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2014 Staff Articles

 

Let’s Not Be “That Church”

A family walks into a church desperately looking for a new church home. They are so excited yet filled with anxiety about what they might experience or who they might meet! They pull into the parking lot which is nice and clean. Then they come in the front doors and meet some very nice people who make them feel welcome with a smile and a bulletin for the service. Then they walk into the sanctuary doors where the music is playing with a new contemporary melody and worshiping people. BUT, then they try to find several seats together so they can stay united as a family in this new and strange place, but all the aisle seats are taken, and there is no place for all 4 of them to sit, and the ONLY place available is the very front row….in the spotlight….in front of everyone! Finding that thought a bit daunting….they decide that maybe this is not the right time to check this out, so they leave thinking “let’s try them another time”, but they never come back. 

Let’s not let Crossroads Christian Church become “That Church”! Scoot on in! If you’re a regular attender, then go on, take those front row seats! Let’s be the church that really focuses on visitors and makes them feel welcome beyond the smile at the front door! Open arms and open seats…..let’s all scoot in!

 

 

Farewell Michael Hicks

Last month, Michael Hicks completed his summer internship at Crossroads and has returned to Ozark Christian College to begin his sophomore year. As part of his internship, Michael had to opportunity to deliver a message on forgiveness during our July PrimeTime, lead Crossroads’ kids in tracking down prophets of the Bible, and help inspire Crossroads’ youth through music and a message on self-control. One of Michael’s favorite parts of being a Christian is being engulfed in the grace, mercy, love, and peace that are only found in Jesus Christ.

 According to Michael; anxiety, discouragement, even sin and death are no match for our Supreme Creator! What Michael enjoyed most about Crossroads is that it is completely genuine. From the staff to the congregation, Michael has witnessed the love of Christ being consistently displayed throughout the church and an earnest desire for the Lord to be first in everything we do. He feels beyond blessed to worship at Crossroads where he knows that he will be brought before the throne of God each and every Sunday. The Crossroads staff would like to thank Michael for his work and commitment this summer. We look forward to seeing how God will continue to use him in ministry. 

 

Welcome Tracy Armentrout! 

We are happy to announce the hiring of Tracy Armentrout as our Operations Pastor. This is a new position that we have been looking at adding for some time now. His responsibilities will include everything from office functions, to staff management, to financial oversight, to leadership development and many things in-between. We are excited to have Tracy as part of the leadership team here at Crossroads. His first official day will be on Aug. 25th.

Tracy, and his wife Becky, have been a part of the Crossroads family for 6 ½ years now. So he already knows who we are, our philosophy of ministry and many of the people that call Crossroads home. All this will help him as he transitions into this new staff position.

Here’s a little information that will help you know him better. He was raised on a hog farm (that will come in handy when dealing with a couple of our other staff members), gave his life to Christ in 1982, and worked with Pizza Hut for over 34 years (pretty much every position). He met Becky while in college and they married in 1983. They have two grown children, Ben & Bridget. His education includes an associate’s degree in law enforcement and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He enjoys motorcycles, music & paintball. And…. after all this time, his favorite food is still pizza.

Welcome to the Team, Tracy!

Brad Fangman

 

Beyond Yourself

Brad Fangman, Senior Pastor

July 2014

 

There’s a statement in Romans that’s always inspired me. It’s Romans 12:13c “Pursue hospitality”. The way it reads in The Message is “Be inventive in hospitality”. The inspiring part has to do with the literal meaning of the word hospitality. It means the love of strangers! Now is that cool or what?!

The application of that command in Scripture is something that can and should play out in a variety of ways throughout the week. But for the sake of this article, I want to challenge you to apply it to your Sunday morning experience.

It’s easy to get into a routine of doing things the same way each Sunday morning when you come to church. Either you arrive barely in time (perhaps a couple minutes late) and seek out a seat and start worshiping with everyone. Or perhaps you arrive a few minutes early to stake your claim to a chair and then maybe seek out a friend and catch up with him/her before the worship service begins. Chances are it’s a similar scenario each Sunday morning. In view of what Romans 12:13 says, I would like to challenge you to intentionally approach things differently starting THIS Sunday.

Whether you realize it or not, every Sunday morning we have several first time visitors dropping in to worship with us at Crossroads. As they walk into the doors, they are unsure as to what they’re going to find. In fact, they might be down-right nervous. Wouldn’t it be cool if they immediately discovered that those fears were unnecessary? Together we can make that happen! It would just involve a few adjustments to our Sunday routine.

Instead of just targeting being at church at the time the service is scheduled to begin, let’s shoot for being there 10 or even 15 minutes early. Go put your Bible on your chair and then go into search mode. Watch for people you don’t recognize. Make contact with them. Introduce yourself. A warm greeting can accomplish far more than we often realize. (Just think back to when you first stepped in those doors.) You don’t have to play 20 Questions with people. Just greet them. Tell them you’re glad to see them. If you discover that they are visiting, that really opens the door. Tell them about the donuts or offer to show them where the kids’ area or nursery area is at. If they have a question you don’t know the answer to, take them to the Guest Counter or introduce them to one of the pastors. (Don’t forget to greet our guests afterwards, too!)

