“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” - Dr. Seuss
The framework for our philosophy of ministry comes from writing and teachings of the 19th Century reformer, John Wesley. Part of Wesley’s genius was his ability to avoid extremes and instead to keep in tension differing values. The graphic below is representative of these two tensions and how these are played out in our lives.
Our aspiration is to be a church who holds in tension the values of loving God and loving people and of our response as individuals and our response as a community. When we hold these four values in tension, we are at the “crosspoint” where we believe healthy Christian spirituality thrives.
The first tension that we are holding is between loving God and loving people. When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (John 22:37-39; NIV)
The danger for anyone (or any church) is to lean too far into one extreme or the other. If we focus too much on simply loving God, it can lead to becoming a hermit or desert mystic who spends time in worship and contemplation but never engages the city.
The other extreme is to love the city through activism and compassion but to never have a relational connection to the God of the universe. The healthy tension point, we believe, is the balance between both loving God and loving others.
The second tension is between the individual and the community OR between our “personal” relationship with Jesus and our relationship with Jesus “together.”
One extreme of this tension views our faith as “just between me and Jesus.” This is a particularly American phenomenon because our culture believes so strongly in the value of the individual. This extreme often leads to spiritual narcissism that can drift outside of the bounds of orthodox Christianity. The ancient Hebrews used to say, “Iron sharpens iron” to remind themselves of the transforming power of a healthy community.
The other extreme views faith as something we do together, but it does not affect our daily lives. “Cultural Christianity” is a common expression of this extreme – people who check the box of “Christian” but who have never had an experience with Jesus or had their lives shaped by Him in any significant way.
CrossPoint’s goal is to find the tension between these four extremes. The center is the point where we find the balance of our faith. We keep balance by practicing our faith in all four quadrants: