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).

 

Guest Blog: Cross Church – A Brief History of How We Got Here

MarkToday I am posting something rare — a guest post. This article was written by Mark Spence.

North Richland Hills Baptist Church’s satellite campus, Cross Church, is a mere eight weeks from her preview service on April 6. While there is still much work left to do, there are many blessings to be thankful for as we look toward April 6 with great excitement. As this time approaches, I thought it would be helpful to remember where we have been with an account of the genesis of Cross Church.

While the plans for a satellite campus were presented to North Richland Hills Baptist Church in May 2012, conversations started several months before. In the fall of that year, pastors Scott Maze and Danny Roberts formed a team to explore long-term growth options for NRHBC to effectively reach our community and world for Christ. The Great Commission Council (GCC) was formed and comprised of twelve members from the church. The Great Commission Council included young and old, long-time members and relatively new ones; all were leaders in some form or fashion at NRHBC. The GCC started to meet in January of 2013 and met seven times over the course of the following three months.

Conversations centered on NRHBC starting some type of new work. New works tend to be much more successful than existing churches in reaching communities with the gospel. As the meetings continued, the council felt led to start a satellite campus.

You might wonder, why a satellite? Ed Stetzer, church planter and President of LifeWay research, offers this insight on the benefits of a satellite campus:

“Multisite churches:

  • Reach more people than single site churches.
  • Tend to spread healthy churches to more diverse communities.
  • Have more volunteers in service as a percentage than single site churches.
  • Baptize more people than single site.
  • Tend to activate people into ministry more than single site.”[1]

In February of 2013, Pastor Scott asked if I would be interested in leading the satellite campus as campus pastor. I was deeply humbled and honored by this request. After praying, consulting mentors, colleagues, family and friends, my wife Janet and I felt led of God to accept.

The next decision that needed to be discussed was the location of the satellite campus. Mark Wood, NRHBC and Great Commission Council member, proved to be invaluable in this endeavor as co-founder of the real estate brokerage firm of Howe/Wood.  (If you live in the mid-cities, you’ve seen Howe/Wood real estate signs throughout the area.)

The Great Commission Council and the pastoral staff viewed a couple options in March and after much prayer and conversation decided that the location in northwest Fort Worth provided the best opportunity and the greatest need of a gospel. The 26.7 acres off Highway 287 was smack-dab in the center of an area that is and will continue to experience explosive growth of new homes and new residents. Here is a video of our church family prayer-walking this property.

To give a picture of growth in this area, the number of people living within a five-mile radius is expected to have grown from 26,000 residents in 1990 to a projected 187,500 residents in 2017. In addition, the Northwest Independent School District is expecting to have approximately 80,000 students by 2020 which will make it larger than Birdville Independent School District’s 24,000 current students. In short, the population of this area is booming and will continue to do so.

What is not booming in that area, at least not yet, is the presence of churches. The need for churches in northwest Fort Worth is strong, and NRHBC is taking a significant step by starting a satellite campus and confirming our commitment to this area by buying land.

Once the plans began to take shape, each of the pertinent committees within our church’s structure were presented the plans, as well as our deacon body. This included meeting with the personnel committee, the finance committee, and the deacon officers. Each meeting included lively discussion, excellent questions and a great deal of excitement. We are blessed that our committees don’t just “rubber stamp” the pastor’s decisions but offer fantastic leadership to ensure that our church is fulfilling God’s mission for our future.

NRHBC_BetterTogetherPastor Scott then presented Better Together, the plans for the satellite campus, to the church on Vision Sunday, May 5, 2013. Several information meetings followed as Pastor Scott, Danny, Jerry Stamps and I presented the Great Commission Council’s plans to the senior adults, single adults, young adults, median adults, and so on of NRHBC.

The night of June 2, NRHBC voted on Better Together. Amazingly, it passed with 95% of the vote in favor. The following Sunday, $326,000 was given demonstrating that NRHBC voted in favor on both their ballots and with their pocketbooks.

The following months were spent in planning and preparation. My job transitioned in August as full-time I became the Campus Pastor rather than the minister of “slash” (missions/evangelism/discipleship/couples/Scott’s laundry-picker-upper).

In the fall, select staff members started to meet weekly to discuss the logistics and launch. Several schools were visited as potential sites, including Schluter Elementary School which was selected as the initial site for the satellite campus. Josh Strother was called as the Worship Pastor and Sally Cope as the Children’s Minister. Church on Wheels was hired to provide the system and equipment that will eventually transform Schluter Elementary’s gym and cafeteria into worship space and children’s ministry space on weekly basis.

Starting in October, members of NRHBC were encouraged to sign up for the launch team. I individually met with the vast majority of those who signed up.

November was marked by another focused-giving Sunday, as over 500 different family units (singles, couples, kids, etc) gave $366,500 to Better Together. The end of the year total was well over $1 million.

