Worship’s “New Normal”

  • We recognize the need to be extremely cautious in this start-up and we will take numerous precautions to create a safe environment in which we can worship.  Moreover, we realize that some of you are more at risk and may not feel comfortable attending a worship service at this point.  If that is the case with you, we encourage you to remain at home and continue to worship with us online.  We will continue to live stream our worship service on YouTube. 
  • We would also encourage you to stay home and worship online if….
    • You or someone in your family is not feeling well – have any symptoms such as temperature, cough, etc.
    • You have been around anyone who is sick
  • Because of the steps we are taking to ensure a safe environment, our worship service will have a little different feel – perhaps, not quite as warm and friendly because we will continue to encourage social distancing.  But be patient.  This will pass and hopefully, we will soon be able to hug and shake hands and enjoy a closeness with each other.
  •  
NOW FOR THE SPECIFICS:
  • We will have 2 limited capacity worship services – one at 9:00 am and the other at 10:45 am.  Please plan on arriving 10 minutes early.  To meet social distancing guidelines, we will remove every other row from the auditorium so we will only be able to accommodate 70-80 people in each service.  
  • We are not requiring people to wear a mask, BUT if you feel more comfortable wearing one, please do so. 
  • We will ask everyone to enter only through the front door of the building and move straight into the auditorium and be seated.  We encourage you to leave 2 seats between you/your family and others who may come.  Inside each bulletin, there will be two red pieces of paper/markers.  Once you sit down, you can place these red markers on the seats adjacent to you and your family.  If you’re comfortable with only 1 seat between you and others, just use one of the markers. DO NOT SIT IN A SEAT WITH A RED MARKER
  • After the service we will let one side of the church leave through the front door and the other side will leave through the side door.  (We will provide directions after the benediction) We ask you to leave the auditorium as soon as the service is over, and then once you are outside, you can visit as much as you would like. 
  • We will be cleaning and sanitizing surfaces between the two services.
  • We will NOT have a nursery or Kids’ Worship for our worship services.  Children are welcome in the worship services, and should they become restless or noisy, we will have space where a parent can take their child and continue to listen/watch the service online.
 
We are so looking forward to being together for worship – even if our fellowship will be divided into two services for a time! But the day is coming – and we can’t wait! – when we will be able to forget about social distancing and just be able to enjoy close communion and vibrant worship together.

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May 2020

It’s been a little over three weeks now since the tornado struck Seneca, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.  As you already know, our neighborhood was hit really hard and the landscape was radically transformed.  What used to be a nice wooded community with some beautiful hardwoods, is now a pretty desolate place with very few trees remaining.  We lost about 85 trees just in our yard.  But God is so good and we feel so incredibly blessed!  And Joye and I want to express our deepest gratitude to you, our church family, for how you have come alongside of us and ministered to us.  You’ve not only prayed for us, but many of you rallied to our home with chainsaws in hand to help us dig out of our horizontal forest.  And then there are the meals you prepared for us – every day for two weeks!  Unbelievable!  Joye and I have eaten so well it’s a wonder we haven’t ballooned out and gained a bunch of weight. Thank you for feeding us such wonderful meals prepared by such loving hands.  But actually, the best part about getting those meals was seeing you in person – face to face.  How we have missed seeing you and what a joy it was to enjoy a few moments of fellowship with you.  And lastly, I want to thank you for your amazing generosity – the way you have given to the Pastor’s Relief Fund established by the Session to help David and me get back on our feet.  Words are inadequate to express our gratitude for your generosity and kindness to us.  Thank you a million times over!

Well, I know that everyone is eager to get back together for worship and fellowship.  I know some churches will begin meeting in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully, we won’t be too far behind.  Of course, when we do, things will be a little different.  We’ll still have to exercise extreme caution – maintain the social distance and possibly wear masks.  But at least, we’ll be together.  Let’s continue praying for our leaders – president, governor, and church elders – so that we’ll know exactly when to pull the trigger and crank things up again. 

