Celebrate & Serve: Goals & Strategy

This past Sunday was the third part of the Celebrate & Serve series at CrossWay.  We talked about our goals and our strategies for achieving them.

Yesterday I wrote about our five core values: Community, Reverence, Outreach, Service, and Spiritual Growth.  For each one of these values, we have a goal for 2010–and only one, so that we can stay focused.  These goals are not huge, but they will require that God stretch us.  Since it’s useless to have goals without a plan to accomplish them, we’ve developed a strategy for reaching each goal.  Here they are:

Community: Our goal is to have 75% of our regular Sunday attenders become participants in a community group.  We will do this by encouraging people throughout the year to plug into a group, encouraging group members to constantly invite others, starting new groups, and training new leaders.  75% is about three times the national average.

Reverence: Our goal is to average 75 people in attendance on Sunday mornings.  Right now we average about 50.  Again, this is not a huge goal, but it’s a very significant increase.  Does this mean we’re all about numbers?  Of course not.  But remember, our vision is to be a place where anyone can understand and respond to the Bible, and the more people we have with us on Sunday mornings, the more people are presented with an opportunity to understand and respond to the Bible.  We will work toward this goal by starting a second service (it launches the week after Easter), encouraging and equipping people to invite others, reaching out to our community, and consistently improving the quality of our worship services.  If we reach 75, that would be a 50% increase.

Outreach: This goal is our easiest one for this year.  We aim to personally invite 2,000 people to attend the worship service at CrossWay Church (starting next year, our Outreach goals will be measured differently… more about this later on).  We will do this by creating and distributing 2,000 invite cards for five key series throughout the year, and giving them to our members and attenders to use as a tool to personally invite others.  We will also do outreach events such as Summer Bible Camp, an Easter Egg Hunt, Christmas KidsFest, and others.  (Got ideas?  Please leave a comment or email me!)

Service: Our goal is to have 50% of our regular attenders use their God-given gifts to serve others.  We will do this through classes, such as our upcoming membership class, as well as providing ample opportunities for everyone to discover and use their gifts.  Everyone will be encouraged to serve in some capacity on Sunday mornings, in community groups, and at outreach events.  We will also work with people to discover if there is a new, unique ministry that God is calling them to.  50% may not seem that high for something that seems so simple, but it’s more than double the national average.

Spiritual Growth: Our goal is to have 50% of our people reading their Bible and praying at least five days a week.  We will do this by teaching about spiritual habits and giving people the tools they need to put them into practice.  For example, we offer a daily reading guide in our worship bulletin each week, and we make free Bibles available.  If half the people devote this much time to soaking in God’s Word and praying, our church and community will never be the same.

Each month I’m going to compile a progress report to assess where we are with these goals, and we will dedicate several sermons throughout the year to evaluating where we are and recasting the vision.

This Sunday we’re wrapping up the Celebrate & Serve series, but we’ll just be getting started with living it out!

Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 5:03 am  Comments (2)  

Celebrate & Serve: Core Values

Since I haven’t blogged about the Celebrate & Serve series, I’m playing catchup here.

The second week of the series at CrossWay we talked about our church’s core values.  Since we’re God’s people, what is most important to God is what should be most important to us.  So we looked to the Bible and found some good summary statements in Matthew 22:37-40 & Matthew 28:18-20.  Based on those passages (as well as a ton of others), we’ve come up with five core values that are the basis of everything we do as a church:

Community: We love people by building friendships with them.  This is done primarily in our community groups, which are groups of about 4-12 people that meet in homes during the week for prayer, Bible study, and discussion.  The aim of these groups is to deepen relationships through sharing life together.

Reverence: We love God by worshiping Him with His family.  We take our weekend worship services pretty seriously.  We encourage everyone to make it a very high priority to be there on Sundays so we can worship God together.

Outreach: We love people by inviting them to encounter Jesus personally.  We have various outreach events in which we focus on this, but we also encourage people to make it a part of their personal, daily lifestyle.

