesome and rewarding, but it can have it’s moments too. I’ve had a pretty easy lot in ministry over all. The same may or may not be true for you. This post is meant to encourage you to add to your arsenal of tools and abilities with which to serve Jesus.
Last week I had the opportunity to speak at an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) event. The event is called ‘Fields of Faith.’ Across the country FCA groups fill empty football fields and bleachers with Christian athletes and students from local high schools to pray for their community. I was invited to speak because the president of the FCA club at Sycamore High was a teenage girl I met at youth camp last summer. It was an incredible evening with hundreds of people present. I challenged the crowd to do more than know about god, but to make Him their God through a personal relationship. I used the life of Jacob as an illustration, emphasizing Genesis 28:20-21: 20And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God.
After the message we all made our way onto the field to pray. It was a special night I’ll never forget. Here are some pictures of the event.
CrossPointe celebrated it’s 5 year anniversary last weekend. We kicked things off with ‘community day‘ on Saturday. We hosted a free cookout complete with free food, cotton candy, snow cones, and inflatables. Just over 200 people joined us Saturday, and 70 of them were guests our church people invited. We met a lot of great church prospects.
Sunday we celebrated with a meal following our morning worship service. We had 180 in attendance Sunday morning! It was one of the best crowds we’ve had in years. Before the day was over 3 individuals trusted Christ. It was a good weekend all around.
Here are some pictures from last weekend.