Hope each of you are doing well, and hope that by God’s grace, I’ll see you soon!

In the Bonds of His Love!   
Tom

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Redeem the Time

With all the changes from the corona virus, many are spending more time “stuck” at home. It is so easy to fill our time with all forms of media or idleness, but that tends to leave us feeling overwhelmed and empty.
 
Instead, we want to encourage you, as Paul writes to the Ephesians, to “redeem the time, because the days are evil” and “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:16,18). Does this give you an opportunity for more time with the Lord, speaking to Him in prayer, and listening to Him by reading the Word more? Take the time to reach out to one another too, even if there’s not an opportunity to visit.
 
Additionally we are glad to recommend some helpful content:
  • Something for Everyone – The Pilgrim’s Progress a new CGI-animated version of Bunyan’s classic. Free courtesy of RevelationMedia, just provide an email address.
  • Two Ideas for Kids – Animated Stories from the Bible or 1 John – What Is a Christian?, both on RightNow Media (email church for access if you don’t already have it).
  • A Few for Adults – The Bible Project (also on You Tube here) gives short helpful overviews of books of the Bible, Befriend gets you thinking more about friendship, which might make you more lonely but hopefully helps you reach out, and Sinclair Ferguson’s lessons on the Sermon on the Mount allow you the chance for a double dose of this great section of Jesus teaching! (again you can email the church for RightNow media access)
If you want other book or podcast recommendations, let us know (or pass on yours)!
 
However you spend your time during these days, we hope you will draw closer to the Lord, “casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet 5:7).           
 
–David Story, Assistant Pastor
 

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LIVE Stream Worship

This Sunday will feel very different given the wise encouragements from our government agencies to “shelter in place” and “avoid gatherings.” From our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens or porches though, we still want to come before the face of the Lord our God to worship Him, especially during this time. After all, He is the One who heals, protects, comforts, and rescues, the One in whom we hope, and He is worthy!

A little over a month ago, in God’s good providence, Crossgate installed the technology that allows us to live stream our worship service. We wanted to allow those who were home bound and so forth to still participate with us. Little did we know this would soon be our whole congregation, as we seek to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

We want to encourage you all to join us for worship from home through our live stream. It will begin shortly before our normal worship time at 10:45am, and you can access it through the link on our homepage or directly from our YouTube channel.

We will sing, pray, hear God’s Word and worship Him as we always do. It may feel a little odd to sing from your kitchen counter or in front of your TV, but we encourage you to participate as fully as you can. May it be a good reminder to us of the Biblical truth that each week we actually worship together with an unseen and innumerable group – Christians around the world, believers who have already passed before us into glory, and all the heavenly hosts! God hears and unites all our worship and He is always present with us.

Though these are difficult circumstances, God is surely working within it. We want you to see this as an opportunity to invite other friends and neighbors to join us online as well. For some their normal churches may not have this capability. For others it may be a time when they are more aware of the need to look to God. All are welcome. We want God to be glorified in this and every situation.

The upcoming weeks and months will involve a lot of adjustments for us all. As we continue our aim of “growing true disciples,” we will be looking at the best ways to adapt the ministries of the church too. “I will build my church,” Jesus said, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” … and neither will a coronavirus. 

Let us all look to the Lord in all things, pray for one another, pray for the world right now.  Love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.  And love your neighbor as yourself.


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God at Work…In Our Fellowship Ministry

Many Crossgate Church members comment on the exceptional welcome they experienced when first visiting our church. They relate how people they met were gracious and friendly, helping them to feel as though they are an important part of the Church’s fellowship of believers.
 
“I felt so welcome,” said one guest. “On our first visit, so many people greeted us and made us feel like we were a part of the church community.” 
 
And the support and encouragement of the congregation to the individuals who choose to attend our church continues well beyond the first visit. It is essential to the health of a church that members and regular attenders find a strong sense of community among the congregation, as the reality of Christ is witnessed through love for one another.
 