Service: We love people by helping them.  We use our God-given gifts to serve them.  This happens in various ways on Sundays mornings, in community groups, at outreach events, and in countless ways throughout the week as we look for opportunities to help others.

Spiritual Growth: We love God  by developing intimacy with Him through healthy spiritual habits.  These daily habits include Bible reading and study, prayer, meditation (not that kind of meditation–this simply means quiet reflection on God’s Word), and other spiritual practices.  These “grace practices,” as I’ve heard them called, help to form the character of Christ in us and prepare us for community, reverence, outreach, and service.

Published in: on February 23, 2010 at 5:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Celebrate & Serve: Mission and Vision

Yesterday at CrossWay Church we continued with our series called Celebrate & Serve.  This was supposed to be our vision series that would launch the first four weeks of the year, but with the snow and vertigo, it’ll take us to the end of February.  Oh well.

The first week of the series we read Nehemiah 8:1-12 and talked about our mission and vision.

Our mission at CrossWay is to make lifelong followers of Jesus Christ throughout our community and around the world.

Our vision (which is a picture of what it would look like as we accomplish the mission) is to be a place where anyone can understand and respond to the Bible.

That passage in Nehemiah talks about an occasion when thousands of people heard and understood Scripture and responded by celebrating and serving.  So we’ve adopted Celebrate & Serve as our theme for the year.  We’re going to do those two things as much as we can: celebrate by having fun together, and serve by using our God-given gifts to help others.

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 11:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Philemon

We concluded the Postcards series yesterday at CrossWay with a message on Philemon.  This is a fascinating letter that the apostle Paul wrote to a slave owner named Philemon on behalf of the runaway slave Onesimus. 

It’s a masterpiece of persuasive writing, but even more than that, it gives us a clear picture of what Christ has done for us.  In Philemon 17-19, Paul writes: “So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.  If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.  I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back…”

We’ve all done things wrong, and we have a debt to God–called sin–that we can never repay (Romans 3:23).  But Jesus Christ died to pay for our sins, so that we can have eternal life through faith in Him (Romans 6:23).

Thank You, Jesus!

It’s been real challenging but also a lot of fun doing an expository preaching series like this one.  I’m looking forward to the next one!

(By the way, the podcast might actually be up and running again this week.  I’ll be glad to have it in full swing again.)

Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 5:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Postcards

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged!  I’m going to try to get back into it, though I’m amazed that anyone with kids can ever keep up with a blog.  But I’ll give it a shot.

The past couple Sundays at CrossWay we’ve been in a series called “Postcards,” where we’re studying the little one-chapter books in the New Testament: 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Philemon.  All four books are short letters with huge significance.

Last week we walked through 2 & 3 John.  In these letters, the apostle John highlights hospitality as an important display of commitment to Christ.  He teaches the importance of partnering with Christian workers by supporting them with hospitality; on the flip side, he explains how anyone who extends  hospitality to false teachers “shares in his wicked work” (2 John 11).

Yesterday we studied Jude.  This is possibly the most severe book in the New Testament, but with good reason.  Jude begins by saying he wanted to write about the joy of salvation, but instead of celebrating with the recipients of his letter, he felt instead the need to issue a dire warning against false teachers who had snuck into the church.  He totally reams them out, and describes them in great detail so that Christians who want to walk in truth can steer clear.  He ends the letter on an up note, giving praise and glory to God our Savior.

Next week: Philemon….

During the month of June we had guest preachers at CrossWay.  They all did an excellent job, and we’re grateful for their ministry!  It’s nice to be preaching again.  As demanding as it is to do every week, I sure did miss it!

Published in: on July 13, 2009 at 10:21 am  Comments (1)  

The Comeback Church

Yesterday at CrossWay we talked about the comeback church.  A comeback church is an underdog congregation that is headed toward decline but turns things around to begin reaching people for Christ.  A comeback church sees lives transformed by the power of the gospel. 

