July 17, 2020

Who are you keeping up with from church? When is the last time you had a good, meaningful conversation with someone from church? I know that with all the “social distancing”, meaningful fellowship with others in the body has taken a big hit and I know all of us miss that – A LOT! Many are still live-streaming worship on Sunday, so we don’t get to see them (and we miss them). But even those who come on Sunday are encouraged to keep their distance, so that enjoying one another becomes a little more challenging. So how do we do what we are commanded to do in Scripture – love and care for others in the body of Christ? Do we simply put fellowship on hold until such time that we can all meet together again? Do we wait until Covid-19 is a thing of the past (which could be a long way off)? The reality is that we need each other – we need to be in fellowship with other believers – and our spiritual (and emotional) health really depends on this. So how can we preserve that close- knit fellowship that Crossgate has been known for? Let me suggest one thing that I think can make a difference.  It’s really a “no-brainer”; couldn’t be any more simple. The solution I have in mind is simply using that little gadget we call the phone. What could be easier than calling people to check on them? When is the last time you called someone from church just to check on them and see how they were doing? Does that seem strange to you or a little weird? Well, it’s not. It may take you out of your comfort zone a little, but that’s not a bad thing. Let me ask you something – How would you feel if someone called you and asked how you were doing and how they could be praying for you? More than likely, you would appreciate the fact that they thought enough about you to reach out to you in this way. Well, if you would feel this way, why not make an effort to help others feel special? And Men, you can (and ought to) do this just as well as women. It may not come as easy for you, but I would encourage you to engage in this kind of “fellowship-outreach”.  So let me encourage you to pray about making one phone call this week (and each week thereafter) to someone you haven’t seen in a while. Ask the Lord to show you whom He would have you reach out to. I believe if we will do this, we can refresh and encourage each other and continue to enjoy some sweet fellowship together. Let’s not allow Covid-19 to weaken the bonds of love at Crossgate.


God at Work…In Our Children’s Ministry

When Emma was small, Crossgate was in its beginning stage. The church had not “organized” and was not in its own building.  The normal place for children was in the service and, well, sometimes out of the service if they got too verbose!  Young children cannot be little adults no matter how cute they look in their fine Sunday clothes!  If you might be concerned that the whole world must be watching or thinking about the behaviour of your children during Sunday service, we are not!  

In my day, I was approached by loving “older” members with many an encouraging word.  Now it is my turn and I feel privileged to offer the encouragement!  Your children are learning that it is important to come to God’s house and to listen.  At their young age, this is an important lesson even if they cannot listen.:) They are watching the actions of adults, teenagers, and older children as we sing to the Lord with great volume and sit quietly as a pastor leads us in prayer to our Heavenly Father.  All these experiences get embedded in a child.  I have a fond memory during the hymn singing at my home church of looking around at the throngs of people all offering their sacrifice of praise to their God…..I knew God was in that place.  I have reflected on that moment and now, of course, realize that it was a great gift to be given at a young age.  God is real, tangible and loving.  So, we are glad to have your young ones in the service!

With everything going on, the family in worship has become an even more important and needed experience.  Your church family wants to know your children and offer you that support!  Take heart, that even when you do not hear all of the sermon because you are focused on your child’s needs, God is faithful to you and your children.  It is a season of purposing your own personal time with God as often as you can AND training your children for the relationship with Him you pray for. 
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.  Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”         -Galatians 6:9,10
—submitted by Leslie Warlick, Nursery Coordinator  


July 2020

All of us know how Covid-19 has impacted our whole way of life.  I still find it strange that when I go to a store, I see people with face masks on.  I certainly understand why, but it’s still a weird feeling to see this in the U.S.  And then we see how this virus has impacted our economy, affecting virtually every segment of the American workforce.  And as a result, a lot of people are really struggling to meet financial obligations.  But looking beyond these things, we can talk about the physical and emotional impact of this virus on a whole host of folks. Whether you catch the virus or not, it’s obvious that this virus has altered our way of living.

But how has Covid affected you spiritually?   There’s no doubt that this virus has affected the local church.  Churches have not been able to meet together for worship as in the past, and most of the church programs have been put on hold for fear that we might inadvertently spread the virus.  But what about your personal walk with the Lord?  Has your walk with Christ become rather sickly and anemic in the midst of this pandemic?  Is your spiritual life so dependent upon outside Bible studies and other programs that when those are not available, you just sort of hobble along spiritually and become more and more complacent and apathetic?   Are you consistently spending time in God’s Word and prayer, or have these things been sort of pushed aside for the time being?  And what about church worship on Sunday?  Are you staying home for worship because it takes less effort on your part or because you have a genuine concern about your health?  Now don’t misunderstand me here.  We know that there are people in our church who need to stay home and join us livestream, but sometimes I wonder if there are some who are going to the stores and work during the week, but using Covid as an excuse for not coming to church.  Maybe not.  But my point is simply this – it’s easy in times like these, to just sort of throw spiritual discipline out the window and become somewhat flabby spiritually.  (like the Covid /quarantine weight gain!  Have you experienced this?)  We can either focus on doing what feels good at the moment, or we can see this as a great opportunity to nourish our souls and become strong in the faith.    

Listen, these are tough days that we are living in.  They’re not fun and I know that we all can’t wait until we can resume some semblance of normality.   We’re tired of this “social distance” stuff!  We’re tired of feeling blah!  We long for things to get back to normal.  But until then, we have to ask – “How does God want to use this pandemic to feed my soul and to mature me in my faith?”

