Archive for November, 2013

Cross Church School of Ministry | Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Jeff CrawfordToday, welcomes guest writer, Dr. Jeff Crawford. Dr. Crawford is the President of Cross Church School of Ministry and a Teaching Pastor at Cross Church. Follow Dr. Jeff Crawford on Twitter.



A year and a half ago, the Cross Church School of Ministry was a vision and a dream between Dr. Ronnie Floyd and me; A vision of training next generation leaders for service in the Kingdom and a dream of what that could look like through Cross Church.

Nine months ago, the Cross Church School of Ministry was born. The vision and dream became reality as I said good-bye to my pastorate in Fort Smith, and joined Dr. Floyd to build a School of Ministry from the ground up.

Two and a half months ago, the Cross Church School of Ministry welcomed its first cohort of students. Eleven men from five states, called of God, seeking to serve the Kingdom in worship ministry, youth ministry, pastoral ministry, church planting, and international missions. A vision and dream come to fruition.

But the story of the Cross Church School of Ministry is not over. In fact, it is still in its infancy. And as we begin our third month with this first class of students and are just two weeks away from traveling with the School of Ministry to Venezuela to train pastors, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on what has been learned and project even further into the future.

What I am learning…

The future is bright. What an incredible joy to know these eleven men that God has sent to us for year one to the Cross Church School of Ministry. Ranging in age from 19 to 34, these men are the future of local church ministry and missions. They are enthusiastic. They love Jesus. They are committed to the Word of God. They understand the Great Commission. And they are hungry to learn. In so many ways, they remind me of myself at another season of life. Nothing is impossible to these men. They’ve not yet been told, “You can’t do it,” and so they are swept along by a God whose ways are higher than our ways and whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

What our church is learning…

Cross Church has always understood the value of investing in future leaders, but the Cross Church School of Ministry is pushing us to new territory and breaking old boundaries. These men are not just learning from us, they are also giving back. Cross Church is stronger as these men pour their raw enthusiasm and boundless energy into our body of believers. Whatever investment we have made into building the Cross Church School of Ministry, it is coming back to us ten fold. We can’t help but feel that we are developing a new model for how men and women called of God prepare for ministry.

What our students are learning…

These men are learning what ministry “in real time” looks like. The speed of the game is fast, the demands are high, the stakes are life and death, and they have a front row seat for the whole thing. Some are learning that they don’t know as much as they thought they knew. Some are learning what a strong work ethic truly looks like. All of them are learning how to walk with Jesus while leading others to do the same. The goal of the Cross Church School of Ministry is to prepare leaders for life, ministry, and Gospel advancement globally.

What all this means for the future…

All of this put together means the future is limitless. In the immediate future, the Cross Church School of Ministry will be traveling to Venezuela on mission. We covet your prayers for our trip November 13-21. After the holidays, we will travel to work with church plants in Portland, Maine, and Seattle, Washington. We are going coast-to-coast…literally. Already, we are preparing for year two, asking God to bring to us whom He wants. Prayerfully, we will have 20 God-called leaders for 2014-15. It is my personal prayer that our second cohort will include women and international leaders. And thinking even further down the road, the possibilities become very exciting. Could we have a second center located in another country? How about auxiliary “classes” for laypersons? Would God allow us to develop a Cross Church Network of leaders (former School of Ministry students and others) who return to Cross Church on an annual basis for fellowship, re-connection, and further training?

I was once told that the word “potential” just means you haven’t done it yet. For all we are doing with the Cross Church School of Ministry, the potential is even greater. But all that means is that we haven’t done it yet. But we will. Our God expects it. Our faith demands it. The Kingdom needs it. And a lost world deserves it.

Dr. Jeff Crawford

President, Cross Church School of Ministry

Teaching Pastor, Cross Church

Follow the Cross Church School of Ministry on Twitter or visit the website.

My Mornings

sunrise_on_green_meadow.jpgMy Mornings are for God
In 1980, at an evening session of the Texas Baptist Evangelism Conference in Dallas, I heard the late and great W.A. Criswell challenge pastors to give their mornings to God. The following Sunday, I stood before the small church I pastored, the First Baptist Church of Milford, Texas, and announced to them my decision to give my mornings completely to God for prayer and study. All these years, I have lived by this firm commitment. So what do I do in this time with God?

My Morning Schedule, Sunday through Thursday
Over the years, on a typical day, my schedule has evolved into me typically getting up at 3:00 a.m. from Sundays through Thursdays. If I am traveling, this schedule is negotiated and, of course, Sunday is a very different kind of day due to responsibilities.

Sunday Mornings
On Saturday nights I usually struggle going to sleep, anticipating the day ahead. My goal is to be in bed with lights off by 10:15 p.m., if possible. My alarm goes off at 3:00 a.m. and I head into the family room, get a cup of strong coffee or green tea, my iPad, (on which I keep my prayer list), my Bible, and my journal. I begin in prayer, moving into the Word, interweaving with prayer, and journaling a prayer to God — which I’ve done daily since January 1, 1990. I am a big believer in having a spiritual journal.

At 4:45 a.m. I jog on my treadmill for an hour, going over my sermon, praying through it, and talking through it aloud. This is where I move to mastering the sermon. After an hour on the treadmill, I call a prayer partner for a few minutes. I have called this man every Sunday morning since 1989, it is a practice I strongly encourage pastors to develop. I then eat a very light breakfast and head for the shower.

By 7:35 a.m. I am on my way to church. After touching base with our leaders for ten minutes, I am in my office for prayer and additional study. By 8:40 a.m. I am on my way to greet church members and guests in an informal setting and by 9:00 a.m. I walk into a prayer room with several men who lay hands on me and pray for me. By 9:10 a.m. I walk into our worship center, greet more people, and begin the worship experience. At the present time, I preach two major services, one at our Springdale campus and another at our Pinnacle Hills campus. After the second service, Jeana and I greet people for at least 20 minutes, we usually leave the campus around 1:00 p.m. I may or may not have a luncheon, but whatever the schedule, I look forward to a brief nap in the afternoon.

Monday Mornings through Thursday Mornings
Again, the alarm goes off at 3:00 a.m. After water goes on my face and I grab coffee or green tea to help me start the day, I head to my home study. The first 90 minutes of my morning are spent in prayer and the Word devotionally. I reference a long prayer list on my iPad, which continually grows and is updated. I always end up in my prayer journal, writing a prayer to God daily.

By 4:45 a.m. I am totally into my sermon preparation. I take this very seriously. For a pastor, there is nothing that is more important than developing your personal walk, followed by preparation to teach and preach the Word of God. From 4:45 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., with the exception of one hour for exercise and personal fitness, I am in study preparation. Sometimes I will respond to emails if it fits into the moment. If not, I wait. By 10:30 a.m. I am in the shower and by 11:30 a.m. I am on my way to a lunch meeting.

Friday and Saturday Mornings
I usually sleep in until 6:00 a.m. on Fridays and 6:30 a.m. on Saturdays. I always begin my day with God for at least an hour to 90 minutes. On Saturday mornings, I move into sermon preparation, mainly working on memorizing the sermon. I finish around 9:00 a.m., which during college football season is just in time for my favorite television program, ESPN’s “College Game Day.”

Take Away for Pastors Today: Give Your Mornings to God!
Giving your morning to God will transform your life and ministry. Nothing, and I repeat nothing, is more important than your own personal spiritual development and walk with God. It will transform your life and ministry. So pastors, devote yourself to a deep study time giving yourself to prayer and the study of God’s Word.

Yours for the Great Commission,

Ronnie W. Floyd