Helping People and Places Encounter Jesus

Panel 1

From Pastor JR

“You are good and do good.”  – Psalm 119:68

Over the last 12 months we have seen the goodness of God at Church at the Cross. It has not been an easy year. We have lost loved ones, lost jobs, faced challenges, received hard news from doctors, been kept waiting for prodigals to return, and felt in our bodies the Apostle Paul’s words, “…the outer self is wasting away.” But, it has also been a year of God’s favor. People have come to know Jesus and been baptized into his Church. We have celebrated marriages, births, adoptions, and graduations. Many people have joined our church family and we have tasted the goodness of God in the Gospel and in the bread and cup Sunday after Sunday. “So, we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, the inward self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

As a church we have grown in number, grown in joy, and grown in the influence God is entrusting to us. We have moved closer to debt retirement while also making some needed updates to our Kid’s Building. We have added Covenant Members, started new Life Groups, and grown our elder team. We have seen deeper spiritual formation happen among our children and students. We have worked to start and strengthen churches in England, Fairfax, VA, and Quebec City. We started the Life Task Force working to protect and promote the value of life with advocacy for the pre-born, orphan and foster child, and empowering care for the elderly. We have expressed the image of God through creating works of art and new songs for God’s people. All of this is by the grace of God and to the glory of God. We are grateful.

We praise God for all He is doing, and we also acknowledge that we have room for growth. This next year we will continue to give ourselves to Reaching, Teaching, Training, and Sending and will make the changes necessary to become more effective in making disciples of our neighbors and the nations. We are not married to a model, but we are settled on that mission. By God’s grace we will help many people and places encounter Jesus.

The Church is not primarily a place, but a people. God has used so many of you to bring about these works of grace. Thank you for your love, service, sacrifice and generosity for the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom.

Every Blessing,

Pastor JR Vassar

Panel 2

Ministry UPDATES

Kids at the Cross

What an exciting year for our Kids at the Cross ministry!  God has blessed us in many ways.

One of the more obvious changes this past year is the renovation of our Kids Building.  We have new paint and flooring throughout the building.  Each floor has its own accent color to help with wayfinding.  We moved the stairs and opened up the check-in area on the second floor.  The red desk is now The Grove filled with a variety of soothing greens and fun trees.  The train, one of the kids’ favorite features, is still there and now runs across the stairwell.  We are excited about the changes throughout the building and pray it’ll be a place for kids and families to encounter Jesus.

Our Sunday morning ministry continues to grow.  Last year I reported that we were averaging around 145 kids on a Sunday.  Now, we often have 180 kids and have had over 200 kids on multiple Sundays.  What an awesome opportunity to point these kids to Jesus!

Kids at the Cross Weekday Preschool began its new school year on September 5th with 163 preschoolers.  That’s 38 more kids than last year.  We are proud to partner with our weekday preschool program which prepares kids for school and teaches them about Jesus.

As our ministry continues to grow in all areas, we are always looking for volunteers to rock babies, direct preschoolers, teach kids and more.  If you’d like to be a part of the important work of pointing kids to Jesus Christ, email Director of Family and Children’s Ministry, Lori Atkeisson by clicking the link below.

Email Lori

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Students at the Cross

The student ministry of Church at the Cross is coming off an exciting year of ministry!

Seeking to reach students with the gospel, we had front row seats in the theater of God! Declaring their faith in Christ, many students came forward in obedience to be baptized. Through baptism, we as a church had the opportunity to affirm their union with Christ and mark them off as one who belongs to Jesus and his church. All together we had over 120 people involved in Disciple Now 2017, and retreated to the mountains of Estes Park, Colorado this past June with over 75 students for Student Life Camp.

The ministry’s main avenues to teach God’s word to students have seen growth this past year as well. Every Sunday morning we have 11 Student Life Groups meeting on campus, averaging 75 students, with 35 adult leaders and teachers making weekly investments in the discipleship of our students. Arise and Emerge, our high school and middle school worship gatherings, consistently proved to be a profitable teaching outlet in the discipleship of students at Church at the Cross. Through the student ministry, we had the opportunity to train many of our high school students in evangelism and discipleship, and have seen incalculable fruit from it, both in their lives and in the lives of those they have come in contact with.

One of our prayers for the students of Church at the Cross, is that we would see many of them grow up and give their lives to serve God on the mission field. Working towards this goal, every month for the past year we have highlighted an unreached people group, spent time with our students in prayer over the people groups, and challenged our students to ask the question, “What if God is calling me to take the gospel to people with limited or zero access to it?” In May, a group of primarily middle school students were sent out to Arlington, Texas to put on Backyard Bible Clubs in apartment complexes across the city. In July, we also sent a group of high school students to host a VBS in partnership with All Peoples Community Church in Fairfax, Virginia. If you are interesting in getting connected to Students at the Cross, email Student Minister, James Sercey, by clicking the link below.

Email James

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Life Groups

At Church at the Cross, we regularly emphasize that the Church is not primarily a place, but a people, not an event we attend, but a community to whom we belong. We go to church, but we also are the Church, a web of relationships committed to Jesus and to one another. We need each other to live out this life of faith Jesus has called us into.

The prime context at Church at the Cross for experiencing life together centered on Jesus is Life Groups. These Life Groups (LGs) are intended to foster discipleship and discipling relationships among our people. Many who participate in LGs have become more intentional in cultivating those discipling relationships outside the LG gathering. In 2017 we saw our Life Group ministry grow in health and number. Many new LGs were started, both on and off campus. We also implemented the “Pattern of Care,” a pattern for LG interaction that has brought more clarity and accountability to our LG gatherings. The Pattern of Care (POC)  is focused on applying the teachings of Jesus to our lives and moving us to become more intentional in helping others encounter Jesus.  

