It was late 2006 and we were deep into the preparations for Crossings Community to have its first public worship gathering. I was incredibly hungry for any biblical wisdom I could find that would speak to this incredible journey that I saw in front of us. I had followed the ministry of Acts 29 for some time and had chosen to begin the process of affiliating with their network of churches.
I found in them a tribe of passionate bible preaching church planters that desperately sought after the glory of God through church multiplication. Our belief in the scriptures and our belief regarding how that must impact life aligned perfectly.
The process to affiliate was long and very involved. There was an extremely detailed written process which dove deep into complex theological beliefs, pastoral philosophy, and personal history. I remember it being a bit overwhelming. After the paper work was complete and acceptable there was a phone interview. Once all of that was completed and approved there was an invitation extended for Lori and I to attend an in-person interview and assessment.
At that point in Acts 29’s short history the only option was for Lori and I to fly to Seattle (their home base at the time) to complete this process. Due to Lori being over 8 months pregnant when this meeting was scheduled, we discovered that we would not be able to make the flight. At that point we were fully engaged and CONSUMED with the early phases of planting Crossings. That reality didn’t change…
Fast forward 10 years and I found myself reflecting on this journey as I was planning this past July. I came to a couple realizations. The first realization was that I felt incredibly isolated in pastoral ministry. I felt God’s strong encouragement to engage in a network of relationships with others who had been called and had journeyed through ministry with similar passions, desires, and stories.
Also, as Crossings moves into a new season of planting our first church out of our own body, I realized that we needed to have other pastors and ministry leaders to look to who were committed to doing the same. I knew I had learned a lot of lessons from planting that I could share with others on the journey, and that there must be other churches that are multiplying churches which have also learned lessons that they would love to share.
After using the resources of Acts 29 for 10 years to encourage and bless myself as well as our eldership, God brought me back to that process I had started but left unfinished many years back. Over the past several months we have repeated that process of long and detailed writing around theological convictions, ministry philosophy, and personal spiritual health and found ourselves back to that face-to-face interview to finish the journey. Lori and I spent some time with a few other incredible pastors for a few hours one evening and Crossings was joyfully welcomed into the Acts 29 Network.
Your next question, I’m sure, goes something like this: “That all sounds great but what does that mean for us at Crossings?” To ease any possible fears, I will quickly say it does not mean we change anything about who we are or what we are pursuing. Rather, it provides for us a team of churches who love and live for the same things that we do at Crossings and, therefore, a group to pursue our vision with together. That said, I want to give you a little better answer than just that… I want to celebrate with you the blessing that it will be for us… but in the next post. Keep an eye out for Part 2 where I will answer your question a bit more thoroughly.