Five Challenges for 2015/2016

Sunday was an important day for our church. Once a year I speak to the vision of our church (both NRHBC and Cross Church). It is a day I set aside to challenge our church around five areas of future growth moving forward in the remainder of this year and much of next.

Below is a quick recap of the five challenges. I have also included video portion where I speak to our church. If you care for our church, please join me in praying and rally together toward these five challenges.

1. Increase the Number of Bible Study (SMBS) Groups. We currently offer 36 adult SMBS groups at NRHBC and 5 small groups at Cross Church. In the next four years, we want to offer 45 groups at NRHBC. Sunday Morning Bible Studies is the lifeblood of our church. This is where we care for people and it is where we study God’s Word in depth. I cannot underestimate the importance of these groups to the life of our church. They are critical and God does so much good through this one aspect of ministry. In fact, if you are not in one of these groups, you are missing out on an area of growth and relationships.

To get to our goal, we need competent godly people to step up and start new groups. It takes real work to call, teach, and care for adults. However, leading also brings a great deal of joy. Seeing others grow in Christ and “get it” spiritually is extremely powerful. Pray that God allows us to move to our desired number.

2. Send 30% of of NRHBC and Cross Church on a Mission Trip by 2018. During a short term mission trip, we mobilize Bible-believing people for a short period of time, from a matter of days to a few weeks. The impact of how God works through these important times is incalculable. When you go on a short-term trip, you grow exponentially, but you also impact the people where you are ministering. Whether you are clearing debris after a disaster or sharing Bibles in a major metropolis around the globe, short-term missions puts you in touch with career missionaries and causes your hearts to beat with the love and compassion of God Himself (Romans 10:1).

To get to our goal, we need 450 people to step up on a mission trip in the next three years. We have trips planned to Colorado Springs, Colorado, Vancouver, British Columbia, and SE Asia. More trips are planned continually and you simply need to reach out to our missions pastor for more information on how you can be involved.

3. Join together for a Week of Prayer on November 8-15 and for 24 Hours of Fasting on November 14-15. In a recent New York Times article entitled “Googling for God,” we witness some of what happens behind closed doors when Americans are alone with their computers.

“It has been a bad decade for God, at least so far. Despite the rising popularity of Pope Francis, who was elected in 2013, Google searches for churches are 15 percent lower in the first half of this decade than they were during the last half of the previous one. Searches questioning God’s existence are up. Many behaviors that he supposedly abhors have skyrocketed. Porn searches are up 83 percent. For heroin, it’s 32 percent… The top Google search including the word “God” is “God of War,” a video game, with more than 700,000 searches per year. The No. 1 search that includes “how to” and “Walmart” is “how to steal from Walmart,” beating all questions related to coupons, price-matching or applying for a job.”

Many of us feel the moral and spiritual fabric of our nation slipping away. The commitment to Christ and His church has slowly eroded. Apathy for spiritual things has moved to antagonism for people, for the Bible, and those who believe. Turning this around is beyond any one person and any one congregation. We need God to move in and change the tide. We need to recognize our inadequacy and plead with God to change our churches, our lives, and our nations. We need a spiritual awakening.

We are setting aside one week to ask God to bless our missionaries and to advance the gospel around the world, November 8-15. And we are calling for a church-wide 24 fast beginning Saturday at 7 p.m. through Sunday at 7 p.m. Your fasting should be a sacrifice on your part and it can include food, drink, social media, television, or video games. This 24 hours is set aside to plead with God to impact our church and our nation.

4. Finish Paying for the Land for the Future Home of Cross Church. Our church purchased approximately 27 acres in 2013 in order to begin Cross Church, our church’s second campus. God has blessed our work in a remarkable way over the past 18 months as our second campus has meet in a nearby school. Yet, our longterm goal is to secure the land as a future home and erect a building. We need a permanent home for many reasons but here is one of our biggest needs: a permanent home allows us to meet together anytime of the week rather than only Sunday mornings. A permanent home allows us to better serve North Fort Worth as community center hub.

To complete the purchase of the land, we have set aside Sunday, November 15 as a Big Offering Day. Our one day goal is $325,000. Join me in praying and giving sacrificially on this day.

5. Commit to Share the Gospel on Thursday, October 15. Let’s join with hundreds of churches across the United States in prayerfully committing to intentionally engage in a gospel conversation on this Thursday. Take time to share your commitment with friends and ask them to join. You may want to use gospel presentations such as 3 Circles or The Story. Begin praying right now for someone that needs to hear about God’s love through the cross of Christ. Again, I am calling on everyone of us to share our faith on this one day.

