Big News

Over the last few months we’ve met with State and National leaders about planting a church. As of last week, we’ve been approved to plant a church in Portsmouth, VA. As you know CrossPointe will be going self-supporting in a few short weeks. We’ve enjoyed the process and training that CrossPointe has allowed us since launching in 2008. It’s been eye-opening and encouraging to see what it takes to start a church. We have already started scheduling some fundraising services for this new project in 2014. Starting January 2015, we will be on the road every weekend raising funds for this new project.

For more on why we are planting in Portsmouth click here.

Here’s what we need to do over the next 18 months in preparation:

Our salary has been raised for the past few years, but we’ll need to raise an additional $2500/month for rental facilities and church equipment expenses. The only way to accomplish this is to schedule about 100 mission services in churches around the country [hint: I'll be calling you pastors :)].

We’ll need to raise about $35,000 in reserves for church startup costs (trailer, sound equipment, portable chairs, mailers, brochures, etc). We’ll have a detailed list of items the church will need coming soon.

We are in communication with two families about moving to Portsmouth with us to get started. Pray for God’s direction.

why Portsmouth?

 

PortsmouthVAPortsmouth isn’t the fastest growing city in America, Virginia, or even the region. It isn’t a suburban utopia filled with middle class families looking for a new church to attend. It’s actually on the decline population wise. The crime rate is very high in Portsmouth (the murder rate is 4x higher than our previous city of residence). It will also be a very different scenario for us demographically. Casie and I are caucasian (I know, shocking), which will make us the minority in Portsmouth. The truth is caucasians will be the minority nationwide by 2050. Therefore, if we don’t start planting diverse churches now, we are just wasting time. The good news is Casie and I aren’t new to the city. I grew up in Virginia’s largest city, Casie grew up in Virginia’s 3rd largest city. We’ve actually missed city life, and are looking forward to being in one of the most densely populated cities in the region. It is also one of the youngest cities in our region (average age: 35.7). There are 100k people inside Portsmouth, but Portsmouth is also small geographically (less than 50 sq. miles). Over 600k people live within 10 miles of our home in Portsmouth. Each red dot on the map below indicates a church in our association.

populations

When I was 17, I remember coming through the downtown tunnel between Portsmouth and Norfolk on a bus filled with teenagers. We were headed home from youth camp. I remember a group of us praying, “God, help us reach these cities!” Well, we were teenagers. We didn’t know how or what to do in order to reach a community. Eleven years later, Casie and I believe we know how God wants us to reach this community.

Long term, we believe Portsmouth is a great place to start a church. It is within a 20 minute drive of most of the areas 1.6 million people. It has tons of job opportunities: shipyards, transportation, government contracting, fabrication, etc. Many people commute into Portsmouth for work, but live outside the city limits. It is a crossroads community for the region. It also falls within the golden crescent of Virginia.

crescentOf the 8 million people in Virginia, 5.5 million live within this crescent. The red dots on this map indicate churches in our state association. We must plant churches inside this crescent. Casie and I have decided to devote our live to planting churches in this crescent. If we were to plant a church in Hampton Roads Metro (Southeast region), Richmond Metro (Central), and NE Virginia/DC Metro (Northern) areas, we could have planted three churches within a 20 minute drive of 70% of Virginia’s entire population. Yes, this may take decades. Yes, it may be difficult. However, we believe it’s possible and a worthwhile investment of our lives.

 

2013 by the numbers

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.

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Thanks for a great year

ImageWell, 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.

THANK YOU!

5 great books on church planting

church planting booksI 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