“Someone else can do this better than me. I’m not the right person for the job.” This is how Lead Pastor, Paul Goeke, felt when facing a financial crisis and major leadership transitions at CrossPoint Church over a year ago. Goeke, born in San Antonio into a traditional Christian family and father of four kids, never saw himself as the person to manage this kind of situation. During the winter of last year, he just wanted to quit. However, the church board and fellow leaders encouraged him to keep going.
In the midst of these challenges, Goeke received support and encouragement from deep relationships with other Katy pastors who not only spoke life into him, but also followed up with life-giving actions. Through this support, Goeke took part in a ministry in Montana, called Refuge. It was there that God prompted him to read the book of Haggai where he saw this, “My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not… I will fill this house with glory… The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of Hosts. And in this place, I will give peace…” After reading this and in a chance meeting, Goeke got to know a man who became a mentor and dear friend. This relationship would prove to be life-changing. On the flight home, Goeke realized that even though he landed in Montana intent upon quitting, he was flying back to Texas intent upon “getting back in the game.”
For Goeke, “getting back in the game” involved a radical shift in church leadership. Rather than focusing on the difficult reality of severely reduced staff, the leadership of CrossPoint saw that God was leading them to a biblical form of church leadership in which the staff did not simply do ministry, but equip each person for ministry. Underneath this radical shift is the conviction that, “Jesus is within every believer and therefore every believer has the capacity to be a world changer”.
Katy Has A Problem
“I think the city of Katy has a low-grade fever of sadness. It seems like people are constantly surprised by bad news. Budget cuts. Human trafficking. A new strain of drugs that is killing people. Kids who are struggling. Marriages falling apart. Addictions. The chaos of politics. And if all that wasn’t bad enough, someone from Chicago goes and buys Whataburger!” Goeke continues, “Imagine if, instead of all these bad surprises, every day, people were legitimately surprised by the goodness of God and the love of His people. Even if they don’t yet believe imagine them saying ‘I don’t know about God and I’ve seen some messed up Christians, but I can’t deny that these people really do love others. I’ve experienced it myself.’”
To make this kind of impact, the people of CrossPoint have made one-on-one relationships their mission. Their hope is that they can connect in a meaningful way with every single person that walks through their doors. Even in the early stages of this change, it is common for a first-time guest to walk out with personal cell phone numbers of multiple people within the CrossPoint family. This is a commitment not to a church program but to open their lives to truly care for others. It is a commitment to shepherd people to their next spiritual step, whatever that may be. It is a focus on relationships rather than efficiency.
A School, A Community, A Family, and A Future
CrossPoint is now experiencing financial self-sustainability like never before. As Paul walks through the different areas of the church, this renewed leader can’t hide his joy over the 20th anniversary of Crosspoint Christian School (CCS). With over three hundred fifty students, CCS has been recognized as the “Best Private School” and “Best Learning Center” in Katy for the past four consecutive years by the Katy Times Best of Katy. He also celebrates the English as a Second Language (ESL) Ministry and the partnership with Hope Impacts, where individuals experiencing homelessness can receive showers and meals two times a week at CrossPoint.
“I am so grateful for this family,” Paul says. “I don’t have to pretend that I am something that I am not. I can be honest with the people. They know my weaknesses. I am not putting on a show here. We always say that we fight for people to experience the acceptance and new life of Jesus. And CrossPoint has shown me that personally.”
Crosspoint’s story cannot be told without telling the story of people who have been loved no matter their background. “That is one of the things that we hear most about CrossPoint, ‘I don’t have to put on a show here.’” Paul smiles as he thinks of his church family, “When the Bible talks about shepherding, it talks about relationships. You can’t truly encourage someone you don’t know. You can’t speak hard words to somebody you don’t know. This is why we are all about building one-on-one relationships. Is that efficient? No. Relationships never are. But that is what Jesus did. And that’s how it changes the world.”