Thank you for taking time to read this and watch this video. Please consider sharing these five challenges with a friend, co-worker, or family member as a way to stir them to great faithfulness in Christ.

Related Post: For the Five Convictions that Direct our Church, go here.

For the full video of Sunday’s Vision Recast Sermon, go here.

An Update on Cross Church

In the spring of 2013, our church purchased nearly 27 acres as a permanent and future home for Cross Church, a satellite campus of North Richland Hills Baptist Church. The initial cost was $3 million and we have been striving toward our goal of owning the land, debt-free, by May 2016. The good news is that we are presently on target to achieve this.

In our timeline, our next “big offering” date is November 15, 2015. As we continue to give weekly, monthly, and on our designated “big offering” days, we are preparing for the day when Cross Church has a permanent place it can call home.

You should know that a master-planning committee has recently been formed. It is comprised of members from both of our campuses. This group of men and women are praying and thinking about long-term and short-term plans to use all the land for future ministry. We are considering practical questions about future facility needs, structure, layout, building usage and the like. More than anything, we want to be obedient to God’s will in order to bless North Fort Worth and the Haslet communities.

As we go forward, I want to keep these three things in front of us:
1) We are moving forward with a plan to accomplish the Great Commission. We do not want
to sit idly by.

2) Join us in frontline praying. Pray constantly that we seek first Christ’s kingdom (Matthew

3) Give consistently. We can move forward on these plans as quickly as funding allows.

Thank you for your part in not only helping Cross Church into a permanent fixture in North Fort Worth, but for you partnering with us to reach the surrounding communities and the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You are an important part of the plan. Your service to
His church and your community are where “the rubber meets the road.”

Cross Church: An Important Step Forward

This week, our church signed the papers to acquire the future site for Cross Church. Once the sale is finalized, these 26.7 acres located right along the frontage road of Highway 287 will eventually serve as the permanent home for NRHBC’s satellite campus. We are thrilled to have secured this spot, as so many individuals traveling along this busy highway will have easy access to our future church.

For those who are new to our church family, earlier in February, we provided a quick review of how NRHBC made the decision to start the second site. I encourage you to take time to read this short piece. By God’s grace, we were able to pay $1 million down toward the total land price of $3 million. Until we are ready for construction, we will be leasing the land for agricultural purposes, allowing us to maintain favorable tax rates with Tarrant County.

We are just six weeks away from the launch of Cross Church at Schluter Elementary, so permit me to explain where we go from here.

BetterTogether_mapIt is our aim to completely pay off the land along Highway 287 by February 14, 2016. While our loan is for four years, it is our aim to pay the remaining balance of $2 million in just two years. Let me say that again … our goal is to completely pay the remaining $2 million in just two years. While we have a favorable interest rate (5%), we want to own the land free and clear as soon as possible.

Once we own the land debt-free, we will be able to move forward with constructing a permanent building on the property, ultimately eliminating the need to setup and teardown equipment each week in the satellite location’s temporary meeting place (Schluter Elementary). This property along Highway 287 will give us a firm base to reach North Fort Worth for many years to come.

In order to accomplish this goal, we will continue our Better Together initiative. Any monies received for Better Together in 2014 are distributed to three areas:

To pay for the land mentioned above;

  1. To provide for the expenses (salaries and ministries) of Cross Church for its first year;
  2. To benefit local, national, and international missions efforts (i.e., church planting in Vancouver, mission opportunities in China, the T & D people in SE Asia, India, and beyond). For example, $300,000 of Better Together funds were given to other ministries and mission opportunities in first year alone. Much of this money was given through the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. We are excited to partner with these Southern Baptist mission entities.

Here is how you can be a part of this:

1. Continually pray for God’s hand upon this endeavor. By clicking on the link provided, you can learn about specific ways you can pray for this work.

2.  Volunteer to serve in the ministries of NRHBC and Cross Church. Currently, this is our biggest need. We have devoted a great deal of attention to numerous ministry needs over the past two Sundays and I hope you will take time to consider this.

Many of our Sunday Morning Bible Study groups are volunteering to setup and teardown the equipment on a rotating basis.

3. Your regular gifts to Better Together will reduce our interest payments and the overall cost of the land. While our next big offering day isn’t until November, by giving weekly and monthly, your gifts will be placed toward the principal affording us the opportunity to eliminate potential interest dollars.

There are many ways you can give, including online, by mail, or in person. I encourage you to also remember us in your estate planning as our church has established foundation accounts to receive gifts.

Thank you for sharing in this opportunity to spread God’s love toward people who have yet to give their lives to Christ! We must work diligently to make God’s glory and His gospel know to this generation (John 9:4).