Archive for the 'Guest Post' Category

Guest Post | 10 Reminders for Every Pastor, by Jeff Crawford

Jeff Crawford-podcastToday, welcomes guest writer, Dr. Jeff Crawford. Dr. Crawford is Lead Pastor of Ministries and Teaching Pastor at Cross Church.

Three weeks ago, I had the privilege to serve on the ordination council of four young men here at Cross Church that we were considering for Ordination to the Ministry.  The council was the culmination of a long process. All four men had clear testimonies of salvation and a later call of God on their lives to the ministry. All four had been previously Licensed to the Ministry by either our church or another church. And all four had been under the supervision and watch care of our staff for a season as we considered their readiness for ordination.

And so, in a meeting room of Cross Church, along with seven fellow pastors, we spent two hours with this group of four going deep, deep, deep, into their readiness for ministry, their commitment to their calling, their theological anchoring to orthodoxy, and much more. I am happy to report that all four were unanimously recommended for ordination by the council and all four will be formally ordained this Sunday morning on the Cross Church campus where they serve.

The whole experience for me was a real throwback to my own ordination council, now over 20 years ago. It really took me back to the roots of my own calling and all the reasons why I do everything I do on a day-in and day-out basis. Ministry is hard. Ministry is wonderful. Ministry will take all you have and then some. And ministry will add more to the life of a pastor than could ever be counted. But one thing is certain… in order to survive and thrive in ministry, you must be called. And that is the purpose of the ordination council, to discern the true calling and readiness of the candidate.

With that said, allow me to steer your thoughts today, pastor, back to the moment of your own calling and ordination. As the years progress, it is easy to drift. Not necessarily morally or ethically, but drift by way of why you are doing what you do. And in that vein, allow me to share some of those most basic of basics that I shared with our candidates three weeks ago, that I once again reminded myself of, and of which we all need to never drift.

  • Keep your focus on Jesus.  Don’t become so focused on ministry that you forget who it’s all about.
  • Love the Church.  The Church is people, and this can be hard to do at times, but loving people is the essence of ministry.
  • Uphold the Bible as God’s inerrant, infallible Word. Study it, learn to preach it / teach it. It is amazing that some of those who carry the title today of “clergy” deny the truth of God’s Word. The Bible IS the standard of all Truth and this can never be forgotten.
  • Get the best preparation you can (education). Degrees are like keys on a key chain – the more you have, the more doors you can open. God forbid that there be some door you want to walk through one day but don’t have the key to open. At this point your ability to minister and lead is limited.
  • Be a lifelong learner. Read, read, read. NEVER believe that you’ve learned it all.
  • Marry a woman called to be the wife of a pastor. Who a pastor marries will determine the level of ministry effectiveness he will have. Yes, God calls women to be pastor’s wives just as He calls pastors. For those already married, lead and cultivate health with your wife as a pastor’s wife. Just as it can be lonely for the pastor, it can be lonely for the pastor’s wife. You are in it together.
  • Be sensitive to other people. Sensitive of the previous generation(s) and the next generation. This balance is extremely difficult, but necessary.
  • Be willing to go anywhere God wants you to go. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,” Psalm 24:1. Don’t limit God.
  • Be willing to do anything God wants you to do. Count on it – God will call you to do things that you believe are too big for you. And God will call you to do things you believe you are too small for you.
  • Teach your children to love Jesus and love the Church. Family first, ministry second. Don’t let your children hate God and the Church because they stole Daddy from them. Remember, if you lose your family, you will lose your ministry.

Remember your calling, pastor. Remember those who believed in you when you were ordained. And remember the God who equips you for every good work.

In the words of the steward of this blog, now is the time lead.

Jeff Crawford
Lead Pastor of Ministries, Teaching Pastor, Cross Church

Guest Post | I’m Tired of Caring for Miles, by Jackie Harmon

12239189_10208506616486861_394631724372216671_oToday, welcomes guest writer, Jackie Harmon. Jackie is a mom to two boys, Alex and Miles, and a Cross Church Ministry Staff wife. Jackie and her husband Keith minister to young adults at our Springdale campus. You can learn more about Jackie on her blog.  


“I’m tired of caring for Miles.”

I actually spoke those words out loud to our Small Group.  Keith and I have the privilege of teaching a group of Young Married couples every Sunday morning and we knew God wanted us to share with them what was going on in our lives – and I didn’t want to.  Sharing our life and struggles with them is usually easy for us, but we are tired and our lives feel extra messy.  I don’t mind sharing my messy life with people, but I prefer to do it after God works.  After God restores.  After God redeems.  But God was asking us to share our hearts in the midst of being weary and that just felt like a big ask.

“Eight years.”

These two words have been running through my head all month.  We just celebrated Miles’ 8th birthday and his birthdays always throw me into a funk.  I celebrate knowing someone is remembering.  I celebrate a physical age, but developmentally, emotionally, and mentally, we are nowhere near that number.  And it’s just hard.  Every year that goes by, I find myself grieving where I thought we’d be.  I read posts from years past and realize we haven’t come as far as I thought we had or hoped we would.  But this year, it seemed heavier.  I couldn’t help but wonder if I can do this for eight more years?  And then eight more?  And eight more after that?

“We’re caregivers.”

12304197_10208506620886971_3860889778468614879_oKeith spoke those words to me as I stood in the ocean washing sand off of me.  I had just finished playing in the sand with our friends’ children and I told Keith I forgot how fun it is to play with kids that can play back.  Playing with Miles is work.  Keeping Miles safe is work.  Keeping others safe from Miles is work.  And because he has no self-care skills and is not potty trained, caring for his physical needs is a lot of work.  The role of caregiver can be exhausting.  And lonely.

“Let us not grow weary of doing good…”

God has been speaking these words over me the last month.  He has been whispering them to my heart because He knows I am tired.  And weary.  He has been reminding me that “…in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”  But that is so hard when you are walking through something that could last the rest of your life on this earth.

“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh…”

God is using this verse found in Galatians 5 to bring clarity to my weariness.  When I say I am tired of caring for Miles, what I actually mean is I am tired of what caring for Miles requires of me.  It requires a daily dying to self.  A daily crucifying of flesh.  A daily decision to lay my life down so Jesus can shine.  Crucifixion was a slow and painful way to die.  So when we are told to be crucified with Christ, when we are told to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, we need to be prepared for that death to be slow and painful.

“I never want to be the me before Miles.”

Those words are just as true today as the day I first spoke them.  Caring for Miles is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it is the greatest privilege of my life.  Nothing has ever challenged me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and Eternity more than the gift of Miles who has the gift of Autism.

“So, how are you doing?”

I wish I could sit with you over a cup of coffee and ask you that question.  I wonder today what has you feeling tired and weary?  What has you feeling defeated?  What “gift” has God given you that feels too big and too heavy?  Don’t give up.  Don’t give in.  Don’t lose heart.  Keep your eyes and heart fixed on Jesus.

“Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Eternal, the Everlasting God, the Creator of the whole world never gets weary or tired. His wisdom is beyond understanding. God strengthens the weary. Even young people get tired, then stumble and fall. But those who trust in the Lord will regain their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles. They will run – never winded, never weary. They will walk – never tired, never faint.”

{Isaiah 40:28-31}