The Crossing’s Sixth Core Value

In April of 2000, two months before we held our first worship service at The Crossing, Keith and I wrote out our Six Core Values that would shape who we are and how we would do ministry as a new church.

And those who are part of The Crossing will see that the same Six Core Values we wrote out eleven years ago still shape our approach to ministry today.

I’ve previously discussed our Mission Statement and our First and Second and Third and Fourth and Fifth Core Values in previous blogs.

Today I want to discuss our Sixth Core Value, which in all candor has perhaps been our most difficult value actually to carry out as a church.

This is the paragraph Keith and I wrote eleven years ago:

Core Value #6—Transformational Community

God created us to live in community. Our passion is to be a loving, magnetic, and transformational church community. This means much more than just being a church made up of friendly people. It means being a community bound together by real and authentic friendships. Many important things happen when we commit ourselves to a real and loving community. It is the context in which we grow spiritually, minister most effectively, and become truly attractive to outsiders. It brings us joy, synergy, and a blending of giftedness that we cannot experience merely as a collection of individuals. Real and loving community always requires a real commitment. That’s why it’s important that we distinguish between “newcomers” and “members.” While we seek to welcome newcomers without asking for any commitments on their part, we also believe that growing in a church body is a process of growing in commitment—both of the individual to the church body and the church body to the individual. Commitment is something our culture has seriously devalued in recent times, and this is manifested in the apathy in many churches today regarding the issue of membership. Contrary to this trend, we value the role meaningful membership provides in developing a loving, magnetic, and transformational church community.

That’s a long paragraph, but each sentence is important to what we’ve always strived to be:

  • A loving, magnetic, transformational church community.
  • Authentic friendships.
  • Magnetic to outsiders.
  • Something far more than merely a collection of individuals sitting together.

God created us to live in community. That’s the “one-another” Christian life the New Testament talks about more than fifty times in its pages. And you cannot really live the Christian life apart from it. Not really.

But there is a kind of catch-22 in all this, because the more a church really is a loving, magnetic, transformational community, the larger the church will become. And then the larger the church becomes, the greater the challenges of new comers being able to build authentic friendships and connection within the church. That’s why most churches reach the size of about 100-300 people and then plateau.

The Crossing is now about 2,500 people (including kids), give or take a few hundred depending upon the Sunday. Every Sunday we have around 200 more people in attendance than we had that Sunday a year ago. And the last thing we want is for new people to come to The Crossing and sit in an auditorium chair and call that “church.” A church is a transformational community. They must connect relationally or they are not really in “church” yet.

The earliest New Testament church was a local church in Jerusalem of thousands of people and growing.

We read in Acts 2:41 TNIV

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

Then later we read in Acts 4:4 TNIV

“…Many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.”

And then later in Acts 5:14 TNIV

“…More and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.”

Still later, in Acts 6:7 TNIV

“So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly…”

This is a local church that was well over 5,000 people. And God was the one adding the people. More and more. Thousands, all in one local church—a large local church that the Holy Spirit built by the word of God. So if the earliest church that we see in the New Testament was well over 5,000 people by the will and work and word of God, we quickly learn that the large, multi-thousand person church is not a modern American deformity at all. It’s a good thing. It’s something that the Holy Spirit does when he so chooses. And, at least at this point, he has chosen to do so in Columbia at The Crossing (among other churches).

But what’s absolutely vital is that The Crossing function as a biblical church community. And we read how important that was in the earliest church in Acts.

Acts 2:41, 46–47 TNIV

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. …Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

They made a large church “small” to them by investing in smaller community within the church. Small groups of various sorts are the means by which a large church becomes smaller to each member, creating personal connections and authentic friendships and transformational spiritual growth in our lives. Joining a men’s study group or a women’s study group is another good way. Serving on Sunday’s on a team is another way to do some of this as well. All ways that make a large foyer full of hundreds of people suddenly shrink down to a smaller number of people you’re in connected community with.

[Update: You can read my next blog on Why Are We Named The Crossing?]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>