“When we first moved to the area, we did not know anyone.  But through being a part of the ministry of Crossgate, we have made friends with fellow believers,” says a new church member.
 
Another member expressed that he knows that no matter where he sits for the worship service, he will be sitting among friends. 
 
The Fellowship Committee seeks to facilitate the social interaction and development of friendships among our congregation by planning a variety of events such as Friendship Dinners and church-wide fellowship activities, while also seeking to connect people with particular interests (such as hiking, sporting events, quilting, etc.) with opportunities to explore those common interests with other church members. The goal is to build relationships among our church family who will then encourage and support one another through the joys and challenges of life, providing a strong and supportive congregation of people who care for and demonstrate their love for one another.

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God at Work…In Our Youth Ministry

Why do students come to Crossgate? Well, with many of them, they were invited by a friend or were told to by their parents, but after attending for some time, they recognized that something is different about this youth group. There is fellowship, not just hanging out. There are brothers and sisters, not just friends. There is genuine care for one another, and a recognition that what everyone truly needs is the power of God for salvation, the gospel of Jesus Christ. When one student was asked about what distinguished Crossgate’s Youth Ministry from other youth ministries, he responded:

“As a youth, I feel more respected at Crossgate than other youth groups. This is because the messages aren’t geared around entertainment, but correct teaching on the Gospel. Crossgate is a fun youth group, but they acknowledge the fact that the youth have the capacity to WANT to learn about God, instead of merely being entertained.”

How do we do this? It is a joint effort between David Story, on Lord’s Day mornings, teaching the students to have a Biblical worldview; Joye Musselman, Debbie Chapa, Kathy Kuhman, Karly Taylor, and Amaris McKown, on Sunday evenings, discipling the girls through discussing the Scriptures on which the leaders and the youth have meditated throughout the week; Roger Coubrough, Beaux Taylor, and me doing the same with the guys on Sunday evenings; and Beaux and me on Wednesday evenings, leading fellowship, games, and teaching on the everyday application of God’s Word.
 
Lucas McKown, Youth Ministry Leader

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March 2020

In just a little more than two weeks, we will be having our annual Mission’s Conference at Crossgate, and this year our focus will be on reaching Muslims.  Now some of you may not find this subject particularly intriguing. After all, you don’t even know any Muslims, so why should you make the effort to come to a conference that focuses on this? Well, let me suggest a couple of reasons why you should be interested in this and why you need to participate in this conference.

First, we need to be interested in reaching Muslims because God is.  According to a study done in 2015, there were 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, representing at that time 24.1% of the world’s population.  That is a lot of people who are on that broad way that leads to eternal destruction.  If we don’t care about these people – if it doesn’t bother us that this many people are going to Hell – then that says a lot about the condition of our hearts.  It says that we’re really not in tune with God and aligned with what He is doing in the world.  

If I were to ask each of you if you are interested in growing spiritually, I have no doubt that all of you would say that this is absolutely what you want.  You want to know God better – you want to be better acquainted with His Word – you want to serve Him to the best of your ability. This is why you come to church, and participate in Focus Groups, Bible studies, prayer meetings, etc. But here’s what a lot of people don’t seem to understand – if you are really growing spiritually – growing as a true disciple – you will inevitably become more interested in reaching the lost, both locally and around the world.  If you’re only concerned about what God can do for you and how He can help you personally, then you’re off track and not where God wants you to be. Your spiritual growth will be stifled “big time” if you shut out the world and focus on your personal needs. 

A second reason to participate in this conference is because we as a body are involved with Muslims through the missionaries that we support.  We support pastors in The Gambia who are reaching their Muslim community with the Gospel.  We support Ozgur and Allison who are reaching Muslims in Turkey, along with Turgay, who will be with us for our conference. And then there is Boonchu, our missionary who is reaching Muslims in Thailand.  Muslims are everywhere today – even on the Clemson campus. We need to better understand what they believe so that we’re not only prepared to engage them in conversation, but also so we can more effectively pray for our missionaries who are on the frontline in this battle.  

