Pastor’s Corner

Fall Kick Off Weekend

Fall Ministry Kickoff!

With the fall season comes football season.  Every football game begins with a kickoff, one of the most exciting plays in the game.  Almost anything can happen after that first kickoff; there is always a plan, but the plan quickly changes as the opposing team tries to stop them.

The name Fall Kickoff works so well for our ministry season launch because it, too, is one of the most exciting times of the season.  People are getting connected; children and youth are registering for their respective ministries.  Many adults are plugging into Community Groups at Cross and our Living and Active groups are filling up fast.

We have a plan for the ministry season, but we have an opponent that is trying to stop those plans.  The Devil and even our own flesh are actively working against the spiritual formation and Gospel proclamation that we have such good intentions to accomplish each fall.  The Evil One will put obstacles and roadblocks in our path.  We will make choices that limit our time and resources and then get frustrated because our faith isn’t growing.

This is what makes the Fall Kickoff so great.  We are all starting fresh together.  While God provides that fresh start each day, there is something truly special about starting fresh as a team.  This year is Team 138 at Cross.  138 Years of sharing the Good News of Jesus.  138 Years of Fall Kickoffs (even if that isn’t what they called them in 1881).  138 Years of stumbling block in our path.  138 Years of God’s forgiveness and mercy as He provides a way out through the Holy Spirit.

Take a step this fall and get connected to a group of Christians who can be on your team.  Don’t try to fight against your flesh and the Devil on your own.  Instead, stop by the kiosk; contact us through phone or email and kickoff this fall with a team of people around you.  It is a lot of fun to work together to overcome the challenge in front of you and you never know, you might find out you have skills or passions you never knew you had!

Fall Kickoff is September 7-8 as our series on The Real God begins.  Our Children, Youth, Men, Women, Couples, Addiction Recovery and many volunteer opportunities all begin this same weekend.     Don’t wait, get connected today and allow God’s power to overcome your trials and fill you with His peace.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-24

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Building on the Past, Faithful for the Future

Building Committee Update

As the Fall Ministry season kicks off it is becoming more and more obvious we need to update our facilities, and soon.  We added our fifth pre-school teacher and classroom this fall.  Our school is now over 330 students!  Our Building on the Past; Faithful for the Future Campaign is nearing its halfway point and our building team is interviewing architects.

There are three finalists for our architect search. I will list them in alphabetical order along with some background.  Please be praying for the team while we go on site visits for two of our finalists this week and seek discernment on the path forward.

DLA Architects – Based in Itasca, Illinois, Steve Wright is the Principal Architect.  We found DLA when we asked our friends at Immanuel Lutheran in Crystal Lake, IL about their facilities.  DLA believes “Form Follows Learning” and place a strong emphasis on listening to the space users on how best to design the space.  “97%” of their work is educational design.

Larson & Darby Group – Based in Rockford, Illinois, Joseph Winkelmann would be our Principal Architect.  L&D have extensive experience in church and school ministries.  They have done work at Immanuel Lutheran in Belvidere, Mooseheart Child City and School and St. John Lutheran in Sycamore.   Larson & Darby are a full service, in-house firm that has everything from religious to corporate.

WILDESIGN – Based in St. Charles, Illinois, David Wilde is the Principal Architect.  David runs a small private firm with a specialization in helping the Church reach the next generation and connecting the Gospel to the church and community.  David has frequently served as principle architect for Aspen Group on the Community Christian Main Campus, Good Shepherd Lutheran in Naperville and Faith Lutheran in Aurora.

Please continue to pray and give feedback as you see appropriate.  We have three great finalists and honestly had several more that would have done a fantastic job.  Please pray for the committee as each of these architects will bring a different strength to our team.   Remember, this is about creating a facility that will help us be more effective, but the building is not the church.  You, and I, and all the believers of Christ are the Church!  Pray for the Church that God would bless us and guide us to create facilities that improve our effectiveness at sharing His love with others.

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22

Pastor’s Corner

Pastor's Corner August 18

Pastor’s Corner – All From One

I recently started making my own yogurt.  It is sort of a long story, but the gist is that with our taste buds preferring the finer Greek yogurts on the market, the household budget is much happier this way.  I also enjoy the process of making yogurt.  The premise is that you introduce a few tiny bacteria called “starter” to a gallon of milk; eventually, after time and temperature, the whole gallon is transformed into yogurt.  If you have enough time it only takes one teaspoon for the whole gallon.  While I wouldn’t recommend that recipe, it is an insightful testament to the power of a little transforming a whole lot more!

The Parables this weekend are the same illustration.  A little yeast transforming the whole loaf and a tiny seed becoming an enormous plant!  It is the same way with the Good News of Jesus; the Gospel News of Jesus.  The Gospel is that all who have sinned are now saved because of Jesus.  This is a gift, paid for in full, and given to you for free.