The point is… you’re glad to see them and you want them to know that! Then on future Sundays, when you see them show up again, reestablish contact with them. This sends an important message to them. It conveys that they are accepted and valued.

Really, it’s not rocket science. It takes someone having the heart and initiative to do the right thing. Just remember this: If you’re going to put into practice the love of strangers, you can’t only be around the people you’ve known for years. You need to venture out, beyond yourself. Let’s work together in creating a hospitable environment every Sunday. As I see it, this church is our home. The least we can do is help people feel welcome when they step in the doors!

 

Focusing on Others…Not on Self

Mark Palmer, Youth Minister

June 2014

Playing basketball with Jr. Highers is fun. My favorite thing to do is to block a shot while shouting, “denied” or angrily looking into their eyes and saying, “Not in my house!” You see, I never really got a chance to develop my basketball skills as a youth, so now I take every opportunity possible to live out my dreams at the expense and heart ache of these Jr. Highers.

Of course, I don’t really compete like this (at least not on purpose). But can you imagine the dynamics that I would create if I did. The students would learn from my example, pick up on my attitude and replicate that with each other. And my attitude would overflow from the basketball court into our small groups and worship services. If all I ever did was think of myself and try to make myself shine on the court, the consequence would be that the whole youth group would be tarnished.

Last month, Brad Fogo offered up 5 practical ways that we can be “others focused.”  It shows us that the little things we do can make a big difference.  However it is possible to do good to others because you want to feel good about yourself.  If this happens, then the good you do is not for the good of others it is for selfish gain.  Even the phrase “pay it forward” ultimately is based on the philosophy that at some point you will benefit from your actions.  This is what 1 Corinthians 13:1 calls a resounding gong or clanging symbol.

In Matthew 16:24 Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Jesus made a habit of getting his hands dirty, hanging out with strangers, working in less than ideal situations, being made the target of criticism and even taking care of the needs of others before his own.  Instead of living his life to show off his power (as God), Jesus used what he had to serve others.  Instead of saying, “not in my house,” Jesus went to the house of the tax collector.  Instead of denying those around him because the filthy and tarnished lives they led, he denied himself (even allowed himself to be tarnished to the point of death) so that he could save those around him and help them shine.

And now Jesus says, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:30-37).

Welcome Michael Hicks!

Michael Hicks will be spending his summer at Crossroads as our new summer intern! Michael has just completed his first year of college and his advice (for the under 50 crowd) is get your priorities straight with self-discipline and maintaining a healthy work/school-life balance. For Michael, a large part of that life balance is ministry work. He has chosen the ministry field because the Lord has called him to serve in this way. Michael desires nothing more than to give his life as a living sacrifice to the Lord and to help non-believers to know what it is like to be in a relationship with Christ.

He is very passionate about helping others and sharing the love of Christ with them. Through Crossroads, Michael has had opportunities to serve others locally, internationally and cross-culturally, in places like Joplin, Branson, Moore (OK) and Togo (Africa). It was immediately when he stepped off the plane in Togo that he first realized that the Lord was calling him to serve as a missionary. Since that moment, Michael has pursued that calling which has led him to Ozark Christian College where he is majoring in Bible & Inter-Cultural Studies with a minor in T.E.S.O.L (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Michael is very excited to see where the Lord will continue to lead him and what doors He will open.

Focusing On Others

Brad Fogo, Associate Pastor
May 2014

While our worship and service to God is in no way to be restricted to Sunday mornings, Sunday morning worship services are an important time nonetheless. In some respects it is like a big family reunion in which we get to see family members on a regular basis. From another perspective, it’s a time to welcome guests to the household of God. Looking at Sunday morning from this latter perspective, how well are we doing at welcoming our guests on a Sunday morning?

Perhaps the best way to examine that is to think about how we make company feel welcomed and valued when we invite them into our personal homes. We go out of our way to make sure the house is clean and inviting. If they’re invited over for dinner we do our best to provide them with an enjoyable meal, whether it’s a formal event or a casual cookout in the backyard. We give them our attention and make sure they are comfortable and have a good experience while in our home.

Now translate that into what happens here at Crossroads on any given Sunday. We have guests each and every Sunday. Do we make as much effort to welcome these guests as we do those we welcome into our homes? Let me give you some practical ways of doing that:

  • Park as far from the front door as possible, if your health allows you to do that. This allows our guests the convenience of using those spots closest to the front door.
  • Intentionally seek out folks that you don’t know and introduce yourself to them. If they are new to the church, they will realize that you and others are truly glad they are there. If they have been attending for a while and you just haven’t met them before, it will give you both a chance to build a new friendship within the family of God.
  • If you notice someone looking like they’re lost or trying to find their way around, help them out. However, don’t just point them in the direction they’re needing to go. Walk with them to the Nursery, the Children’s Welcome Desk or wherever they need to go.
  • Just as you wouldn’t hog all the mashed potatoes that you serve in your home, be mindful of others in the donut line. Take only one donut and leave plenty for our guests.
  • Even after the service dismisses, in the gym, in the lobby or on your way to the car, greet those around you. Be especially watchful for those that you don’t know. Your speaking to them and giving them your attention will speak volumes to them.

