We believe people change the world. At Cross Church, we value this reality deeply.
Through the years, our fellowship has made sacrifices to forward this belief in our church. For us, it is a non-negotiable that we share passionately and clearly. We value that people change the world so much, we would call it one of our “team colors” of Cross Church.
Sending God-Called Leaders to Change the World
I do not know who said it first, because I have heard it said by many for decades: What is important in your church is not your seating capacity, but your sending capacity. While living and leading in a special region of the country known as Northwest Arkansas, our church has learned the value of sending leaders out from our church to change the world.
I want to focus on the power and influence of sending out God-called leaders from our church to change the world. We see this in Acts 13:2-3 when the church at Antioch sent out Paul and Barnabas. Unquestionably, their influence upon the world in the first century was beyond description, but even to this day, their influence is God-sized.
How Is This Possible Here?
For many years, the DNA of our church has included sending out God-called leaders to change the world. Many have come to Christ through this ministry, were called by God into ministry, and sent from here around the world. Others God calls here for a season, not only to help and minister with us, but to be further equipped in leadership and ministry, then sent from here to change the world. Through the years, some have come here injured emotionally from the challenges of ministry, given a safe place to be refreshed and healed, and in God’s timing, sent out to change the world. Another example began four years ago, when we began the Cross Church School of Ministry to place structure and systems to support what God has done through Cross Church for many years. This one-year residential ministry experience prepares leaders for life, ministry and gospel advancement globally. Yes, we believe people change the world.
4 Unique Illustrations Within the Last Year
Within the last year, we have experienced a unique season, with at least four men from our staff becoming Lead Pastors of dynamic ministries.
Noe Garcia: Lead Pastor, North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix, Arizona. Noe was called here to lead our collegiate ministry. God came down in power and might, using Noe greatly. Many Wednesday night worship services, Noe would preach to 700-1,000 college students. This resulted in him being known nationally as a powerful proclaimer of God’s Word and gifted evangelist. Even though Noe had never served as a pastor, God called him miraculously to the historic North Phoenix Baptist Church.
Dr. Ronnie Parrott: Lead Pastor, Christ Community Church, Huntersville, North Carolina. God used Ronnie to assist Dr. Nick Floyd in launching our campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This ministry exploded in growth and influence. After serving there with Nick for several years, we asked Ronnie to walk alongside of me when I was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, assisting me in many ways. While Ronnie has never served as a lead [astor previously, God began to intervene last summer, moving in Ronnie’s heart to answer the call to be the lead pastor of this North Carolina church that has a huge opportunity in the greater Charlotte area.
Julio Arriola: Church Planter, Guadalajara, Mexico. When Julio joined our team almost six years ago, he had just interviewed with the International Mission Board about answering the call to missions. While his heart was set there, God intervened and called him here. This new citizen of the United States became not just our global worship pastor, but the first Mexican-American elected as music director for both the 2015 and 2016 Southern Baptist Conventions. Over a year ago, Julio told me God was calling him to Mexico to plant a church in his home city that has millions in population, the city of Guadalajara. From interpreting for me while in the Dominican Republic together and watching him lead, I knew he could preach the gospel. Even though he has never served as lead pastor, he left a fabulous opportunity here to proclaim the gospel and become a lead pastor and church planter.
Dr. Jeff Crawford: Senior Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee. This past Sunday, Jeff answered God’s calling to this church as senior pastor. While serving with us for 13 total years, for the past four years Jeff has served as the first president of our Cross Church School of Ministry and teaching pastor. Jeff is a great preacher and God will use him in this very strategic church, not only in Knoxville, but throughout all of Tennessee.
I love these men and their families. They are family not only to Cross Church, but to Jeana and me.
Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider, always meets our needs. He sent us Brian Mills, one of the greatest student pastors and leaders in America, to lead our collegiate ministry when God led Noe away. God called Brad Noblitt here, one of the most dynamic and gifted worship leaders, to lead our worship ministry at Pinnacle Hills and fill the campus position where Julio was called to lead six years ago. Due to Ronnie’s position being unique in his last two years with us, we have not called anyone to fill his slot at this time. Now, the search will be on to fill the fantastic opportunity to be president of our Cross Church School of Ministry. As always, God will provide.
If you are a pastor or a member in a local church, begin to reimagine your future as a church: The influence of your church is not determined only by how many you gather for worship and ministry, but also by who you are sending out to change the world.
At Cross Church, we believe people change the world.
Now Is the Time to Lead,
Ronnie W. Floyd