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Here is an update of all that God is doing at Crossway! Much has transpired lately that we havent been able to tell you about. These are some exciting times!
First our building has been transformed with some new paint, junk removal, the addition of a fellowship/seating area, new sound system (see the picture to the right: new sound board and speakers) and nursery renovations. This old building is looking inviting and warm for all who walk through the doors. Aside from our regular church body of about forty members, we have had many other truth-seekers walking through the creaky, old wooden doors. This is the really exciting part and one of the main reasons for coming to Keene to reach out to a community starving for the Word of Christ.
We have had two young ladies from Columbia attending regularly while they are in the states. Though there is somewhat of a language barrier, we have had some sweet fellowship with these sisters from South America. A troubled young man named Wayne has been visiting for many Sundays. He is definitely searching for what is missing in his life and has had numerous conversations about his need for the gospel with about half of the people at Crossway! We are praying for his eyes to be opened. He has also brought five of his family members and friends on various occasions who also desperately need the Lord. Carlton is a middle aged man whom Laney Burch knows from work and has shared the gospel with. He has come quite a few times as well. We are trying to show him the love and truth of Christ . One older woman whom you can see wandering the streets of Keene on any given day has made it through our doors for hot coffee and goodies on two occasions. She has been welcomed into conversation with some of our members. We are hoping that she will someday stay to hear the message preached. She has heard the gospel from those in our church. Praise the Lord for this opportunity. We also have a new family who is in the process of membership-the Russos! They are strong in the Lord and desire to learn much more as they attend Crossway! They cannot get enough of the Word of God which makes it so wonderful to have them as part of our fellowship. Praise the Lord for adding them and their two little daughters to our Crossway family! We have had many, many others walk through those old doors. How exciting!
We have started mid-week fellowship meetings at the church which feel just like CCC home fellowships. We eat at 6, then begin singing and our study of James at 7pm. This is a great time with our family.
(picture on left: Dave Burch is studying in a storage room at the church.)
Many of our families after surviving many moves and job transitions this summer and fall have finally settled down and begun fellowshipping around a meal (or a board game or a movie) in each others homes. The Lord is uniting our diverse group together.
Beginning in March, we will have a monthly pot-luck, hymn sing and question/answer time after our Sunday morning meetings.
Counseling opportunities are plentiful as well. Our marquee outside says, “we provide biblical counseling.” We hope this draws people through our doors.
(Picture on right: Some room dividers that were painted at our workday.) We are sooo thankful for those that were able to help us on our workday! It was exciting to see things get done, but – man! – it was exciting to see friends from CCC! Working side-by-side with us! So encouraging!
Our hearts jump with excitement each time we have visitors from CCC. We sure do miss all of you and love you all so much! On any given Sunday when I spot a family from Christ Community come through the doors my first response is to want to cry (thankful tears) and then give hugs. It is SO GOOD to see you and your continuing love and support. Sometimes we feel isolated and lonely and miss the warmth and security of Christ Community. It is so good to see that you are still thinking about us and ministering to your church plant in the dark city of Keene. We are continuously reminded that this place is about as liberal and anti-God as any place in America and we have much work to do! Thank you for your continued partnership and prayers. We hope to see many of you at our upcoming Saturday events passing out invitations to the community to come to our grand opening service. This is our biggest outreach event yet and we feel small and unable to accomplish much on our own. Please come and help us if you can! God is on a mission to accomplish His will in Keene and New England. Please share in the labor with us! We love you and miss you all and will see you when Craig preaches at CCC on March 14th!
Craig and Tiffany Johnson
God is doing some amazing things for us! We have met in our new building for 5 weeks now. It is great to have our own place, but it sure has been a lot of work to get things ready.
First, here is a picture of our worship service from this past Sunday. I asked Dave Burch to preach. He did a great job teaching us how Christmas-the appearing of God our Savior-is the basis for all true godliness.
God brought us 8 first-time visitors! I would say we average 4 visitors each Sunday though there have been several weeks with no visitors.
The room that you see us meeting in is the Fellowship Hall. We have permission from the city to put 166 people in there. We decided not to meet in the auditorium for a couple reasons: (1) it is huge. It seats about 450, and that makes a group of 50 people feel really small. (2) it costs a lot to heat the auditorium.
I hope to give more frequent updates on this blog, so keep checking back. I have a lot to tell you – way too much for one blog post!
I want to leave you with a prayer request. Please pray for our Christmas Eve service. We will probably have many unbelievers. Pray that we give them a warm welcome. Pray for me as I give the Christmas message which explains the gospel. Pray for God to change hearts for His glory!
It has been 6 weeks now since we announced that we would be planting a church in Keene, NH. We have been praying, and God has been graciously and generously answering our prayers.
We praise God for…
God is our only hope. If Crossway Church is going to grow, it will have to be by God’s doing. We are totally dependent on Him. We praise Him for His blessings and we boldly plead for more – for His glory!
What we’ve been doing
Our meetings on Sunday nights have been thrilling! It’s an exciting time for the 40 of us to spend time getting to know one another. For the first hour of our Sunday night meetings, we eat and talk. This time is so awesome since many are just beginning new relationships with each other. You can feel the electricity in the air as we share with and learn about each other. We’re getting to know our new family members!
After we eat, we gather in the living room for songs of worship. Bill Calhoun leads us with his guitar in some hymns and worship songs. Our chairs are arranged in rows, and we are squished together. It’s quite cozy! This past Sunday, Andrew Sage set up a projector so we could see the words on a screen as we sang. We’re already high-tech. :)
After the singing, we bring everyone up to speed on the latest concerning our search for a public meeting place, the sale of our home, our search for new home in Keene, other’s search for an apartment near Keene, and various other things.
The teaching time is next. The first week, I taught on the purpose of the church, challenging the group to focus on God’s glory so that we can fulfill our purpose of glorifying Him. The second week, we looked at our mission: to make followers and learners of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). The third Sunday, we began looking at our God-given priorities: worship, instruction, fellowship, and evangelism. Lord-willing, we will complete our study of these priorities this coming Sunday night.
In weeks to come, we will consider our core values and distinctives as a church. Of course, our purpose, mission, priorities, core values, and distinctives are the same as those for CCC. We truly are an extension of CCC. What an incredible privilege it is to extend the ministry of CCC to the Keene area!
Before the evening is through, we pray together. Typically, we have a few men lead us in prayer. We pray that God would be gracious to us; that He would cause us to be zealous for His glory; that He would give us unity in the gospel; and that He would draw many unto Himself through ministry of Crossway.
Much work to be done
This past Sunday, I listed many opportunities for members of the Crossway family to serve. In addition to the normal taskes like working in the nursery, uploading sermons to the website, participating on the worship team, giving a call to worship, and teaching in the children’s ministry, we talked about a few outreach ministries that need to be organized and carried out. We want to reach out to families in the Keene area who have new babies, families who are new to the area, and families who have made a visit to a Crossway worship meeting. We plan to reach out to them be giving them a gift, information about Crossway Church, and an invitation to come (or, return) to our church.
In addition to all of those ongoing ministries, there is much to be done when it comes to launching the church. Once we have a public place of worship, we can print the church address on flyers, brochures, proclamation cards, and other materials. With those materials in our hands we can go to work letting everyone in the Keene area know about Crossway Church. This will be a huge effort. Please plan to help us! Let’s team together to spread the word!
We are dependent on God
We continue to work and to pray…