In the New Testament there are at least a couple dozen “one another” passages that instruct us on how we are to treat and interact with one another in the family of God and those not yet in the family. For example, Romans 12: 10 commands “be devoted to one another in love, [honoring] one another above yourselves” and 1 Peter 4:9 says to “offer hospitality to one another without grumbling”. Passages like these will give you some insights into how we can focus more on others and become less self-centered. When we give of ourselves and make these small but significant sacrifices we become more like Christ. By doing that we become a more effective witness to those that God brings our way.

 

Welcome Tiameka Rankin!

The leadership at Crossroads is thrilled to formally welcome our newest staff member, Tiameka Rankin, as the new full-time administrative assistant. Tiameka is a graduate of Duke University with a post-graduate degree from De Vry. She also brings with her a wealth of experience in clerical knowledge, organization, interpersonal skills, and project managing abilities. As an added bonus, Tiameka has already shown herself as an active member of Crossroads and has proven to fully support God’s ministry here.

Tiameka first attended Crossroads in 2010 after moving back to the greater Kansas City area-her hometown. Last year she was immersed at Crossroads and has since jumped head-first into several ministry and service opportunities. Her knowledge, energy, enthusiasm, and perspective will be a great asset to the team. Feel free to contact Tiameka to welcome her aboard and offer her words of encouragement as she embarks on her new adventure with the “socially challenged” staff already in place. Tiamke’s first day is Monday, March 31.

 

 

 

 

 

From A Children’s Pastor’s Perspective

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelly Gossett, Children’s Pastor

 

April 2014

 

 

 

Serving in the Kids Area at Crossroads is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding places to serve. Not only do we have the privilege to plant seeds for Christ in the hearts of young lives, we get to have fun while doing this!!! If you don’t believe me, come observe a Kids’ Worship Service on Sunday morning, support a classroom teacher during small group time, join in the wacky games at SHINE or GROW on Wednesdays, stand beside our Kids’ Welcome Desk hosts as they warmly greet visitors, or assist during the week of Vacation Bible School. You will either think serving in the Children’s Ministry has made us CRAZY or you will find yourself caught up in the joy of serving His kids and want to join in on the action. I challenge you to come “check us out”.

 

 

 

 

But what about the “other ministry teams” serving in the church? How can they have as much fun as we do in the Kids Area and make such an impact on hearts for Christ as we do? It takes me only seconds to list dozens of reasons why each Ministry Team Leader would passionately debate the vital role of their team in the life of the church while finding joy serving in that specific area. No matter what team you find yourself serving on, I believe all ministry team leaders would agree that we have one main common denominator: we find the greatest joy and have the most fun when we are serving beside others.

 

If you haven’t signed up to serve on a Ministry Team in 2014 here at Crossroads, why not sign up for the simple reason of having fun building relationships with God’s people while serving beside them? Each of us would admit tasks accomplished with other people are not only done more quickly and efficiently, they are more enjoyable when shared with others. It’s all a part of God’s design, His plan!

 

Call Me Anything You Want…

 

(Just don’t call on me to help.)


Jeff Palmer, Music Pastor


March 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Many would agree that one of the funniest television series of all time was the Seinfeld sitcom.  Being that it was a show about ordinary, everyday life (and the folly of the human condition), it was quite entertaining as everyone can relate to the situations portrayed therein.  One particular episode that consistently sticks out in my mind (possibly because it was the series finale) included an incident when Jerry Seinfeld and his friends stood close-by watching a man being carjacked at gunpoint while they merely cracked jokes at the situation and exclaimed, “somebody should really do something.”  While the sitcom established humor in the awkward encounter, the scene shed light on a true-to-life problem – the it-doesn’t-concern-me-syndrome.

 

There is no doubt that each one of us could undoubtedly find ourselves in a similar Seinfeld-esque scene on a regular basis.  Of course it may not be a predicament as dire as aiding the victim of a carjacking, but we constantly encounter settings where our help is greatly needed.  Unfortunately, our responses more often mimic the characters in

Seinfeld rather than those of Jesus in the Bible.  As Jesus modeled, we need to open up our eyes to see the needs of others while disregarding our urge to just stand by and spectate.  Of course a great place to start is right here at the Crossroads.

As Crossroads continues to grow and attract more newcomers, it is utterly important that each one of us, individually, take initiative in being as welcoming and selfless in our hospitality as possible.  This may mean freeing up needed seating space by moving to a chair that is not where we normally sit, finding a chair for someone who is standing, or merely be a welcoming smile and handshake to an unfamiliar face. Regardless if the situation falls outside of our regular, unspoken  “responsibilities”, may we always be aware of situations taking place around us and keep a loving eye out for opportunities to help and serve others.