By Jeff Swearingen,
FCP Church Planter and Advisory Team Member
In 2013 I attended a Round Table event where Greg Nettle challenged those gathered that some of the next church planters might be on our current staff teams. I could not help but wonder as I drove home from Jacksonville if that might be true for us.
After praying about it, I said to our current Youth Pastor, Brad Zachritz, 'I think you should consider planting a church.' I'm still not sure if he thought I was hinting that it was time for a different job or that I really thought he could plant a church. But over the next few weeks Brad prayed about it and came back and said I think you're right, God might be calling me to plant a church. I guess the rest is history. Brad and his wife, Abby felt called to go to Gainesville and plant Shift church along with two other couples from Crosspoint.
It felt risky to send a key staff person and two couples who were highly involved in serving at Crosspoint. It seemed like we would might lose momentum and take a long time to recover what we were losing. Sure, a church would be planted, but what would it do to our young church that wasn't even ten years old? Was it worth the risk?
In Crosspoint's twelve year history we have had the privilege of sending more than once. In addition to sending three couples to Gainesville, we have sent one couple as missionaries to a country near the Middle East, two others into mission work at New Mission Systems International and one young man into ministry in the US. Every time we have (to use J.D. Greear's phrase) "gained by losing."
This past Easter more than 300 people worshiped at Shift and weekly attendance now averages nearly 200 and they have celebrated 58 baptisms since their beginning. Those are incredible gains for the Kingdom of God.
We have also seen gains at Crosspoint when we have sent. Every time we have sent someone God has replaced those people and multiplied our influence locally. We try to regularly celebrate what God is doing through those we have sent. We never talk about it like we lost anything, but rather we focus on what has been gained by the Kingdom. We want people not to think just about what God could do at Crosspoint but what He could do all over as more and more churches are planted.
We can't wait to gain by losing again. We want to develop leaders on our staff team and in our church family who have a heart for God's Kingdom whether it is locally or around the globe.