The Good News of the Gospel is a small piece of information.  We have heard this so many times we start to become accustomed to hearing it and taking it for granted.  While the information is simple, the importance of the Gospel is too complex for words.  When the Good News of Jesus is shared with a soul that is hurting and broken, the power is too hard to hold back.  Like a small bit of yeast or starter, this Good News eventually starts to take hold.  First, working through the heart and soul of the individual and then, eventually, to the heart and soul of others.

A soul in despair can be healed through the tiny words of the Gospel.  The hopeless are given hope, the weak are given strength  and the discouraged are lifted up with winds like those that lift the eagles.   Eventually a whole family or community are encouraged with the Good News and have purpose for their life and their eternity.

How has this Good News been impacting you lately?  Have you tuned out the Good News because you have “heard it before”?  Maybe the world has you convinced that the Gospel of Jesus “doesn’t apply” to this situation.  Take a breath, say a prayer and ask God that question.  Tune out the noise around you and ask God if He cares about you and your struggle; your joy;  your circumstance.   I am convinced that the Good News will make its way into every area of your life and give you hope, joy and peace in all circumstances!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16ff

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Back to School 2019

Pastor’s Corner – Back to School

When I was trying to decide what the topic would be for the Pastor’s Corner today, I looked at the calendar and realized the decision was made for me.  It is back to school time already.   By the time you read this, we will be starting the last weekend before school starts in Yorkville and at Cross the following week.

It is unbelievable that summer is winding down and activity at Cross is picking up.  Families (many of them new to Cross!) are coming in and out of the office.  New teachers are setting up their classrooms and long-time teachers, too!   Stores are packed with people buying school supplies and new clothes since these little people refuse to stop growing.

The weekend of August 17th and 18th will be our Blessing of the Backpack worship services.  These are open to all students in all schools.  Bring your school bags and we will invite God to lead us and pray for courage to follow where He guides.

Our 138th year of ministry has a few notable changes.  We welcome Paul Goffron as our new principal.  He is our first new principal in 35 years!  We welcome Tabetha Knobeloch as our fifth teacher on our preschool team.  We also welcome Victoria Mueller as our new 7th Grade teacher.  In addition to the new teachers, our enrollment has experienced tremendous growth this summer.  Approximately 30 new students have joined our K-8 program and new visits are still happening every day this week!

Among all the new things there is one thing that never changes.  God’s promises to us are new every morning and they never fail.  Our school theme verse this year is from Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”  Some students have graduated or moved on and some team members are gone from the staff.  New faces are all around us and God is still with us.  He will never leave us; He is always present.

Cross Lutheran Church and School exists to make Disciples who Walk with God, Grow in Faith Together and Love our Neighbors.  Disciples are first and foremost followers of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is here with us and we are privileged to help students become more and more aware of that every year.

 Thank you parents for entrusting Cross with a partnership in your child’s development.  Thank you Congregation for your continued prayer and financial support which makes this amazing school possible for so many families.  Thank you team for your relentless work ethic.  Thank you Lord, for always being present, every day.

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner


Best Church for Kendall!

Early in my ministry I read a book and attended a conference by a pastor I respected.  Most people would not know his name even if I told it to you.  Most people would not list the church he serves when naming the best churches in America.  While his congregation was large and by most accounts quite healthy and even though he wrote a book, why are there so few accolades for his church being the “best”?  I think it is because being the “best” wasn’t his goal.

To be honest, he did want his church to be the best, but not the best church in the city or county or country.  He had a goal of making his church the best church for the county.  It seems like a very small distinction, maybe even a play on words with no significant meaning.  But, in my opinion, it is one of the greatest and most important distinctions we can make as a congregation.

To be declared the best church in the county requires a competition that compares measurables to other congregations.  How many are in worship?  How big are your facilities?  Who votes for you in the newspaper polls?  In order to get people to vote or be convinced you are the best, significant resources are spent telling everyone how good you are and encouraging them to tell others.

To be the best church for the county, a congregation only needs to focus on one thing:  How can we best serve the people around us?  When we strive to be the best church for the county, our entire perspective changes.  Our goals and use of resources change, and our view of other churches changes.  We do not need to be in competition, but instead, partnerships can form and unified efforts to improve the community are the result.

The goal at Cross is to mature as Disciples of Jesus Christ.  We focus on three strategies to accomplish this goal:  Walking with God, Growing in Faith Together, and Loving Our Neighbors.  We do not emphasize being the best church in the community; we focus on being the best church for the community and for the Kingdom work of God.

This emphasis has served this congregation well for 138 years!  I believe God has blessed and protected us for so long because we recognize our shortcomings and don’t try to be something that we are not.  Instead, we confess our sins and ask God to forgive and lead us where He wants us to go.  138 years of mistakes, 138 years of God’s grace, 138 years of service into the world.  May God continue to lead us in the “best” direction and grant us the faith to follow!

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”  Romans 12:3