Over the past 5 years at Crosspoint, since we’ve moved into the new building in April 2012, we’ve had 77 Crosspointers move to another geographic location in the US. 22 households total. 18 of those households moved out of state. All 22 households moved far enough away making it impossible to remain connected to Crosspoint as their local church. And those numbers don’t include 2 more households (11 people) who are moving out of state this summer/fall.
For a church our size, that’s a crazy statistic in my estimation. 77 people who were a part of 22 different households. I knew it was a lot, but over the past couple weeks as a staff, we’ve tallied the number and it was far greater than I would’ve guessed initially. The number of households who have moved is in part, a reflection of the demographics of our church. We have a lot of households in their 30’s and 40’s, who are still very mobile as it relates to jobs and families.
So why am I sharing this? Because the number got me thinking, and when this pastor thinks, he writes. Here are three thoughts.
The church is an earthly and eternal family
It been hard on this pastor’s heart to see so many Crosspointers move away. Tears have been shed over friends who the Lord has called elsewhere. One of the greatest joys of a pastor is to walk alongside a person or household for many years. To see the work of God unfolding in their life. To have seen them take steps of faith such as baptism, membership, or active service in a church. To see them welcome children into their home, or lose a loved one, or experience a trial or victory.
Some of these Crosspointers had been with us from the beginning of the church. Some of these had been in our small group at one point. Others, had just recently started attending Crosspoint, and yet they were finding a local church to call home. And in both cases and everywhere in between, these are not just friends or fellow church goers, but they are brothers and sisters in the Lord. And because of that, one of the beautiful things about relationships in the family of God is that they transcend geographic distance. And the distance only makes the times when you see them face to face that much sweeter. May we not take for granted relationships the Lord has given us with fellow believers, and may we look forward to the joy it will be when we are in perfect community with one another in eternity.
The church is a body
Nearly all of the Crosspointers who moved, were actively involved in ministry. They were teachers of children, caregivers of babies, musicians on our worship team, leaders of community groups, servants behind the scenes, and on and on. They were not spectators, but engaged and active members of the Body of Christ. They were involved in personal ministry to others. For me, some of these households personally ministered to our family, encouraging, praying for, and loving us behind the scenes. We’re grateful.
So while many of these households were actively engaged as parts of the Body, what has been really encouraging over the past 5 years, is to see new Crosspointers step up and step into roles in the Body. To not just take on the mentality of ‘someone else will do that,’ but instead, answering God’s call to use whatever gift they have received to serve others. So new musicians have joined the team, new caregivers have said yes, new teachers have volunteered, etc. Followers of Christ who are not spectating and consuming, but participating and contributing to the health and mission of the Crosspoint Body. So for those who have moved away, I pray you’re actively engaged in a local church family. And for those who currently call Crosspoint home, let’s continue to be people who are active parts of the Body.
The church is on mission
While on one hand it is sad to see Crosspointers move to other locations, there is also something so beautiful and powerful about it. Because in those moments of transition, we’re witnessing followers of Jesus walk and live by faith. They are trusting in the Lord, possibly to a greater degree than they ever would’ve had they stayed or remained. They are launching out into a faith walk, that will deepen their dependence upon the Lord and force them to not lean on their own understanding (which sounds pretty Biblical to me).
We want to be a sending church. Our vision is to be driven to reach people with the Gospel. One aspect of being a sending church is about supporting full-time and short-term missions work, but it is not limited to that. As a church that is seeking to fulfill the Great Commission, it also means that those who call Crosspoint home are sent on mission each week. They are sent into schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes. And it also means that those who the Lord has called to move, are also being sent. No, they don’t receive financial support from us as a church. But they do and should be receiving our continual prayer support and encouragement. Jesus’ call to go and make disciples is to the nations, not just to the neighborhoods around this area. So it is so encouraging to see Crosspointers who have been ‘sent out,’ living on mission in their new context and community. Who are flourishing in their new area of the world, and living out Jesus’ call to love Him supremely, love their neighbor, and go and make disciples.
For those who have moved away, please know that you are loved and missed. That you’ve been prayed for as this blog post has been written. That if we can be of encouragement to you, despite the distance, it would be our honor and joy. And that when you’re back in the area, the door is always open and it would be a blessing to greet you face to face.
For those of us who continue to call Crosspoint home or will join in the future, we must be found faithful to encourage and equip children, students, and adults. We must be about the work of making disciples who are ‘going,’ whether that means locally, nationally, or globally. We must be people who walk and live by faith in our own context and communities, for God’s glory and kingdom.