Increase. When I look back over this past year, that is the word that comes to mind. God has given us an increase. We have seen an increase in reaching, with people coming to faith, attending our gatherings, joining our membership, and making their way into Life Groups. We have seen an increase in teaching through our ministries as more children, youth, men, and women are encountering Jesus. We have seen an increase in training through Essentials as people are equipped for life and mission. We have seen an increase in our sending capacities as we start and strengthen churches in Utah, the D.C. metro area, and Africa through our church planting partnerships, and as we train future pastors through our pastoral residency program (now entering its second year). We have sent out families to live and work with our partners, and we have mobilized teams to serve in short term opportunities. We have also seen an increase in generosity. As a result, our debt has been eliminated, and new initiatives have been funded. Most of all, it seems to me that we have seen an increase in God’s presence among us in our weekend gatherings and in our Prayer and Songs services. We know that God is fully present in all places and all times, but in certain places and at certain times, he gives his people a special nearness and sense of his presence. I feel we are in a season of that and we continue to ask God for more, for increase.
Increase is the language of the gospel. Abounding and fullness isS the way the New Testament normally characterized believers. New Testament believers are described as abounding in hope, in every good work, in love and knowledge, and in every situation. They are described as being full of the Spirit, full of good works, full of grace, faith, and power, and filled with all the fullness of God. Abounding, fullness, increase.
This is what we want to celebrate at our next Members’ Meeting and Annual Conference on September 29 from 5-7pm. We will celebrate in singing and prayer, introduce new members, give some important updates and share the key objectives we are focused on for this next season. We will also present our 2019-2020 budget to be voted on by our members. At the conclusion of our evening, we will have a dessert fellowship in the atrium.
These are my favorite moments together at CATC. Membership means something to us as a Church. We are a family, following Jesus together and commending him to the world. I want to encourage you to make it a priority to join us for this special night, September 29, from 5-7pm.
Hope to see you there!
Kids at the Cross
What an exciting year for Kids at the Cross! God continues to bless our ministry.
Last fall, many families from our church and community were on our property as we hosted the Compassion Experience, an immersive exhibit that allows you to experience the realities of poverty, at the same time as our Fall Festival. Kids and families enjoyed the games, bounce houses, hayride and more. They were also given the opportunity to learn about the work that Compassion does to end poverty in Jesus’ name.
In January, Kayla Derry joined our team as a full-time Ministry Associate. Kayla brings a contagious joy and love for Jesus and His children to all those around her. Kayla grew up at Church at the Cross and it’s a blessing to now have her serving here. God is good!
We had such a sweet summer. Our three main summer events were well-attended, were a lot of fun, and pointed children and families to Jesus. In June we offered Kids Choir Camp to 1st – 5th graders. This year, 55 kids, under the direction of Teri McHargue, rehearsed and performed the musical, The Born-Again Identity. The whole week, which included swimming, Mountasia, and more, was high-energy fun. It also gave children the opportunity to learn gospel truths as they encountered the story of Nicodemus and Jesus through music.
We tried something new with our VBS week this summer. We offered two VBSs during the same week: VBS for Preschoolers in the morning and VBS for Kids in the evening. Parents responded well to the morning VBS, and we went from 67 preschoolers the year before to 163 this summer! We had a total of 115 kids, 1st – 5th grades, join us for the evening VBS. Many of those were visitors with no prior connection to our church. We had 14 kids indicate they were ready to follow Jesus and 34 say they have made a decision to follow Jesus but have never been baptized. We continue to follow up with those children and families.
Summer ended with a trip to Riverbend Retreat Center for Kids Camp. This year, 61 kids and 15 sponsors spent four days and nights learning about Jesus’ extreme love for us while enjoying hiking, fishing, swimming, and more. Lindsey Spinning, the Minister to Children at Flourishing Grace, and her son were able to join us for Kids Camp. It was a blessing to have them with us.
Our Sunday morning ministry continues to grow. We often have over 250 children in the building on Sundays. On August 25, Promotion Sunday, we opened three new classes so we now have six nursery classes, eight preschool classes, and five elementary classes. Even with new classes opening, we regularly have to close classes to keep from going over the teacher-student ratio. We need more covenant members to join the KATC volunteer team so we can reach more children!