We will continue to give attention, coaching, and resources to our LG Leaders through the next year and will focus on building a  healthy culture of discipleship. Find more about our Life Groups and how you can get connected by clicking the link below.

Learn More About Life Groups

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CARE & PRAYER

 

What a privilege it is to serve in a church alongside people who care for one another so well. This year we have walked with one another through some painful seasons of grief and suffering. Whether providing meals, manpower, and presence in times of need, or by organizing spontaneous prayer gatherings, our church family has provided care and support for one another. We have seen the Spirit of God work miracles of deliverance and also miracles of preservation through these trials to the Glory of God the Father. Thank you church for joyfully entering into one another’s sufferings with God’s grace in Christ Jesus. As this year will bring more rain, let us be dependent on the Spirit of God to provide us with strength to give more of ourselves to each other.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.     –  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Some developments of care:

  • We are adding to our deacon ministry teams this year to help the elders in serving and caring for the body.
  • We have a group of folks being trained and equipped to bring the gospel recovery ministry, STEPS, to our church body this year.
  • We have had the opportunity to encourage and help several people through our ministry of Prayer. If you are interested in joining our team of ministry partners who receive people for prayer and ministry at the end of our services, please contact Pete Brooks about getting involved by clicking the link below.
  • We have had the opportunity to see several people in our church family blessed physically and emotionally this year through the mercy fund offering collected during advent. Thank you for sharing what you have with one another in this way.

As we move into another year together, may our hearts be stirred by God’s love. He has extravagantly lavished his love upon us in Christ Jesus. With this motivation, let us continue to generously give of ourselves to one another to the glory of God.

If you want to learn more about our Care & Prayer ministry, or if you are interested in serving in this capacity, email Pastor of Care, Pete Brooks, by clicking the link below.

Email Pete

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OUTREACH

Church at the Cross has been in a season of establishing new partnerships both locally and abroad.  Over the past year, we have deepened our commitments to the Human Coalition, The Crowded House in England, and All Peoples Community Church in Fairfax, VA while forging a new relationship with Mosaique Church in Quebec City.

The Life Task Force has been a concrete and consistent way of strengthening our partnership with Human Coalition.  This initiative will help us keep communication ongoing and help us identify ways we can continually serve this partner.

Four teams of Covenant Members went out this past year to serve our mission partners outside of Texas.  A team of six flew to Sheffield, England in November to serve at The Manor where The Crowded House is planting a church.  We sent two teams in October and July to Fairfax, VA to help establish our partnership with All Peoples Community Church.  Finally, we had a team travel to Quebec City, Quebec earlier this year to serve alongside Christian LaChance and Mosaique Church, a dynamic church-planting partner.

We are taking significant steps to improve our capacity to maintain these critical mission partnerships in years to come.  Additionally, we envision establishing specific prayer practices within our body that might better support our partners.  Details are in the works.  Interested in learning more about future outreach opportunities? Email Geoffrey Bertram by clicking the link below.

Email Geoffrey

Panel 3

New Initiatives

LIFE TASK FORCE

The Life Task Force seeks to mobilize and equip the church to care for the vulnerable and marginalized in our culture.  Our focus is on three key areas:  Foster Care and Adoption, New Life Advocacy, and Senior Care.  Each of these teams seeks to advocate, educate, and train the church to respond to the needs around us.

James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress . . .”  The key in this passage is to care for those who are in distress.  We believe the best way to care for orphans is to place them in the home of a loving family.  Through adoption and foster care, our church seeks to help children who are in distress.

In Genesis 1:26-27, we learn that we are made in the image of God, and therefore, are of great value to God.  Through New Life Advocacy, we value every human life (born and pre-born).  In partnering with Human Coalition, CURA Women’s Clinic, and Mercy House, our goal is to show compassion and mercy to both mother and child while maintaining our deeply held belief of protecting the pre-born.

Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” In this passage, God makes it clear that he does not want half-hearted worship.  He wants us to do justice and love kindness.  A growing need in our culture is communities who care for the elderly, particularly those struggling in the area of neurological health.  We desire to show justice and kindness by learning how to best support families that are caring for those who suffer with neurological disorders.

Mosaique Church, Quebec City

The Québécois people of Canada are the least reached people group in North America.  According to the Gospel Coalition, 99.3% of this people group do not have a Christian witness.  This is one of the reasons that we are so excited about our partnership with Mosaique Church in Quebec City.  Mosaique is a 14-year-old church plant pastored by Christian Lachance that has recently multiplied and now has three churches in the city.  They even have a gathering for Spanish speakers as many people from countries like Columbia have recently settled in Quebec.

We were able to send our first team to serve with Mosaique this past May. The church has formed a relationship with a nursing home that is actually attached to the building they just purchased.  They asked our team to help them build a small community garden in the courtyard so they could better interact with the residents and share the gospel.  It was an excellent way to complete a project and help them further their mission.  Our team also served at a soup kitchen where the church was first founded 14 years ago.  The trip was a great opportunity to serve their ministry while experiencing dynamic church-planting in a post-Christian context.

 

 

 

 

 

Panel 4

Financials

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A WORD FROM YOUR ELDERS

This budget represents many hours of prayer, discussion and preparation. Dozens of people have been involved in the budget preparation process, including both staff and volunteers, all under the direction of our Finance Team. We take budget preparation very seriously because it guides our ministry focus over the coming year.

This brochure was designed to inform and inspire you regarding our many ministries, all of which are dependent on your generous giving. More importantly, we want you, our financial partners, to see how your gifts are changing lives in our community and around the world.

We have included a FAQ section in this brochure. If you have other questions regarding our budget, financial procedures or giving options, please contact our church office. Thanks again for your continued financial support of our ministries. May the Lord richly bless you.

Your Elders