Kids at the Cross
What an exciting year for our Kids at the Cross ministry! God has blessed us in many ways.
We recently finished our three-year cycle through the Bible with The Gospel Project. It’s encouraging to think of the stories and foundational truths of Scripture that our children have learned. We began a new cycle on September 2 and look forward to another three years of a chronological, Jesus-centered study of God’s Word.
Throughout the year, we had some great opportunities to gather for fellowship and further learning including our Fall Festival, Kids Choir Camp, and Vacation Bible School, all which were well attended by church members, friends and community members. This year’s VBS had 205 kids in attendance which was 60 more than the previous year. The kids collected $515 to be sent to our partner, Flourishing Grace in Utah, so that they could print a Bible reading plan for their families. What a fun way for our kids to be involved in one of our partnerships!
We were also excited to add a full-time Children’s Ministry Associate, Sarah Glod, to our team this year. Sarah joins us with a wealth of knowledge and excitement to create curriculum and spaces were kids learn more about Jesus. We are honored to have her on our team.
Our Sunday morning ministry continues to grow, so we have added three new classes over the last year. We currently have four nursery classes, six preschool classes and five elementary classes and average over 200 kids every Sunday morning. We look to add two more classes very soon which means we will need additional 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 Minister to Children and Families, Lori Atkeisson, by clicking the link below.
Students at the Cross
The student ministry of Church at the Cross is coming off an incredible year of ministry!
Over the course of the last 12 months, we had the opportunity to see many students come forward in obedience to be baptized. Through baptism, CATC affirmed their union with Christ and marked them off as belonging to Jesus and his Church. All together we had over 120 people involved in Disciple Now 2018, some of whom were friends of our teenagers whose families do not have a church home or do not know Jesus at all. Summer 2018 provided opportunities for our teenagers to retreat to Student Life Camp. Seeing the need to minister to our teenagers more intentionally, we sent our middle and high school students in two separate directions for camp. About 50 high school students traveled to Glorieta, New Mexico and about 25 middle school students travelled to Austin College in Sherman, 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, hearing and learning the great redemptive plan of God told throughout all of the Bible. 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. Through Emerge, we had the opportunity to train many of our high school students in evangelism and discipleship, and have seen incalculable fruit in their lives and in the lives of those they have come in contact with.
When I think about the kingdom impact the Students at the Cross will have in the coming years, my mind always goes to mission. There is no quicker way to make a disciple of Jesus than to take him on Jesus’ mission. This past year, we were able to do just that. In June, we trained and sent out one of the largest student mission teams to date. This team, made up of middle and high school students, administrated a VBS for children in four separate gospel-starved and economically disadvantaged apartment complexes around Arlington. In July, we sent a team of high school students to Mai Mahiu, Kenya. Roughly 90 minutes outside of Nairobi, Mai Mahiu is situated on what is infamously known as the Aids Highway of Africa, Kinsasha Highway. Among many other missional endeavors, this team of teenagers traversed the slums of this small town, going shanty to shanty. They shared the gospel with and prayed with a people who are experiencing a level of spiritual and physical poverty that many American Christians will never see. Our prayer is that this trip will be the first of many all over the world by many in our church. Trips to the farthest most unreached people groups on the planet by future adults who look back at their time as children and teenagers at Church at the Cross as the season when God formed in them the conviction that the question is not “Am I called?” but “To whom and and to where am I called?”
I really do believe that God desires to do many great things through Students at the Cross. I’m convinced that he wants to make himself known to and through the teenagers of this church. I also know that he will accomplish this divine purpose through the obedience of his people. In the years to come, it is going to take a team of more than just staff. If you find yourself with a desire to make disciples of teenagers and begin to feel called to join this student ministry team, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to hearing from you!
The writer of Hebrews encourages believers to do three things in Hebrews 10 as a result of Christ’s atoning work. They are to draw near in confidence to God, hold fast the confession of [their] hope, and consider how we might encourage one another onto love and good deeds. What a glorious picture of the Church! In this past year, we have experienced these practices week in and week out through our Life Group gatherings. Church at the Cross is blessed to see the vast majority of our people connected on some level to one of our Life Groups that meet throughout the week. The writer of Hebrews commends us to do so regularly in response to the saving work of Christ.