We are excited about the year ahead and appreciate the church-wide support given to our Kids’ Ministry. To learn more about Kids at the Cross, click the link below.
Students at the Cross
It has been an incredible year for the student ministry of Church at the Cross. In October we hosted our yearly Fall Retreat at Mt. Lebanon in Cedar Hill, Texas. This year we took about 85 middle and high school students. All together we had over 120 people involved in ONE Weekend 2019, some of whom were friends of our teenagers whose families do not have a church home or do not know Jesus at all. Summer 2019 provided opportunities for our teenagers to retreat to Student Life Camp. About 50 high school students traveled to Glorieta, New Mexico and about 40 middle school students traveled to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.
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 12 Student Life Groups meeting on campus, averaging around 80 students. This is 80 teenagers, week-in and week-out in the Gospel Project, working their way through the Bible to see God’s redemptive plan. Emerge, our mid-week worship gathering for teenagers, consistently proved to be a profitable reaching and teaching outlet in the discipleship of teenagers and their friends.
When I think about the kingdom impact that Students at the Cross will have in the coming years, my mind always goes to mission. In June, we trained and sent out one of the largest student mission teams to date. This team, made up of 65 middle and high school students, hosted a VBS for children in ten separate apartment complexes around Arlington. In July, we sent a team of 18 people to serve alongside All Peoples Community Church in Fairfax, Virginia. In addition to hosting a Sports Camp for local families to get connected to All Peoples, our team had the opportunity to rub shoulders with and share the gospel with teenagers from China who happened to be in the country to do college prep, English, and drama classes. This gave our students a first-hand understanding of people from other nations that have limited or zero access to the gospel. Every year, more and more students, and even graduated students, are answering God’s call on their life to go and share the gospel.
I’m convinced that God wants to make himself known to and through the teenagers of this church. To learn more about Students at the Cross, click the link below.
We are commissioned and encouraged by James, the brother of Jesus, to “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” – James 5:16. It is within Life Groups that we experience this powerful dynamic of the Christian community. Our Life Groups serve as critical spaces where we witness our core value that we are a people that are “renewed as community.”
In this past year, our Life Groups have grown in their capacity to be communities of prayer and care for the people of Church at the Cross. Our pastoral team regularly hears stories of how a person’s Life Group has been the essential means of support through a significant trial or loss. We aspire for that to always be the case here at CATC.
We launched another two groups in January. Specifically, those groups were started in geographical areas that were not well represented by our list of groups at the time of launch. We also had two groups that stopped gathering as a Life Group. Rest assured that at times, Life Groups naturally stop meeting and that is a healthy part of any group ministry. Our group count now stands at 30 total adult Life Groups.
As we move into 2020, we have brought on an Interim Minister to Life Groups, Matt Lear. He will be introducing a significant focus for Life Groups called Discipleship Groups, where discipling relationships are cultivated. Our leaders are receiving training this fall to see this become a vital role in Life Groups for years to come. To learn more about Life Groups, click the link below.
CATC Women exists to encourage and equip women of all seasons to know and love God, and to love the people he made. We create spaces in which women are connected to one another and connected to care.
In January of 2019, we launched CATC Women’s Bible Study. We had 200 women gather to know God through the study of his Word. Women engaged in personal Bible study met in multi-generational small groups, and many new relationships were formed around the study of Scripture. CATC Women’s Bible Study will meet each fall and spring.
In April, we hosted our first Gather event. Gather is a catered spring brunch and an opportunity for women to receive practical teaching and encouragement from Scripture and from one another. Gather will take place again in April of 2020.
CATC Women also launched a Women’s Care Resource page for women experiencing distress about gender-sensitive issues such as a past abortion, abuse, or an unplanned pregnancy. This resource page was created to provide help while maintaining anonymity. Visit our website at churchatthecross.com/women to connect to this resource page. To learn more about CATC Women, click the link below.
It is a privilege to serve in a church alongside people who care for one another so well. This year we walked with one another through another year enduring painful seasons of grief and suffering. In providing meals, manpower, and presence in times of need, and by organizing spontaneous prayer gatherings, our Life Group communities have provided care and support for one another well. 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 family, 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 be ready to give of ourselves to one another.
