Pastor’s Corner

Disciple Maker.jpg

Lead by Following

“I am not a leader, I’m a follower!”  “I’m more of a worker bee.” “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it, but don’t ask me to lead anything.”  I hear these comments, and more, when we invite people to take more of a leadership role at Cross.   These responses don’t bother me; I completely understand that most people don’t “feel” like a Leader.  The challenge I see is that God tells us something different.

Life isn’t directed by how we feel.  Ok, that isn’t true for most people; most of us do make many decisions by how we feel about a product to purchase or what activities we enjoy.  But, God calls us to use our feelings for truth, not be controlled by them.  Leadership is a great example of this reality.  It doesn’t matter if I feel like a Leader, God tells us that as a Christian we ARE Leaders.  The question isn’t if we are Leaders or not; the question is how do we grow in courage and skill to embrace our leadership roles.

There are many places in life we don’t feel like we are living up to our status.  It could be you don’t feel like a good friend or family member.  Maybe you think you are a bad parent or spouse.  God reminds us that our feelings often deceive us and we need to measure those feelings against God’s Holy Word.  Matthew 28:  Go and make disciples (followers).  How can we do this if we aren’t Leaders?  Matthew 5:  Love your neighbors and your enemies!  Love is defined by being the first to forgive and the first to sacrifice for the benefit of others.  There is no denying it that we, followers of Jesus, are in fact Leaders in this world.

The sermon series that begins at the Fall Kick-Off on September 8-9 will attempt to address this reality.  The reality that each and every follower of Jesus, is in fact, a Leader and our greatest leadership skill we can develop is following where our Lord leads.

God does not need an army of independent, self-directed Leaders, Christ needs an army of people who will point others to Him and lead others in the path of righteousness and faithfulness.  The greatest leadership we can offer is to set an example in truth and love.  This type of leadership is not a cop out, instead it is the most powerful and influential type of leadership there is–teaching others by doing, leading through loving and leading by following.

Join us this Fall to embrace our identity, role and calling as followers of Jesus and Leaders of others.  Join together as we spur one another on in love and good deeds for the Glory of God and in the process, be encouraged in your own journey of faith!  Don’t forget to get connected in Christ in a community this Fall by stopping by the kiosk on Sunday or checking things out online or on our app!

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Fall Kick Off Weekend

Pastor’s Corner – Fall Kick-Off!

Football season and the start of Fall are linked forever in my mind.   As a player in Junior High, a member of the marching band in High School or a Student season ticket holder in College, the first Kick-off for the first game was always exciting.

Now as a Pastor, the Fall season is also marked by the kick-off of our Ministry Season.   First comes Back-to-School, then shortly after, the congregation ministries kick into high gear.  This Fall, our 137th season,  is no different with the Ministry Kick-Off planned for the weekend of September 9th.

What does the fall kick-off mean for you?  Why am I writing this?  This Fall, I and the staff are praying for each of  you to jumpstart your faith walk.  The seasons come and go, each with a different emphasis and the Fall season is about personal growth.   School, work and faith all have a rhythm of new beginnings in the Fall.  Will you have a new start?  Will you have a personal kick-off to launch you to new places in your spiritual journey?  Maybe this Fall will be a return to normalcy and the chaotic, sporadic schedule of the summer will give way to constancy this Fall?

Whatever it may be, we want to encourage you to join together with the family of faith at Cross as we join together as one body and live our life for Christ.   As Disciples, no season is perfect and every season brings its challenges, but we cannot give up meeting together.  Instead, we are called to spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

This Fall will also have a special opportunity as we join together to Build on Our Past and Be Faithful for the Future.  This is the name of our Capital Campaign and the pledge season will conclude the same September 9th with our commitments.  We have been inviting you to join us and pray for God’s good and gracious will for our congregation.  This campaign is seeking to raise $3.5 million dollars while we seek God’s strength for healing and unity.  It has been a long winding road, but God has truly been at work

Take a small step of faith this Fall as we kick-off the season together.  Authentic Manhood, Mom2Mom, CrossKids, Community Groups and service opportunities all await!  God is eager to work in you and through you this Fall.

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Back to School Are You Ready

Back to School

Back to school is always a big deal, even if you don’t have children or grandchildren.   Everything changes when the masses go back to school; traffic patterns, shopping patterns, lines at grocery stores and coffee shops and displays in the stores.  My oldest just started high school and the left turn lane was nine minutes long! With the Back to School Season comes the new fall line-up of TV shows and sports’ seasons.  Even when you don’t have anyone in school, you still notice things are different.

The same is true at Cross.  We, of course, have a 300 student school as a major component of our ministry.  In addition, the Fall Ministry Season for all of Cross Ministries “Kicks-Off” on September 9th!  On September 9th, our Sunday morning ministry Children’s Ministry (now called Cross Kids!) and all our midweek ministries Kick-Off!  Our Club 56 ministry for 5th and 6th graders also Kicks-Off with Sunday and Wednesday programming.  High School and College Age ministries have been going all year, but ramp up and Kick-Off that week also!