We have seen tremendous growth in our Life Groups in the past 12 months as God has continued to bring people into life-giving community at CATC. Five new groups were started by multiplying out of previous groups and most of our groups have seen increasing numbers in their attendance. Five new groups in a year represents a 20% increase from a year ago.
More importantly than the statistics is the way Life Groups have been regularly demonstrating love and compassion to each other, especially in difficult times. As many of you know, it has been a challenging season for many CATC families and yet, what a testimony our Life Groups can be to the power of the gospel in such times. Our pastoral team is so encouraged and delighted when we hear that a Life Group leader or member has ‘beat us’ to a fellow group member in the hospital or found some other way to care for them. We are prayerful that God helps CATC maintain this sort of gracious and hospitable culture for years to come.
We are determined to bring greater structure and leadership development to our Life Groups ministry this next year. We believe that God will use such efforts to multiply His work among our people in Life Groups. To learn more about Life Groups, click the link below.
CATC Women exists to help women encounter Jesus. We desire to see all women of all seasons gather to know God through the study of his Word, to encourage one another, and to spur one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24-25) in our spaces of influence. CATC Women’s Bible Study will kick off in the spring semester with a three-part approach to Bible study: guided personal study, small group discussion, and large group teaching. We are excited to begin gathering as the women of Church at the Cross to build unity among diversity, to anchor our hope in Jesus, and to go into our spaces of influence as kingdom-minded women.
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 ways we have cared this year:
STEPS was implemented in the Fall. Steps is a discipleship program that helps us find freedom from harmful patterns that have developed in our lives and find hope in the midst of suffering. Over the course 13 weeks, we lay a foundation of the gospel through daily Bible discovery, weekly teaching, transparent small group discussion, and one on one mentoring. Through this process we find strength in the gospel to understand and confront the roots of our daily struggles and learn how to uproot and replace those harmful roots with God’s truth. The hope is to see people encountering Jesus and experiencing renewal in their everyday lives. Steps will be offered twice a year. The Spring session (September-December) and the Fall session (February-May). By the end of this year, we will have seen two women’s and two men’s groups move through. We hope to report two to three times that number of people experiencing this means of grace this time next year!
We have seen our elders and deacons ministering to our church and local community by providing ministries such as pre-marital counseling, financial coaching, care to our widows, the distribution of benevolence, help for families facing the loss of a loved one, etc.
Thank you for sharing this year through the Mercy Fund Offering (collected during Advent). Because of your generosity, we saw over $76,000 used significantly to bless people this year. This represents people in emotional or physical crisis – in need of solid Biblical Counseling or benevolence help; and to help people who are in the process of adoption.
We continue to have 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 gatherings, please contact Pete Brooks about getting involved by clicking the link below.
Our Senior Adult game-night continues to grow in number and fellowship as we see people of all generations gathering to share their lives together. This takes place the first Tuesday night of the month in the Café of the Kids Building. Come join us at 5:30pm and bring a covered dish. Thank you to Milton Glenn who has faithfully developed this ministry for over a decade.
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.
This has been a momentous year for Church at the Cross in terms of our outreach efforts. In the past 12 months, we have established two new multi-year partnerships, hosted a Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course, sent a team of students to Kenya, and have another team slated to travel to Ecuador in early October. All of these realities are cause to celebrate, but we are particularly excited to see how God will use the Perspectives course for years to come here at CATC. This course laid the groundwork for those involved to possess a worldview informed by the mission of God as laid out in the Bible. We had over 70 CATC people take part in the course. Therefore, we are confident that God will use these individuals in various ways to catalyze a gospel-driven outreach ministry at Church at the Cross.
In April, we were honored to host the 4000 Steps event put on by one of our closest partners, the Human Coalition. This event was the first of its kind in this part of the country and served to raise awareness and funds for the literally life-saving work that Human Coalition conducts day in and day out.
Finally, we saw increased involvement of CATC people in various local ministries such as International Friends of Grapevine and 6 Stones. We hope to see continued deepening of our connections with other great ministries such as these as we look to leave an indelible impression of the gospel on the surrounding communities of Church at the Cross.