As this year comes to an end, STEPS, our gospel-centered recovery ministry, will have seen 48 people move through as participants. Many of these participants are continuing on in the ministry by serving as group leaders and mentors to new participants. As we move through the second year of this ministry, I am thankful for the way God is growing STEPS in breadth and depth. People are encountering Jesus, growing in the grace to know him more clearly and growing in the freedom to love him more faithfully in their everyday lives. If you have gone through STEPS here or at another church and would like to be involved in this ministry, contact Sarah Reed.
This fall, we have a group of facilitators training to lead a new ministry called GriefShare. GriefShare is a support group designed to compassionately help grieving people through the practical realities of grief while pointing to Christ as the source of healing. We are hopeful to be serving our church family and larger community with our first group offering in the spring.
Thank you for sharing this year through the Mercy Fund Offering (collected during Advent). Because of your generosity, we saw over $45,295 used significantly to bless people this year. This represents people in emotional or physical crisis in need of solid Biblical Counseling, in need of benevolence help, and people who are in the process of adoption.
Some Senior Adult Advocacy highlights:
- Senior Adult game-night continues to see people of all generations gathering to share their lives together. Come join us the first Tuesday night of every month in the Café of the Kids Building. Be there at 5:30pm and bring a covered dish.
- Our church family, together with other area churches, has provided a simple “church service” for residents of Woodridge Nursing and Rehab on the second and fifth Sundays every month at 10:45am. We provide a pianist, a message, and a lot of smiles and handshakes for the residents at Woodridge.
- Our Senior Adult Advocacy Team sponsored an educational luncheon in March that addressed the many questions for families preparing for long-term adulthood. It was well attended and we look to have another similar event this Spring. If you have suggestions for someone to be part of the discussion panel, please get the contact information to Aileen Foley.
- Our church has had the opportunity to host The Annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s on our campus for the past three years. This year on Saturday, October 12, will be our fourth consecutive year to host. There is still time to sign up to walk or form a walking team, simply donate, volunteer (need parking lot supervisors), or become a sponsor.
- Contact Aileen Foley if you would like to know more about or how to be involved with any of these events.
We are grateful to God for the consistent and faithful ministry of our elders and deacons to our church and local community. Whether in visiting and praying with the sick, providing marital mentoring, financial coaching, care to our widows, the distribution of benevolence, help for families facing the loss of a loved one, etc., our leaders are striving to shepherd our flock with love. Please pray for these leaders as they continue to seek the Lords counsel in caring well.
If you want to learn more about our Care ministry, or if you are interested in serving in this capacity, click on the link below.
Church at the Cross intends to be a faithful and a reliable partner to those with whom we enter into a partnership. Therefore, we have spent the past year envisioning and implementing practices that have helped us truly serve our mission partners well. In the past year, we were able to send both funds and teams of individuals from CATC to assist the ministry efforts of each of our partners. Here is a list of our activities in connection with our partnerships.
In March, we once again hosted the 4000 Steps fundraising and awareness event for Human Coalition. This event has now become a staple activity for the organization in their efforts of assisting mothers and fathers as they choose life. Our pastoral team has also taken a more ongoing role in serving the staff members of the Women’s Care Clinic of Grapevine.
We sent a team of 9 in June to gain a greater vision for the much needed ministry of Flourishing Grace Church in Bountiful, Utah. The team participated in a prayer walking event as well as took part in the Sunday worship gathering.
Another team of 7 members from CATC traveled to Uganda in June to see firsthand the gospel ministry of Empower One. This organization is training South Sudanese pastors (who are currently living as refugees in Uganda) to plant churches amongst their own people. Our team hosted a medical clinic in connection with church planting efforts in the refugee camps.
Mercy of Christ Fellowship
Jeremy McClain, pastor of Mercy of Christ Fellowship, shared with us that a seminar centered on the topic of addiction recovery and its effects on family members would be a great outreach to the community for his church. So, we sent three CATC covenant members who are licensed counselors to conduct a 2-day seminar in late July.
All Peoples Community Church
Students at the Cross took a team of 19 to host a sports outreach camp for our partner church, All Peoples Community Church. The students also had the chance to conduct conversational English lessons with high school students from China. This presented a unique opportunity to share the gospel with students from a very gospel-needy part of the world.
