Archive for the 'School of Ministry' Category

Guest Post | Partnership and Preparation – The Cross Church School of Ministry turns Two by Jeff Crawford

JeffC-blogToday, welcomes guest writer, Dr. Jeff Crawford. Dr. Crawford is the President of Cross Church School of Ministry and a Teaching Pastor at Cross Church. 

I’ve seen a disturbing trend in ministry the last 10 to 15 years.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run across a young man called to ministry, fired up about the Great Commission, but totally uninterested in theological education. The idea of going to seminary just hasn’t crossed his mind. Or of it has, he views it as serving only to slow him down on his path to service in the Kingdom. In more recent years, I’ve even seen this attitude filter down to feelings about even obtaining an undergraduate degree.

I cannot tell you how this breaks my heart. And I get it when it comes to understanding their desire to “get out there” and serve. They have an acute sense that time is running out and thus there is no time to waste. I remember those same thoughts when I graduated from college so many years ago. I remember not being able to stand the thought of another three years of education pursuing an M.Div.  But I did it and am forever glad that I did. In fact, I would even surprise myself to go on and pursue a doctorate.

Education Unlocks Doors

Someone once told me that education is like a key. The more keys you have the more doors you can open. I never wanted to come to a door and not be able to open it.  So I’ve put as many keys on my keychain as possible.

At Cross Church, we have officially entered the arena of ministry preparation. Our Cross Church School of Ministry is now just over two years old. We are actively recruiting out third class of men and women called to ministry. Our goal is simple: To prepare leaders for life, ministry, and Gospel advancement globally. 

A Serious Commitment to Academic Partnerships

God has rewarded our efforts, sending some of the best and brightest next gen leaders to us for a one-year residency in ministry.  From the beginning, we have viewed what we do not as a competition but a compliment to traditional theological preparation.  We have been serious about this commitment.  So serious in fact, that we have worked very hard to establish partnerships with five of our six Southern Baptist Seminaries plus a compliment of colleges and universities; fifteen academic partnerships in all.  I’ve not gone deep on this, but I believe we may be the ONLY ministry training program to have secured this level of partnership with such a variety of institutions.

The reason for such a commitment? We are serious about training for ministry. Not only do we want the privilege of recruiting men and women for the Cross Church School of Ministry from our partner institutions, we fully work to push our graduates back to them for the best in theological education.

Are You Equipped to Unlock Doors?

So here is an observation two years into all of this: Very few of the men and women who have come to us had any intention of pursuing graduate level work in a seminary after finishing our program. But by the end of their year with us, without exception, ALL of them have concrete plans to engage in one of our partner schools. Without exception.

Why? Because we have them for a full year. Because during that year we are able to pour into them the seriousness of the call. And we are able to emphasize the seriousness of good preparation.

Our partner institutions believe in what we are doing so much that they have all granted academic credit toward degree completion just for being with the Cross Church School of Ministry for one year.

I have listed these dynamic partnerships below and you can learn more by visiting our website:

Because we are partnered together, students are able to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. And once they finish their time with us and all of a sudden have as much as 21 hours toward a Master of Divinity… common sense, and a call to put another key on the key ring all of a sudden becomes irresistible.

The result – better prepared men and women serving in the Kingdom. And that’s the point.


Dr. Jeff Crawford

President, Cross Church School of Ministry
Teaching Pastor, Cross Church

The Next Generation of Ministry Preparation | The Cross Church School of Ministry: Year 2


Today, I am co-writing with Dr. Jeff Crawford. Dr. Crawford is the President of Cross Church School of Ministry and a Teaching Pastor at Cross Church.




Cross Church has a long history of raising up young leaders and sending them out for global kingdom impact. Through the years, we have invested in emerging leaders on our staff team, summer internships, and beyond in many ways.

Several years ago, we began to explore the question: What if we became very intentional about what God was doing organically among us? What if we put systems and strategy into raising up and sending out next generation leaders?

On February 1 of 2013, the Cross Church School of Ministry was born. Intense work began over the course of the next six months to develop partnerships with academic institutions, write curriculum, orient our ministry staff, renovate physical space, and in short, build the foundation for the mission of the Cross Church School of Ministry – A One Year Residential Experience preparing leaders for life, ministry, and Gospel advancement globally.

In August of 2013, God gave us ten young men. Ten God-called, next generation leaders. They came on faith. Lived and worked among our staff team, exposed to the highest levels of ministry practice. They traveled the world with us logging thousands of miles on two North American mission trips and one international mission experience. We poured the best of Cross Church into them and then…we sent them out.

This August, the process began all over again. This year, God has once again brought to us His called servants; An amazing collection of 18 emerging leaders. As word of the unique experience of the Cross Church School of Ministry has spread far and wide, so the diversity of our second class has expanded.

We have single adults and married folks with us. Ages range from 19 to 45 years of life. Some have only a high school diploma and some a masters degree from seminary. They come from five states and for the first time, two foreign countries – Iran and Spain. And we are thrilled for the first time to have with us three women that God has laid His hand upon. To say that we are thrilled with this second class of School of Ministry students is a gross understatement. The potential for the future and the Kingdom of God is tremendous.

As you look below at the individuals that make up this collection of next generation leaders, notice the variety of ministry tracking they have chosen to study and practice with us. Notice the sheer diversity. And ask yourself this question: Is God calling me to join the next class of the Cross Church School of Ministry?

We are recruiting now. You can apply online today. Has God called you to join us? I hope so!

Ronnie W. Floyd                                                  Dr. Jeff Crawford

Senior Pastor, Cross Church                                  President, Cross Church School of Ministry
President, Southern Baptist Convention                  Teaching Pastor, Cross Church


Justin and Moriah Benson

Fort Worth, Texas
Pastoral Ministry



Colby Blair

Neosho, Missouri
Worship Ministry



Cade Colburn

Checotah, Oklahoma
Student Ministry



Rachelle Crowder

Van Buren, Arkansas
Children’s Ministry



Rickey Crowder

Van Buren, Arkansas
Media Ministry



Pablo and Florencia Daut

Hispanic Ministry



Steve and Michelle Farris

Keller, Texas
Church Planting



Brian and Leslie Hellard

Knoxville, Tennessee
Discipleship Ministry



Jake and Kara Hilburn

Harrison, Arkansas
Church Planting



Micah Lynn

Corpus Christi, Texas
Student Ministry



Raimon Najjarian

Iran via Berkley, California
Church Planting



Kane and Rachel Powell

Inola, Oklahoma
Student Ministry



Rosalva Rodriguez

Dardanelle, Arkansas
Women’s Ministry



Jeremy Smith

Crowley, Texas
Worship Ministry



Brandon and Heather Stokes

Fort Smith, Arkansas
Church Planting



Andy and Amy Wade

Heber Springs, Arkansas
Missions and Counseling Ministry



Scott Ward

Noble, Oklahoma
Pastoral Ministry



Darien Williams

Fort Smith, Arkansas