Will Crossroads ever have a new facility? If so, when?
The question is often asked by those who prefer a little more “church-like” building than a converted shopping center. We believe our multi-purpose facility is an asset in fulfilling our vision of reaching people who did not grow up in church. We frequently hear from people who do not have a relationship with Christ that coming into the Crossroads facilities was easier than walking into a traditional church building. In 2006, as Crossroads was beginning to experience some significant growth and needed to take a look at future facilities needs, the congregation made an important decision. We decided we would expand by adding services to our schedule. We believe by adding services, we can continue to stay in our current location for many years. This obviously makes more money available for ministry than if we were paying for a new building.
Does this mean we will never build a new facility?
No. But it does mean that we have determined that we will focus on building the people who make up Crossroads Church, instead of making our focus raising money for bricks and mortar. We can form many gatherings of 200 people in worship services and multiple meeting places at a much lower cost than building a facility to hold us all at once in one service. As the church grows, we will periodically plan unified services where people from all of our services and all of our sites will join together for a worship celebration.
Why does Crossroads baptize by immersion?
Crossroads celebrates baptism several times throughout the year. Even so, baptism is a subject that is misunderstood by many and misinterpreted by some. The Bible describes three different components to baptism: Baptism has a specific purpose. Scripture illustrates repeatedly that baptism is an outward symbol of an inward commitment. Matthew 28:18-20 describes baptism as being the first step of obedience as a believer. Romans 6:1-4 talks of baptism as a symbol of death to the old life and resurrection to the new. Colossians 2:11-13 ties baptism to the Jewish practice of circumcision, which was the external marking of the new covenant. Nowhere in scripture do we find proof that baptism is an act of salvation, but rather a symbol of our salvation. Baptism has a specific order. Obviously, since baptism is a symbol of salvation, it must happen after salvation. This would preclude infant baptism, which some churches practice.
Some examples of believers who were baptized in the New Testament can be found in Acts 2:41, Acts 8:35-39, and Acts 16:30-33. We don't find any biblical evidence of a Christ follower who was baptized before salvation. Baptism has a specific method. Throughout the New Testament, the word for “baptize” is the Greek "baptizo", which can only be translated one of three ways: to dip, to submerge, or to plunge (there are also two distinctive words for “pour” and “sprinkle” in the New Testament, but neither is used in conjunction with baptism). Incidentally, sprinkling made its way onto the scene of the Roman Catholic church in the thirteenth century. If we look for a proof text for immersion, we must appeal to the proof found in the translation of the word: anywhere we see the word “baptize,” we are in fact seeing the word “immerse.” However, we can also find text that points to “coming up out of the water,” etc., in Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, John 3:23, and Acts 8:35-39. Further, Colossians 2:12 speaks of “being buried in baptism.”
But I've already been baptized. Do I need to be baptized again?
As noted above, we believe baptism is the way we are to publicly profess your faith after we are to come to Christ. We have many people at our church who were baptized somewhere else—some in Baptist churches, and some in churches of other denominations. So, regardless of where you were baptized, we think the only thing that matters is if you were baptized after coming to faith in Christ and that the baptism was by immersion.
But what if you were baptized before you came to Christ? What if you were sprinkled as an infant? Why do we say that you should be “baptized again” before joining the church? We do not want in any way to denigrate a special and significant moment you experienced in another church tradition. But think of it this way: baptism is supposed to be the confession of your own faith, not your parents’ faith. You can appreciate what they were trying to do for you, but being baptized after you have decided to follow Jesus publicly ratifies their decision as your own. The sweetest thing about a wedding ring is that you choose to wear it as a symbol of your love. In the same way, baptism is to be a symbol of your faith..
Why does Crossroads emphasize joining?
Throughout the New Testament, we see principles and patterns for church membership. Although we'll never find a passage which says "Thou shalt join the local church," we do see many examples of believers covenanting together in accountable relationships for worship, prayer, and ministry. Being a part of a spiritual body is something that Paul and other church fathers encouraged. In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul commands the church at Corinth to "Remove the wicked man from among yourselves." That raises the question, from what was he being removed? Other New Testament passages record votes taken, collections gathered, and leaders elected from church bodies. In Hebrews 10:25 the writer tells us, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
To put this in practical terms, the best way that we can define the relationships with fellow believers is to move people through a process. The process that we use asks people to join with us in carrying out the mission that we feel like God has given us to reach Harnett County and beyond. If you are a church member, your church leaders and fellow members become accountable for you, caring for you in times of need, and helping to equip you to disciple those around you. Church membership signifies your commitment to be here – not only a physical presence – but to be here as a part of the journey that we’re undertaking together. We say often that involvement in a church is like a football game: you have 22 guys desperately in need of rest, surrounded by 22,000 people in desperate need of exercise. To be here and not be a member is to be, quite simply, a spectator.
