Archive for the 'Mentoring' Category

Guest Post | Standing on the Shoulders of Those Who Have Gone Before, by Brian Dunaway

Brian Dunaway-blogToday, welcomes guest writer, Brian Dunaway. Brian is the Director of Communications and Technology at Cross Church.

When I was much younger, my parents would take my siblings and me on vacations to various destinations. I loved the time we spent going on trips and adding to the list of memories I hold dear today.

One thing that I distinctly remember was the joy I had when we were in a crowd of people and my dad would let me sit atop his shoulders. At the time I didn’t know why I loved that experience, I just knew that I did. Today I realize I loved it because it made me feel big. I could see farther and know more than I could walking among the crowd. I had a confidence that was only possible because I was on the firm foundation that was my father’s shoulders. Up there, I felt like I had achieved what the rest of the crowd could not.

Fast forward to my life now. Grown-up, kids of my own, a job, bills, the whole nine yards. As I progress through life, that experience of my father’s shoulders has come back to me often and taken on a completely different meaning. It has shown me much about life.

As I am blessed with new opportunities, new assignments, greater challenges, and bigger influence, I would be a fool not to realize that nothing I have done, am doing, or will do is of my own actions or abilities. Truly, the only reason I am able to move forward on anything I have done, am doing, or will do is because others have gone before me and paved the way. I am literally standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before. Those who have paid the price. And those who now are beginning to entrust me with what they have built.

I have the unique opportunity to work in the church where I grew up. I was born into the church where I now spend my life doing ministry. I have seen much change and have had the privilege to drink so much of it in. The list of God moments could fill the pages of a novel. This uniqueness begs me to realize. It calls me to ponder. It demands me to remain and respond. What I do, where I am, or where I will go is, and will be nothing without my ability to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before, those who have paid the price, and those who entrust my generation with the task of carrying the torch. My pastor, mentor, and boss, Ronnie Floyd, always reminds his staff to never forget where we came from because it’s the past that reminds us of the future. Another great mentor of mine, Ben Mayes, tells me often that we go forward standing on the shoulders of those before us. If we fail to remember that we stand atop the shoulders of those who have gone before, then we will fail to understand what got us to where we are, and it blurs our understanding of where we are going. We all stand on the shoulders of someone. I stand on the shoulders of my father, and I now raise my children with the lessons he instilled in me. Most of those lessons are great, some need to be adjusted, but the fact remains I can’t forget I stop and listen, realize, and respond.

Brian Blog-pic

I am grateful for men like my father, my pastor, and the men who went before them. Men like Gene Layman, Ted Schneider, Charlie Foster, and Joe Dorman. These are men whose shoulders I stand on. On their shoulders I can see farther, I feel confident, and I know I have the stability to move ahead. Take time to recognize and respond to those whose shoulders you stand on. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t be arrogant and blind to think that where you are in life is because of you. Realize what is good and what might not be so good, and make corrections where needed. But never forget, we all stand on the shoulders of someone else. God has allowed those whose shoulders you stand on to have gone before, and we must not miss the lessons from the past as we strive to move ahead.

Brian Dunaway
Director of Communications and Technology, Cross Church

Twitter-Podcast Blue@briancdunaway

People Change the World

We believe people change the world. At Cross Church, we value this reality deeply.

Through the years, our fellowship has made sacrifices to forward this belief in our church. For us, it is a non-negotiable that we share passionately and clearly. We value that people change the world so much, we would call it one of our “team colors” of Cross Church.

Sending God-Called Leaders to Change the World

I do not know who said it first, because I have heard it said by many for decades: What is important in your church is not your seating capacity, but your sending capacity. While living and leading in a special region of the country known as Northwest Arkansas, our church has learned the value of sending leaders out from our church to change the world.

I want to focus on the power and influence of sending out God-called leaders from our church to change the world. We see this in Acts 13:2-3 when the church at Antioch sent out Paul and Barnabas. Unquestionably, their influence upon the world in the first century was beyond description, but even to this day, their influence is God-sized.

