Archive for the 'Guest Post' Category

A Good Goodbye: How to Leave a Church Well

Jeff-blogToday, welcomes guest writer, Dr. Jeff Crawford. Dr. Crawford has been the President of Cross Church School of Ministry and a Teaching Pastor at Cross Church for the past four years. Dr. Crawford is the new Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.

This past Sunday I had to opportunity to preach one more time to my beloved family of believers at Cross Church. In two weeks I will begin serving as the Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN.

Thirteen years of my ministry career, over the course of two separate tenures, have been through Cross Church and under the leadership of my friend, mentor, and brother in Christ, Dr. Ronnie Floyd.  This second tenure spanned four years, with me serving as co-founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry and Teaching Pastor. I have raised my four children in connection with Cross Church and all four were baptized there. As I reflected over the last 20 years of connection and 13 years of ministry with this dear church, I found my thoughts and emotions running deep. So many connections. So many people we love. So many ups and downs, joys and tears, and celebrations. So much life lived with the best staff, lay people, and Pastor for which a man could hope.

Things I Learned in My Time at Cross Church

As it developed in my mind and then all the way to delivery on Sunday, my final message became a love letter to this beloved church. Playing off of Paul’s example in Acts 20 when he met the leaders of his beloved church at Ephesus on the shores of the Mediterranean and gave them one final word of encouragement, I wanted to leave Cross Church with one final word based on “things I have learned in my time at Cross Church.” In reality the list is LONG. But on Sunday I gave them the short list:

  1. God can use anybody.
  2. If you deepen your walk, God will broaden your ministry.
  3. The church is God’s number one instrument to change the world.
  4. Relationships are the secret to life.
  5. We have to fight for the Bible.
  6. The Gospel story must constantly be retold.
  7. Jesus changes the conversation.

Those are just the highlights and the whole message can be heard here.

How to Leave Well

But the larger context to all of this is HOW TO LEAVE A CHURCH WELL. I’ve seen staff pastors come and go across many years of ministry. I’ve seen staff leave well and I’ve seen staff leave poorly. And let me say that there is definitely a “right” way to leave a church. In my most recent case, I was determined from the beginning, before I even knew for certain that I would be leaving, that I was going to leave well.

At the risk of simplifying matters to yet another list, here is a list of what I did and why:

  1. I told my pastor when Grace had reached out to me. Let me caveat that churches have periodically reached out to me and I did not take every one of those to my pastor.  That’s an unfair burden he does not need, especially when I know that there’s a 99.9% chance it will come to nothing. But Grace coming toward me was different on multiple levels and my pastor deserved to know. I told Pastor Floyd that I would only come back to him should Grace decide that I was their one and only candidate. He did not need the added burden of “updates.” What he DID need was to know I was focused on Cross Church.
  2. I prayed and then shelved it. I did not live with eyes for another ministry. I was happy where I was planted with MUCH to do in ministry. I knew Grace might go another direction and that God was ultimately in control, so there was really nothing more for me to do.
  3. The moment Grace confirmed that God had singled me out as their one and only candidate, I went back to Pastor Floyd and shared honestly my heart that this was something we felt we needed to search out and see if God was in it for us. This involved a site visit to the church and to the city of Knoxville.
  4. After the visit, the invitation was on the table for me to say yes, or no, to go in view of a call to be the next senior pastor of Grace. My wife and I determined to take one week to pray matters through and to then say yes or no. I met with Pastor Floyd immediately after the visit and shared my heart and plan. I was NOT going to leave him or Cross Church hanging.
  5. Once we said yes, I worked with my pastor and with Grace to work a common timeline so as to protect and benefit both churches. On the Cross Church side, I let my pastor steer the ship on when and how he wanted to communicate matters to the church.
  6. And finally, in ALL of this, I lifted high publically and privately my church and my pastor.

I believe that in doing all of this, it allowed the church, my church, to send me off well and to bless me and my family as we move on to our new place of ministry. I will never forget the moving moment when Pastor Floyd prayed over and blessed us and commissioned us for our sending to Grace this past Sunday after I preached.

My friends, ministry is a small world. My best word: Don’t ever burn a bridge. You never know when you might want to cross it again.

Dr. Jeff Crawford
President, Cross Church School of Ministry
Teaching Pastor, Cross Church

Pastors, Join All of Us Now #yearofgoodnews

Greg L-blogThe following is an article I co-signed, posted by Greg Laurie on February 28, 2017. Published by permission.

2017 – The Year of Good News! 
by Greg Laurie

I have written a letter that I have asked a lot of my friends to sign.
It is a declaration to make 2017 “The Year of Good News.”
Franklin Graham was the first to get the word out.
Will you join him and sign as well at

The Year of Good News

In a time of bad news, distracting news, divisive news, disorderly news, and, sometimes, depressing news we—as Christians and as leaders—want to recommit ourselves to making sure that the Good News of Jesus cuts through it all. We call upon Christians in America to make 2017 “The Year of Good News.”

Christians everywhere must share the message of Jesus with everyone they can at every opportunity they can. Pastors must preach the Gospel boldly and pray intentionally for national revival.

Despite the divisions and distractions dividing our nation and disorienting our culture, we believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ remains the hope of the world and is more needed in our nation now than at almost any point in our nation’s history.

This is not to diminish the important good works and example that the Church as a whole provides, but it is to emphasize that Jesus has commanded us to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel” and to “make disciples of all nations.”

Our message is the Good News that God loved us so much He sent His son to this earth on a rescue mission. Jesus who is fully God and fully man lived a perfect life, died a perfect death and rose again from the grave.

We need a national miracle to heal our political, racial and cultural divisions, and that miracle is found in the power of Jesus to change our hearts. Therefore, we commit to preach louder than our nation’s politics, and we aim to make the message of Jesus Christ transcend the monopoly of our media. We confess our only hope of unity is on the level ground at the foot of the cross of Jesus, and our only hope of healing is in the victory achieved through his empty tomb.

The gospel is the timeless, God-honored, God-ordained message that can change a human heart for time and eternity. We accept Jesus’ command to proclaim his message, wherever we are to whomever we are around.

Because 2017 is such a critical year for America, it must become the Year of Good News. Please share #YearofGoodNews with everyone you can.


Greg Laurie
Senior Pastor, Harvest Christian Fellowship.

Al Mohler
President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Anne Graham Lotz

Brian Brodersen
Senior Pastor, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa

David Jeremiah
Pastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church

Eric Metaxas
Author, Speaker, Radio Host

Franklin Graham
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

George Wood
General Superintendent, Assemblies of God

Jack Graham
Pastor, Prestonwood Church

James Dobson
Author, Family Talk with James Dobson

James MacDonald
Founder and Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel

Joe Focht
Senior Pastor, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia

Joel Rosenberg

Kevin Ezell
President, North American Mission Board (NAMB)

Levi Lusko
Pastor, Fresh Life Church

Max Lucado

OS Hawkins
President, Guidestone Financial Resources

Randy Alcorn

Robert Morris
Pastor, Gateway Church

Ronnie Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Skip Heitzig
Founder and Senior Pastor, Calvary of Albuquerque

Steve Gaines
President, Southern Baptist Convention

Go to and add your voice to the respected evangelical leaders listed above.