Fellowship's Servant-Oriented Leadership...
The Spiritual whole of Christ’s body, when working together as a Spiritual one, is far greater than even the talented, but divided sum, of its individual members. (Eph. 4:1ff)
So who is responsible for leading this spiritual whole or church known as Fellowship at Cross Creek?
Fellowship is a biblical, servant-led church with a team of elders (pastors or eldership) and elder advisors who together with biblical deacons and deaconesses (servant-leaders) are responsible for organizing, serving and leading by example the church Body's actual membership to strive together as a One to do the actual work of creating this biblical, Spiritual environment for Spiritual Growth.
Fellowship’s Senior Teaching Pastor Joe Cross
Spiritually Growing up...Joe's dad was a doctor; his mom was his dad's nurse and secretary. Together they served a rural, medical practice in southeast Arkansas and raised three sons. As a kid, Joe grew up playing football, making good grades and watering rice fields in the summers. As a young boy growing up in a Baptist church, he placed his faith in Jesus Christ as his forever, personal Savior, but it was not until his freshman year in college when his faith and walk with Christ really began to mature. Following in his father's footsteps, Joe began college as a pre-med student, majoring in chemistry. One spring afternoon and struggling to make the straight A's he felt he needed to get into medical school, Joe finally threw himself onto his bunk and gave himself completely over to God--no more being a 90% Christian. God had Joe completely.
Seminary Studies... After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in chemistry, but having felt called by God to pursue a different life track, Joe decided NOT to study medicine, and instead, applied to, was accepted at and eventually received his four-year masters of theology degree, majoring in New Testament Greek, from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX. There, he fell in love with both the Scriptures, as well as, what was at the time, a very non-traditional and yet very new and biblical "form follows function" approach to church ministry--the Fellowship Bible Church movement (note: Fellowship Bible Churches, first began by Dr. Gene Getz in Dallas, Tx., in the early 70s, and NOT a denomination, were more of a biblical philosophy of church ministry that arose out of the Jesus and Church Renewal Movements of the late 60s and early 70s. As Dr. Getz has recounted his story, students of that generation were questioning everything; it was the same for seminary students. When students questioned current church tradition, Dr. Getz was challenged to go home one weekend and do a biblical word study on the word, "church" in the New Testament. That word study changed everything. Dr. Getz came to the conclusion that many of the church's current forms, rituals and traditions--such as pews, pulpits and stain glass--were just that--man-made traditions, and therefore, NOT supra-cultural constants of Christ's biblical NT church. In fact, he discovered that there were very few biblical, timeless constants, making much of what the church was doing, optional. Rather church forms ought to be determined by the church's timeless NT function first and culture and tradition second).
Building a Spiritual Church Lab of His Own… Thus, after having studied at DTS for four years, in late 1985, when Joe was first called to Branson MO., to pastor, he began to construct his own Spiritual lab--what eventually become Fellowship Bible Church of Branson (at Cross Creek)--and has served as its senior pastor for almost three decades now. It has been quite a Spiritual journey, with Joe learning tons about the Spirit of God, himself, people, sinful human nature and how to pastor or love--including the importance of listening, asking questions, communicating with, counseling, praying and serving--others, including families, parents, husbands and wives, youth and children.
Joe still has an undying passion for Spiritually exploring, credibly understanding (in its original context) and applying God's Word or truths to our daily lives. The result is that God's people learn to grow into their Spiritually-inherited identity in Christ, and thus, have power to live out their faith, including to will or ability to choose goodness and righteousness over sin, selfishness and evil. Joe is constantly coming up with new tools and methodologies to accomplish this practical biblical application, such as, the Spiritual Growth Bike; the Nail, the Potato and the Feather; hoopo-minnow; tomato prayers; the 7 Seeds of Salvation; Rights and Privileges; his own version of the Who-What-Where approach to Bible study methods; putting on Spiritual Kevlar and tons more, thus the reason for referring to Fellowship at Cross Creek as a Spiritual lab. In other words, Spiritual learning, and thus the growing, changing and maturing never ceases at Fellowship. And prayerfully, by God's amazing grace, it never will...
Marriage, Love and Family… Between undergraduate and graduate studies, Joe met, befriended, laughed and sang musicals on a park bench with and, eventually, felt called by God to ask a beautiful Christian friend and sister named Rhonda to be his wife. Miraculously (no kidding when you hear the entire story), she accepted. And yet, despite some early struggles (neither of us knew much about love, marriage, communication and selflessness) and with the help of some incredible, accountable friends (from within our own church family), over 35 years later, Rhonda is still Joe's best friend and, for all practical purposes, day-to-day therapist. In addition to having been blessed with so many great brothers and sisters, both at Fellowship and within the larger family of God, three of Joe and Rhonda's best friends, are their adult children--their son, Jordan; his wife, April, and their daughter, Amanda. No family has been more richly blessed in the Lord...
A personal note from Joe
"I Hope that helps explains a little bit more about our Fellowship's ongoing journey to create an biblically-based Spiritual environment that encourages Christ-like Spiritual Growth.
"We very cordially invite you to come and be a part of our worshiping family FOR FAMILY YOU WILL BE! On any given Sunday, because Branson is a tourist-based community, there is always the possibility of Spiritual cousins visiting from anywhere in the United States. Because of this, each Sunday, the Spirit of God creates a unique worshiping family at Fellowship. So if it's first Sunday or your one thousandth Sunday to worship at Fellowship, everyone belongs. At that Spiritual moment, God creates his spiritually worshiping family, or heaven, on earth."
For More Information Check These Out...
Pastor's Blog: www.imperfectpastor.com
Church Blog: http://www.fellowshipatcrosscreek.com/blog/
Sustainable Love: www.facebook.com/sustainablelove