There are certain spiritual dynamics at work in a comeback church.  They include:

(1) A comeback church has a renewed commitment to the mission that Jesus Christ gave His church.  You can read about Christ’s commission to His church in Matthew 28:18-20.  At CrossWay we constantly remind everyone that our mission is to make lifelong followers of Jesus Christ throughout our community and around the world.  We will only do things that serve this purpose.

(2) A comeback church has a renewed commitment to servanthood.  We recognize that we’re not here just for ourselves.  Rather than turning inward and becoming collectively self-centered, we turn outward.  We recognize that nothing we have is really ours: our bodies, our time, our possessions, our abilities–they all belong to God.  He lends us these things to enjoy and meet our needs, but also to share with others.  You can read about the attitude of a Christian servant in Philippians 2:5-11.

(3) A comeback church has a renewed commitment to strategic prayer.  We pray seriously, continually, and strategically.  We pray for things that matter.  You can read an example of this in Acts 4:23-31.

Of course, the ultimate comeback story is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  After all, He was dead and buried–you can’t get more hopeless than that!  But He  conquered sin and death and made the ultimate comeback.  Since we’re His church, we too can make a comeback.  We can be a comeback church!

If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, I’d encourage you to check out Comeback Churches by Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson.

Published in: on June 1, 2009 at 1:21 pm  Comments (2)  

$kittles

Yesterday at CrossWay we talked about Skittles.  Pastor Ed Young from Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, tells a story about a time he was at a high school football game with his daughter.  She wanted a pack of Skittles, so he bought her some.  As he watched her eat them, he decided they looked pretty good.  So he asked for a couple Skittles, but she refused.

Pastor Young pointed out three things that his daughter didn’t seem to realize about her Skittles:
(1) He was the one who had given her the Skittles.
(2) He was bigger, stronger, and faster than her, so he could take away all of her Skittles.
(3) He had enough money to go back to the concession stand and buy her more Skittles than she would ever be able to eat.

We’re in a very similar situation with God and the stuff He gives us.  Everything we have is from God, but sometimes when He asks for us to give back a few Skittles, we refuse.  We clutch tightly to our Skittles.

As we talked about Skittle management, we looked at a few basic Bible truths:

God wants us to enjoy the tangible blessings He gives us, but He also wants us to be His channel for blessing others.

Naturally, we just had to close the service by giving everyone a pack of Skittles.  🙂

Published in: on May 18, 2009 at 10:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Mother’s Day

Yesterday at CrossWay we celebrated Mother’s Day with a special message from Steve Doherty.  He shared a little about the history of this holiday.  Then he took some statements made by Training Station preschoolers about their moms and skillfully brought out the spiritual truths they contain.  Very interesting sermon!  The podcast will be up soon.

Published in: on May 11, 2009 at 10:59 am  Comments (2)  

Why It’s Good to Be a Sorry Loser

At CrossWay yesterday we wrapped up the series “i am second” with a message called “Why It’s Good to Be a Sorry Loser.”

We started with a video testimony from Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, then talked about everyone’s favorite subject: repentance.  Repentance doesn’t seem like a very fun word, but it’s actually the means that God has given us to draw close to Him.  We talk a lot in various circles about change, and repentance is the key to real, true, lasting change.  Repentance can be broken down into simple steps:

(1) Admit my sinfulness.

(2) Humble myself.  This means:
       A. Submit myself to God.
       B. Submit myself to others.

(3) Resist temptation.

(4) Draw near to God.

To delve deeper you can read James 4:4-10 and listen to the podcast when it’s up.

Published in: on May 4, 2009 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Running With a Crowd of One

Yesterday at CrossWay was the third week in the “i am second” series with a message called “Running With a Crowd of One.”  We talked about how to have a vibrant personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  If I hadn’t gotten up at 5:00 to be here for preschool registration, I would’ve been happy to tell you all about it.  But I’m beat, so you’re on your own!  Check out the podcast in iTunes or Feedburner by using a link on the right.

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 2:28 pm  Leave a Comment