So don’t let this opportunity slip by you.  Satan will want to keep you away and may present you opportunities to do things that seems a little more fun.  But don’t give in to his seduction. Make this a priority and I’m confident that we’ll all be blessed!


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God at Work…In Our Children’s Ministry

God works in wonderful and mysterious ways! One of our children’s CGC teachers said, “I definitely know God has worked on me!” When you teach children, you not only get to serve God in this fun and gratifying way, but you learn so much as you teach. You learn about yourself as well as about the great God we serve. In that class, God has opened the hearts of the children to be comfortable with each other. They are participating and speaking out more. During the Sunday evening Kids’ Focus, the children sometimes offer up simple prayers aloud. This can be difficult for adults to do, but these children are learning to talk to God with others. How their faith is being strengthened as they recognize God’s answers to their prayers! 


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God at Work…In Our Community Outreach

Scripture is clear on many issues, including the fact that God’s people are to care for their neighbors, both believers and unbelievers. To that end, Crossgate supports several ministries that are engaged in meeting the physical, mental and spiritual needs of people in our community. We recently heard from the directors of two of those ministries — Ripple of One and Foothills Care Center — in our Sunday morning worship service. 
 
Another ministry that a number of Crossgate members are involved with is Our Daily Rest (ODR). ODR is committed to helping individuals make the “transition from homelessness to a life of self-sufficiency and financial independence.” Twice a month, several women from Crossgate prepare a meal for the residents, and one of our men delivers a short devotional and prayer before the meal is served. We also have the opportunity to meet and talk with some of the folks there. On one occasion, Paul Wyman met a young man named Damian who was coming out of a life of addiction. He had recently come to faith in Christ, and was “over the moon” excited! Damian worshiped with us at Crossgate for many months, in addition to attending one of our Focus Groups regularly. Eventually, he graduated from the program at ODR, and moved out of the area. But we still hear from him occasionally, and by God’s grace, he is prospering in life, and in his walk with the Lord.

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Missions Ministry Update February 2020

The Mission Committee recently voted to add three missionaries to Crossgate’s monthly support. Beginning this year, we will add monthly support to Ted and Christine Edwards who work through Valor, an outreach of CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) that reaches out to the military community; Jim Moon, who works with Church Multiplication Ministries in Cuba and around the world; and Ben and Becca Johnson, missionaries in Thailand. All three of these missionaries have direct links to Crossgate. The Edwards are regular attenders at Crossgate who have been great additions to our church. Jim serves as our link to Los Pinos Nuevos in Cuba and preached at our Missions Conference a couple of years ago. Finally, Ben visited Crossgate’s Missions Conference with Boonchu on his last visit and, among other things, serves as a liaison between Crossgate and Boonchu. 
 
Remember that Crossgate’s annual Missions Conference is coming up on March 14th & 15th. Our conference this year will focus on God’s work in the Muslim world and will have opportunities for involvement on Saturday morning with a work project/fellowship, Saturday afternoon/evening at the missions banquet and Sunday morning for our mission service. Be praying about your Faith Promise commitment as God continues to bless Crossgate through missionaries carrying out the Great Commission around the globe. 
UPCOMING DATES TO REMEMBER
Please contact the mission lead for information.

 

Mission Conference (Islam)                                      March 14-15                       Michael Thorsland/Joe Valdez

Creation Museum/Ark Encounter                             April 6-10                          CANCELLED

Missions Yard/Bake Sale                                          May 15-16                          Joe Valdez

Juarez, Mexico                                                          May 30-June 6                   Joe Chapa

Creation Museum/Ark Encounter                             June 22-27                         Joe Valdez

Seneca/Youth Mission                                              Late July                            Michael Thorsland

Chestnut Mountain WV                                             Sept/Oct                            Leader needed

Istanbul, Turkey                                                         Nov 14-22                           David Story

 

Contact Tim McKibben with questions and ideas.  Prayerfully consider taking part and possibly leading a future trip.


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