Cross is committed to spiritual formation and leadership multiplication as we mature together as Disciples of Christ at Cross.  I want to invite you, this Fall, to be an active part of this process–to help you mature but also to lead others as they mature.   Whether we admit it or not, each of us is seen as leaders by the outside world.  They look at us to see what Christian living is all about.  What difference does faith make in a person’s life?  Why trust in Jesus instead of crystals or some other myth?  Instead of pretending we aren’t leaders that no one pays attention to, I want to invite you to embrace this reality!

Students, teachers and support staff as well as parents, volunteers and business owners all have influence in the lives of others.  The question this Fall is not if you will have an impact, but what type of impact will you make?  This Fall, I want to invite you to join together as a family of faith that makes an impact for Christ and is a blessing to all we encounter!

This weekend is “Blessing of the Backpacks” as we get back to School.  September 9th is Fall Kick-Off and Capital Campaign Commitment Sunday.  Let’s “Mature as Disciples of Christ who Walk with God, Grow in Faith Together and Love our Neighbors!” this year and make a difference that lasts forever.

Pastor’s Corner

Fall Church Pictures.png

Ministry Fall Roll-Out

Last year we tried something new. In an effort to get the fall ministry season off to a great start, we introduced a Fall Roll-out. The Fall Roll-out is a time in late summer where we introduce our fall ministry line-up and ask people to pray about renewing their commitment to spiritual formation for the next year.

At the Fall Roll-out we will have practical things like pre-registering for Children and Youth Ministry. We will have sign-ups for adult Community Groups and other ministry opportunities into the community. The Fall Roll-out is also a great opportunity to hear your new ideas that God has placed on your heart. Sharing them now will allow us to start organizing so we can have a great fall season this year!

Last year your response was tremendous. We had our best fall in years at Cross with increased participation in almost all of our ministry areas. We hope to build on what God has been doing and will have another Fall Roll-out the weekend of August 11th-12th. This should be an exciting time as we build toward our Fall Kick-off September 8th-9th.

At the Fall Kick-off September 8th-9th we will launch our fall ministry season. We hope to have all of our ministry leaders and servants in place, have the Community Groups off and running, and culminate the Commitment phase of the Building on the Past; Faithful for the Future Campaign.

Please be in prayer over how God is moving, stretching and calling you into discipleship. Ask God to open your eyes to see the need and to work within you a willing spirit. Be bold to invite someone to join you in that journey that they too might Mature as a Disciple of Christ Who Walks with God, Grows in Faith Together and Loves Our Neighbors.

Please mark these dates on your calendar: August 11-12 for the Fall Roll-out and September 8-9 for the Fall Kick-off. These will be two great weekends of God moving through you, the Disciples of Christ at Cross. Until those dates, please be in prayer and increased awareness of how God is on the move in and through our community at Cross and the community around you. Ask Him how He wants you to join Him!

In Christ,

Pastor Erik Gauss



Pastor’s Corner

God's Exceeding Love

Made Whole

Have you ever felt like something is missing? Maybe you’ve felt like you need some vegetables after too many days of graduation parties.   Have you felt like you needed some time with friends after working or schooling for too long without a break?  Maybe you just need more sleep.  There are many times in my life where I have needed to make room for something that was lacking.

In the readings for this weekend, Ephesians 3:14-21, we hear God acknowledging the reality that we are lacking. In this world, we will yearn to fill in the gaps that we feel.   Sometimes, they are as simple as rearranging the schedule, but other times it is deeper and more confusing.

 Sometimes, we feel unloved or unimportant.  Sometimes, we feel discouraged or incompetent.  These feelings of lacking can be difficult to fill.  People turn to all sorts of things to try to fill in the gap.  Some turn to volunteering or service while others turn to alcohol or drugs.  We often look for the quicker, easier answer that only covers the hole, but never fills it in.  The problem with covering a hole is that we have made a trap that will capture us when we least expect it.

In Ephesians, God speaks through the author, Paul, and tells us that God is big enough, powerful enough and loving enough to be what fills in whatever is missing. God doesn’t just cover our hurts and emptiness; He fills it in and is the solution to our troubles.  Our feelings of inadequacy or being unloved are filled because in Him we can do all things and are loved more than we could ever comprehend.

In God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are made whole. Our hurts are healed, our broken cracks filled and healed in full, forever.  There is no earthly answer than can make us whole for more than a short while, but our God makes us whole, permanently.

This reality is important to remember because the devil will work overtime to cause us doubt. There is nothing to doubt for it rests on God and His promises and not our skill or contributions.  It is an intrinsic reality of our identity in God, not measured by external means.  Any feelings of brokenness that persist are feelings contrary to truth and can, therefore, be understood as lies from the father of all lies.

God’s love is high, wide, deep and long. God’s love blesses us in ways that are immeasurable and which we never thought to imagine (Ephesians 3:20).  Do not let the Devil or your mind overshadow your God who declares you to be whole, perfect and healed to be a blessing.

In Christ,

Erik Gauss