Brothers and Sisters in Christ – I want to encourage you in these strange times to seek after the Lord with your whole heart.  Get to know Him better through His Word and Prayer.  Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.  Don’t allow the sin of apathy and complacency to infect your soul so that you simply coast along.  Rather use this time to deepen your walk with Christ so that you might grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Worship’s “New Normal”

  • We recognize the need to be extremely cautious and have taken 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 worship with us online.  We will continue to live stream our worship service on YouTube. 
  • We 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 services have a little different feel – perhaps, not quite as warm and friendly because we are continuing 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.
  • We 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,  every other row from the auditorium has been removed so we can only accommodate 60-70 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  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.  
  • After the service one side of the church will 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 are cleaning and sanitizing surfaces between the two services.
  • We have a nursery available as well as Kids’ Worship (ages 4-1st grade) during our 10:45 am service ONLY.  Children are welcome in the worship services, and should they become restless or noisy, we have space where a parent can take their child and continue to listen/watch the service online.
We are happy to be coming 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.


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.


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


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.


God at Work…In Our Women’s Ministry

At the heart of the Crossgate Women’s Ministry is the desire to help our ladies deepen their walk with the Lord through in-depth study of God’s Word, worshiping together in church, and building encouraging relationships with one another.

We recently created a new Crossgate Ladies Facebook Group to facilitate consistent communication among the women involved in our ministry.  So many things can be shared within this private members-only group, including prayer requests, questions that may challenge or encourage our spiritual journeys, the joys and sorrows that make up our lives, as well as invitations and news about ministry events, photos, and snippets of personal information that help us get to know one another better!

Some Crossgate Ladies’ posts:

“Let’s keep sharing about ourselves! That was fun last night to learn who was once a former Firefighter, who once was a fighter pilot, and the former mule rider!!! Let’s keep adding our stories!…”

“Thank you everyone who had a part in planning this event. I truly enjoyed every minute with none of the self-consciousness that usually accompanies ‘mixers’!”

“We are thrilled to be part of a Church where people are seeking to follow Jesus and share the gospel with the community and the world.”

Crossgate women can join our Facebook group by visiting Facebook/Crossgate Ladies and requesting to join the group.


God at Work…In Our Focus Groups

Our Focus Groups are what we refer to as “the church in homes.”  This small group ministry provides a unique opportunity for everyone at Crossgate to not only meet new people, but to develop some close, personal friendships with others in the body.  These are special times of fellowship around the Word, sharing and praying for one another, and just enjoying each other over some refreshments.     

Look at what some people have said about this ministry and how God has used it in their lives:

“Being in the focus group has helped me overcome my fear of praying in front of a group of people.”  (Note: you don’t have to pray out loud to be in a group.)

“I haven’t been involved in a ministry like Focus Group before.  It’s awesome to get to know people on a more personal level than you could ever do by just attending church on Sunday.  They really become part of your extended family.  Plus I have been apprehensive talking about my faith and this has been a great way for me to get used to asking questions and talking about what God means to me.”

“When we moved to the area three years ago, we found community by becoming a part of Crossgate, and committing to our Focus Group where we have made great friends, learned deeper spiritual truths, and shared our joys and heartaches with those we have come to know and love.” 

“Since we are relatively new to  Crossgate, the Focus Group has offered us an opportunity to get to know in a special way a smaller group of people from the church family in a short period of time.  These folks have been our “go to” people in our church life.  We have grown to love our Focus Group buddies and our Wednesday night get-togethers and miss it when we are unable to attend.”

If you’re not a part of one of our Focus Groups, please consider joining one.  Talk with one of our Focus Group leaders to find out about a particular group or with Tom if you’re not sure where to start. 


Is it time to build?

Well, if you have looked around on Sunday morning, you can see that God is bringing more and more new folks to Crossgate and of course, we are thrilled to have each one.  What a blessing it is for us to be able to provide spiritual nurture and encouragement to more and more people – and to be able to provide a real church “family” for people to be a part of.  But as a result of this growth, things are beginning to get a little bit snug in our Worship Service.  We’ve definitely reached the 80% capacity mark – the point where the experts say, you will begin to lose folks because it will be more and more difficult for them to find parking and seating.

Well, the Session has looked at the situation and determined that if we are to continue growing, we need to take some steps to address this “problem.”  There are really only a couple of viable alternatives:   go to a second service and split up the congregation (which I don’t think anyone wants to do)  or  go to Phase 2 in our building master plan which entails building an educational/office building and knocking out the walls of our existing sanctuary (which would seat around 400-450).

The Session believes the latter alternative is the better of the two, and so we have put together a Building Committee that will be working with Signature Architects and Trehel Corp. (the designer and builder of our current facility) in order to ascertain our immediate needs and what steps we need to be taking next.  Michael Thorsland will be chairing this committee and Mike Benning, Scott Coffman, Teresa Bruce and Debra Andrews will serve on the committee with him.  Let’s be praying for them as they work on this – that God would give them great wisdom and discernment, and that it would be very clear what God would have us do next.

It is possible that before we are able to build we will have to go to a second service – at least temporarily.  Once we begin having 200 people come consistently on Sunday morning, we will need to look at this.  But our desire is that we be able to stay together and continue worshiping as one body.  So even if we have to go to two services, our goal will be to get back together as soon as possible. 

God is at work in our midst and we can rejoice in what He is doing.  But even as we talk about building, let’s not lose sight of our real calling – it’s to grow true disciples.  Buildings are nice – but they are simply a means to an end.  The end we must always have in our sights is the glory of God as we see lives transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.