By Carl Stagner
The vision and mission of the Church of God is on the move! Excitement is spreading for what God is doing among us. One recent example takes us to Denver, Colorado, where a church plant has just joined the Church of God in Colorado. After forming a new partnership with the Church of God Colorado Conference, and after months of hard work and years of planning, Cross Culture Church just celebrated its official launch. A crowd of 376 gathered to celebrate the launch, five people were saved, and one followed Jesus’ example in baptism.
Michael Winakur was introduced to the Church of God during the pre-launch stage of Cross Culture Church. Larry Taylor, the state minister, together with Ron Johnson (whose forte is church planting for the Colorado Conference), met with Michael to discuss the exciting things God has been doing lately in the Church of God. Larry invited Michael and his leadership team to attend the annual Colorado Conference meeting to get an even better taste of what the Church of God is like. “We fell in love with the people and the vision,” Michael recounts. “From there we all prayed, and God showed clear direction for us to walk together in expanding the kingdom.”
Time and time again, churches and regions across the movement have demonstrated the power to advance the kingdom when Jesus is the subject. When the focus is on Jesus, God’s people work together regardless of denominational background or cultural differences. When the focus is on Jesus, his Great Commission is carried out every day of the week—not just on Sunday. When the focus is on Jesus, churches support the work of a new plant in the community—even if it means sending some of their own to help make a launch successful. This is the story of Cross Culture Church.
“I grew up in a predominately lower-income, African American neighborhood, with little hope,” Michael recalls. “My family had been fans of Jesus, but not quite devoted followers. It seemed my options were few until I met an African American neighbor named Brenda Wayne, who became family to my family. We did life together and eventually went to church together. Before my eyes I witnessed the Great Commandment in action—people from completely different walks of life living out love and in unity in Jesus.”
Cross Culture Church reaches intentionally across the cultural spectrum to build a local expression of the body of Christ that aims gives the world a glimpse of heaven. As Brenda was the epitome of a good neighbor to Michael’s family, Cross Culture Church now seeks to be a good neighbor to the community. Michael says that Brenda used to say that “the image of God is best represented when all cultures and generations work together to love like Christ.”
This cross-cultural, neighborly emphasis pushes Cross Culture Church to move “beyond Sunday”—as they call it—to make a difference in their community. Michael goes so far as to suggest that, if we’re not careful, our Sunday worship services can get in the way of being the church. He puts it like this: “We aren’t just a Sunday morning church. We recognize the value in Sundays, but we also don’t want it to be a crutch for our people fulfilling the Great Commission in their everyday life with Jesus.” It was in casting this vision from house to house, neighborhood to neighborhood, that word about this exciting new church plant spread far and wide.
What excites state minister Larry Taylor about this new partnership with Cross Culture Church? “They truly understand the meaning of being the hands and feet of Jesus, loving others more than themselves, fulfilling the Great Commission, and doing it by crossing the lines of age, race, gender, and denominational walls,” he explains. “They realize that in order to be effective, it requires a dependence on the leading of the Holy Spirit, driven from an intimate relationship with him.”
Welcome to the Church of God, Pastor Michael and Cross Culture Church!
For more information on affiliation with the Church of God, visit our Join the Movement page on our website. Were you blessed by reading this story? Support the ongoing work of Church of God Ministries with your gift to the World Ministry Fund at http://www.jesusisthesubject.org/world-ministry-fund/.