Immediate Impact in Salt Lake City
Confession time. Have you ever typed ‘how to grow my church’ into your search engine? You’re not alone. In fact, two of the most searched topics in the church internet world are ‘how to grow my church’ and ‘how to reach my community.’ At the heart of this search is the desire to reach lost people with the gospel of Christ.
Cross Tower Church of Christ in West Jordan, UT, was a loving congregation telling the story of Jesus, and unsure of how to reach past their walls into a community of less than 3% evangelical Christians. But something amazing has happened in this metro Salt Lake area!
Enter Dave Elshaug, Coach with Intentional Churches and a Pastor at K2 the Church in Murray, UT. With Dave’s help, IC launched an IGP Cohort, an Intentional GrowthPlan consisting of two church teams with similar attendance under 300. This collaborative team approach has produced crazy synergy & momentum, rapid breakthrough, deepening relationships and Kingdom impact. Through the IGP process, this team has answered the question, “What do we do to reach the lost in our community?”
Only four months into their Intentional GrowthPlan, we are celebrating this team and all they have accomplished! God is meeting them at every turn! Here are a few intentional changes Cross Tower made to reach the lost; changes that can impact any church and community for Christ.
Randy Clay, Preaching Minister and Mark Swan, one of the elders at Cross Tower have led the way. The first thing they asked the church to do was to pray. But not in a way you might imagine. Each Sunday, upon leaving service, the congregation was asked to drive, stop and pray. Week 1, drive 5 minutes away from the church, stop & pray for the people in that area; week 2, drive 10 minutes from the church, stop & pray for the people in that area; week 3, drive 15 minutes, stop & pray, and so on. God answered their prayers quickly and in an unexpected way. He opened the eyes and hearts of those praying to see their neighbors with new eyes and to invite them into this loving community of Christ-followers.
It may seem insignificant, but the lack of guest parking can unintentionally say you aren’t expecting guests. The parking lot is the first impression, the first point of contact for a guest, and providing guest parking speaks volumes about your church. In many churches, those who serve in ministry arrive early grabbing all the spaces near the building leaving no nearby parking for guests. But only two months after IGP was installed, Cross Tower elders and ministry teams led the charge to park away from the church in the gravel with the goal of leaving ten spaces for guests. And because they’re blessed with plenty of property, the 10-space goal can remain the same as they grow. They continue to pursue every opportunity to serve their guests generously from the moment they arrive, including in the parking lot.
Don’t underestimate what a powerful outreach Vacation Bible School can be to reach the community. For the past 3 years, Cross Tower held VBS and had about 30 kids in attendance. This year, with their hearts focused on the community, they distributed flyers and intentionally invited their neighbors. The VBS team created an environment expecting guests, and 70 kids showed up to hear the good news about Jesus Christ! Many of these kids were unchurched and heard the gospel for the first time. On their final night, over 200 people attended the celebration where many experienced the love of Christ for the first time, increasing the probability that they will return to a weekend service.
People crave community and churches are best equipped to offer that opportunity through regular events. Recently Cross Tower scheduled a fundraiser at the church for a mission they support in Mexico. It was to be an internal church family event, a fun night outdoors with hot dogs, volleyball, a movie and a mission. But because of their outward focus, they made the decision to invite their neighborhood to this casual, fun event. What better way to connect with their neighbors! Seeing and meeting new people at the event, one of the elders passionately exclaimed, “They’re our neighbors and we invited them and they came!” It was the perfect setting for starting new relationships and for inviting the community back for more.
One of Cross Tower’s Elders, Steve Osborn, said, “When we started, we were concerned about survival. Now we are focused on growing. God is changing us. We were concerned about serving Christians, and now we are focused on finding the lost.”
Cross Tower is seeing firsthand the power of prayer and the results of intentionality. With their IGP in place, they have clarified their mission, made courageous decisions, and God is faithfully answering their prayers for the lost beyond anything they could’ve imagined.