Candidly speaking, spectators can watch, but that’s about it. Players have a voice in the game. Players have the privilege of being in the action. One more illustration may put this in perspective. You no doubt have your name on a "membership roll" of dozens of organizations. You have a MVP card from Food Lion , an e-mail address with your Internet provider, a checkbook from your bank, and a pay stub from your employer. None of these organizations will go out of their way to track you down if you "disappear" for a few weeks – with the exception of your boss. As a church, it is our responsibility to keep up with your life. If you are in the hospital or working the weekend shift or out of town on an extended trip, your membership here calls for us to check in with you and make sure everything is going alright. That just doesn’t happen with non-members. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s just that apart from people taking defined steps of commitment and involvement, it’s hard to know who’s “on the team” and who is just hanging out for a while.
Some resources that may be of more help as you study this issue: Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God (Josh Harris); Finding a Church You Can Love and Loving the Church You’ve Found (Kevin & Sherry Harney) ; To Be or Not to Be a Church Member: That is the Question (Wayne Mack)
Why does Crossroads teach on giving?
The biblical concept of tithing is a principle that draws its roots from both the Old and New Testaments. Leviticus 27:30 mentions the tithe (and in Hebrew, "tithe" literally means "tenth part"). In Malachi 3:8-10, we read that we should bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. Matthew 23:23 says that Jesus validated the mandatory tithe. At Crossroads, we believe in the concept of "grace giving." The grace giving concept simply means that Jesus has given to us freely, and we should give back freely. If anything, 10% should be the floor, not the ceiling. Now, that's not a legalistic agenda, nor should it be. God is not going to be mad at you if you give 9.5%, and he's not going to love you more if you give 25%. The act of giving an offering is a constant reminder that everything we have is God's. We should look at it as though God is allowing us to keep 90%, not that he's "taking" 10%. Biblical stewardship is realizing that we are responsible to God for what we do with the 90% (or whatever percentage we don't give away).
I heard that Crossroads is a Southern Baptist Church. Is that true? If so, why aren't you an independent church?
The answer to the first question is yes, we do cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention for the purposes of church planting and missions. But the answer to the second question, why aren't we an independent church is that we are. You see, the Southern Baptist Convention is a "denomination" that is not really a denomination in the way most people think of. The SBC has no hierarchy--our church does not report to any "bishops" or other authorities. Each congregation is responsible only to the Word of God and their conscience. The SBC is simply a group of churches that give together to sponsor church planting and mission efforts. We believe that our church planting and mission efforts around the globe will be more effective when combined with other like-minded churches. In other words, we like to cooperate with as many churches as we can for the purposes of the Kingdom of God.
Why bother with the SBC at all. I mean, don't Southern Baptists say and do some silly things?
We believe unified effort between Gospel-loving churches increases our effectiveness in church planting, leadership training, and public witness. The blessing and curse of our generation of believers seems to be an independent, can-do spirit when it comes to mission. Stephen Neill's A History of Christian Missions, says that while Protestants have historically been extremely zealous for missions, we often have charged into unreached areas like Lone Rangers with no sense of who else was doing what for the cause of Christ there. Because of our lack of cooperation, we have often repeated easily avoidable mistakes and caused unnecessary chaos in the fields they we are trying to reach.
Therefore we (Crossroads Church), through the SBC, want to link up with missional, like minded churches for the purpose of mission. Yes, sometimes self-appointed Southern Baptist spokespeople will say things that really make us cringe. As long as there are people involved in any organization you run the risk of embarrassment. If we pulled out of the SBC and joined up with other groups, pretty soon we'd find them saying stupid stuff, too. Eventually, if we followed this to its logical end, we would cooperate with no one but ourselves, and then we would find that we make mistakes ourselves and say stupid stuff and then we'd be in the difficult position of withdrawing from ourselves. At the end of the day, we are not responsible for what other people say. And part of being a family is that you graciously put up with things you don't always agree with, so long as they don't violate the core of who you are. If Jesus withdrew from us when we messed up, He'd have left us 1000x over. So, we want to be the same with the family of God.