Starting in January, the satellite campus launch team began to meet together weekly. Sally and Josh officially started on staff and the name, “Cross Church” was decided upon and announced.

What’s Next

In the coming days and weeks, we need everyone at NRHBC to pray, give and go in order for Cross Church to be successful.

Pray for the launch of this exciting new work. Pray for God to bless it and for many in the community to come to faith and to come to church.

Give of your resources as we have a focused-giving Sunday, this Sunday, February 9. Give regularly as this is a major investment that NRHBC is making in the gospel – both in this local missions endeavor and as Better Together money funds our other international and national mission endeavors.

Go with Cross Church. We still need people willing to be a part of this gospel-driven endeavor. Go by helping Cross Church canvass the community on March 29 and serve as a volunteer at the Cross Church Eggstravaganza on April 12 at the satellite location.

NRHBC is Better Together. We are aiming to be one church in two locations. This is all for the glory of God and in response to the gospel mission He has given to each and every Christian. Pray. Give. Go.

 


[1] The term, “Multisite churches” refers to a church that has one or more campuses, or sites.  You can read more of Ed Stetzer’s article by clicking on this link.

Praying for Sunday February 9

Pray Big Feb. 9th from NRH Baptist Church on Vimeo.

The Bible gives us tremendous encouragement to pray. Prayer is a time when you are able to personally communicate with the God of heaven and earth. In the pages of the biblical story, we are told one story on top of another of God taking action because people prayed. Moses prayed for the nation of Israel and God spared them despite their desire to worship a golden calf (Exodus 32-33). The prayers of Moses also persuaded God to stop fire from heaven that resulted in death for many (Numbers 11:1-3). Later, when Israel was at war with the Philistines, the prophet Samuel successfully prayed so the Israelites would succeed against their enemies (1 Samuel 7:1-14). On yet another occasion, we learn of an unnamed man who prayed for the king of Israel’s hand to be restored, and his hand was healed (1 Kings 13:1-6). Jonah prayed while in the belly of a big fish and he lived to share God’s compassion to the people of Nineveh (Jonah 2:1-10). All of these stories are included in the pages of the Bible to encourage us to pray. Indeed, James 4:2 tells us, “… You do not have, because you do not ask.”

On Sunday, February 9, North Richland Hills Baptist Church will feature our third and final offering to complete the first year of Better Together. Because of the special importance of this day, I want to suggest five ways our church family can pray together. Take time to read and reread these avenues of prayer in the coming days.

1. Pray that Christ is honored in how our church handles its business. The church of Jesus Christ has its critics and some people want to see the church fail. Knowing this, our church seeks to handle our finances with tremendous integrity and transparency. The Bible commands that pastors be people who are not greedy for money, but are eager to serve God first and others second (1 Timothy 3:3; 1 Peter 5:2). Pray with me that every transaction connected to Cross Church is done with tremendous integrity.

2. Pray for additional people to form the launch team. We have just enough people to cover the areas of responsibility needed to launch Cross Church. Yet, we need more people to assist with set up and tear down of the equipment when services begin in April at Schluter Elementary School. Join me in praying for more people to serve (Matthew 9:38).

3. Pray that our church family would be generous. While many people think successful fundraising campaigns happen because of great leadership or the excitement of the people, the reality is simple: God ultimately causes His people to give (1 Chronicles 29:6-20). When David collected an offering for the purpose of building the Temple, approximately one thousand years before Christ, David recognized that all human giving is from the hand of God (1 Chronicles 29:16).

Pray that followers of Christ everywhere would use money as a tool for the greater purposes of the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Since how we handle our money is an index of our spiritual lives, pray we would give freely with the same generosity that has been given to us (Matthew 10:8). Pray with me that no one would be prevented from coming into God’s Kingdom because of our refusal to give to reach the world for Christ.

4. As you pray, remember we are involved in spiritual warfare. The Bible is clear that Satan has a territory and he is locked in conflict with God Himself. Evangelism is God’s strategy to reduce Satan’s territory by seeing people come into the light and out of the darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Our church has made efforts to start our fourth worship service (the Spanish speaking service that began in early 2013) and now a fifth worship service (Cross Church beginning in April, 2014). Both of these services reach into the darkness of Satan’s territory with the light of the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). If Satan is smart (and he is), he will not take these efforts without resistance; he will come after believers in an effort to retaliate (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, we must remain vigilant in the fight against Satan (Ephesians 6:18).

5. Pray for resolve. I first asked our church to pray for resolve back in June of 2013, and I repeat that prayer request here. Pray that God would make us steadfast through the entire process of Better Together (2 Thessalonians 1:11). Pray we would not lose heart after starting the second site on April 20, 2014. Pray for the 150 or more people who set up and tear down all the necessary pieces in the rented facility. Pray that God would bring encouragement to our hearts. Pray that we would not become weary in well-doing.

Thank you in advance for praying for this Sunday.