How is This Possible Here?

For many years, the DNA of our church has included sending out God-called leaders to change the world. Many have come to Christ through this ministry, were called by God into ministry, and sent from here around the world. Others God calls here for a season, not only to help and minister with us, but to be further equipped in leadership and ministry, then sent from here to change the world. Through the years, some have come here injured emotionally from the challenges of ministry, given a safe place to be refreshed and healed, and in God’s timing, sent out to change the world. Another example began four years ago, when we began the Cross Church School of Ministry to place structure and systems to support what God has done through Cross Church for many years. This one-year residential ministry experience prepares leaders for life, ministry, and gospel advancement globally. Yes, we believe people change the world.

4 Unique Illustrations Within the Last Year

Within the last year, we have experienced a unique season, with at least four men from our staff becoming Lead Pastors of dynamic ministries.

Noe Garcia: Lead Pastor, North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix, Arizona. Noe was called here to lead our collegiate ministry. God came down in power and might, using Noe greatly. Many Wednesday night worship services, Noe would preach to 700-1,000 college students. This resulted in him being known nationally as a powerful proclaimer of God’s Word and gifted evangelist. Even though Noe had never served as a pastor, God called him miraculously to the historic North Phoenix Baptist Church.

Dr. Ronnie Parrott: Lead Pastor, Christ Community Church, Huntersville, North Carolina. God used Ronnie to assist Dr. Nick Floyd in launching our campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This ministry exploded in growth and influence. After serving there with Nick for several years, we asked Ronnie to walk alongside of me when I was elected President of the Southern Baptist Convention, assisting me in many ways. While Ronnie has never served as a Lead Pastor previously, God began to intervene last summer, moving in Ronnie’s heart to answer the call to be the Lead Pastor of this North Carolina church that has a huge opportunity in the greater Charlotte area.

Julio Arriola: Church Planter, Guadalajara, Mexico. When Julio joined our team almost six years ago, he had just interviewed with the International Mission Board about answering the call to missions. While his heart was set there, God intervened and called him here. This new citizen of the United States became not just our Global Worship Pastor, but the first Mexican-American elected as Music Director for both the 2015 and 2016 Southern Baptist Conventions. Over a year ago, Julio told me God was calling him to Mexico to plant a church in his home city that has millions in population, the city of Guadalajara. From interpreting for me while in the Dominican Republic together and watching him lead, I knew he could preach the gospel. Even though he has never served as Lead Pastor, he left a fabulous opportunity here to proclaim the gospel and become a Lead Pastor and Church Planter.

Dr. Jeff Crawford: Senior Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee. This past Sunday, Jeff answered God’s calling to this church as Senior Pastor. While serving with us for thirteen total years, for the past four years, Jeff has served as the first President of our Cross Church School of Ministry and Teaching Pastor. Jeff is a great preacher and God will use him in this very strategic church, not only in Knoxville, but throughout all of Tennessee.

I love these men and their families. They are family not only to Cross Church, but to Jeana and me.

Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider, always meets our needs. He sent us Brian Mills, one of the greatest Student Pastors and leaders in America, to lead our collegiate ministry when God led Noe away. God called Brad Noblitt here, one of the most dynamic and gifted worship leaders, to lead our Worship Ministry at Pinnacle Hills and fill the campus position where Julio was called to lead six years ago. Due to Ronnie’s position being unique in his last two years with us, we have not called anyone to fill his slot at this time. Now, the search will be on to fill the fantastic opportunity to be President of our Cross Church School of Ministry. As always, God will provide.

Closing Challenge

If you are a pastor or a member in a local church, begin to reimagine your future as a church: The influence of your church is not determined only by how many you gather for worship and ministry, but also by who you are sending out to change the world.

At Cross Church, we believe people change the world.

Now is the Time to Lead,

Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church


Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Cross Church, immediate past President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry.

To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email

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