For Our City
Over 75 people from CATC came out in May to serve our city in partnership with 121 Community Church and First Baptist Grapevine. The event was a great blessing to the librarians of GCISD as 238 volunteers in total from all three churches helped to clean out 9 libraries in preparation for renovations. Additionally, volunteers from all three churches returned in August to help restock the libraries as the school year began.
One of our core values here at Church at the Cross is Sent on Mission. When Jesus saves us, he sends us. The question is not if I’m called, but to whom and where I’m called. As a church we want to be a going and sending people. We have expressed this value several ways. One way is through supporting church planting endeavors nationally and internationally. We are also supporting members who are serving vocationally in missional contexts among some of the least reached peoples. As we begin a new year in our church life, we want to introduce some new initiatives in this area.
Flourishing Grace Church, Bountiful, UT
During our 2018 Easter Renewal Offering, we introduced Flourishing Grace Church. Flourishing Grace is a re-plant, a revitalization of an former church in the Salt Lake City area that was struggling to be sustained and to stay on mission. Josh Knight now serves as the Lead Pastor of Flourishing Grace, and under his leadership the Church is growing and reaching new people with Gospel. We are excited to partner with Flourishing Grace as they help the people in Bountiful encounter Jesus.
Empower One, Africa
Empower One is a remarkable organization that exists to be part of a movement that brings the Gospel to the nearly 20 million South Sudanese and Sudanese who have never heard the name of Jesus. Through theological training and mentoring, Empower One trains indigenous leaders to be disciple makers, church planters, bible school teachers, missionaries and elementary school teachers. We have the privilege of helping to train these leaders and work beside them as they seek to evangelize and make disciples in their communities. In 2018 we were able to provide most of the funding for a Pastor’s Conference attended by 1,400 African pastors mainly from South Sudan and Uganda. We look forward to further engagement with Empower One.
As we seek to grow in becoming a sending church, it is our desire to raise up other pastors that are sent by CATC into the areas God is calling them. We are excited to announce the launch of our Pastoral Residency Program. This year we have four men who have joined our program and are being prepared for future ministry. We are focused on shaping their convictions and character, developing their competencies and evaluating their particular callings as they discern the next steps for life and ministry. We look forward to introducing you to these residents and having them among us.
Essentials: Training for Life and Mission
In the spring we plan to introduce Essentials: Training for Life and Mission. Essentials is a sequential discipleship and leadership development track that is designed to equip people for living in the way of Jesus and actively participating in his mission. If you want to grow as a disciple and as a disciple maker, Essentials will serve as your training ground.
All these efforts are a coordinated attempt to move closer to what we believe God desires for us to be as a church. We want to continue to support church planting even as we move to sending church planters and planting churches. We want to take greater strides to equip all our people for life and mission so that together we might live as the people of God sent to people and places with the good news of Jesus.
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 website 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 below. 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.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHO COUNTS THE MONEY GIVEN ON SUNDAYS AND DURING THE WEEK?
We have several teams of church members who volunteer to count our offerings and record the gifts. Everyone involved with counting and recording individual gifts are committed to protecting the confidentiality of our donors.
CAN A PERSON GIVE A NON-CASH GIFT?
Yes, many people do this as part of their regular giving. You can give stocks, bonds, and other personal possessions that are consistent with our giving policies. Copies of our policy are available in the church office.
CAN I GIVE ONLINE?
Yes, at churchatthecross.com/give, there is a secure online giving option, including the convenience of automatic recurring giving. Contact our financial office for more information or for help in setting up an online giving account.
CAN I DESIGNATE MY FINANCIAL GIFT TO A CERTAIN MINISTRY OR PROJECT?
We have several ongoing designated funds, including our Mission Fund, Benevolence Fund, Stepping Stones Adoption Ministry Fund, and Building Fund. Beyond these, we ask that you give to the general budget so that monies can be evenly distributed among our many deserving ministries.
ARE THERE CHECKS & BALANCES IN PLACE TO ENSURE CHURCH FINANCES ARE PROPERLY HANDLED?
Absolutely! Staff and volunteers work together to ensure financial integrity at the highest level. Church members volunteer to count and record the offerings. Our volunteer Finance Team oversees the budget process and meets monthly to review income and expenses. The Finance Team consist of five church members who serve rotating terms. Each year we contract with an accounting firm to conduct a financial review. They have consistently reported that our financial operations exceed the highest standards.