EMPOWER 2024: Pastor’s powerful testimony headlines CP luncheon

“In 45 years of marriage and 40 years of pastoral ministry, it never ceases to amaze me to see how God moves,” says John Meador, lead pastor of Cross City Church in Euless, during the 2024 Empower Cooperative Program luncheon on Tuesday, Feb. 27. SBTC PHOTO

IRVING—John Meador, lead pastor of Cross City Church in Euless, offered a simple-yet-powerful reminder to the capacity crowd at the Cooperative Program luncheon on the final day of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention 2024 Empower Conference: “God is faithful.”

Meador delivered the luncheon’s keynote address, sharing personal stories of God’s faithfulness from his 17.5 years at Cross City—although he admitted having experienced God’s provision at every church he has served.

“In 45 years of marriage and 40 years of pastoral ministry, it never ceases to amaze me to see how God moves,” Meador said, “ … to move people’s hearts to give in such a way that churches are funded, pastors are paid, mission dollars are sent, and missionaries share the gospel all over the world.”

He shared how at previous churches where he served, he had seen God enable congregations to pay off massive debt incurred before his arrival. Cross City’s story provided a more recent illustration of God’s faithfulness as the church embarked on a 2016 reset.

In 2004, Cross City—then known as First Euless—had $6.7 million in debt with no repayment plan and no lead pastor. Bill Anderson, a former pastor, returned as interim and challenged the congregation to give more, restore missions giving, and retire the debt. When Meador arrived as pastor in 2006, he said he realized the wisest thing he could do was allow the momentum to continue that had already been established through a renewed effort to give.

Within 28 months, the church was debt free. “We burned the note,” Meador recalled.

By 2016, Cross City was giving more than 20% to missions, with at least 10% going to the Cooperative Program. Yet building renovations were needed and the reset vision involving significant ministry expansion—including a northwest Tarrant County campus—would cost $30 million, four times the church’s budget.

Meador said he recommended temporarily reducing CP giving from 10% to 7%. Then a church member called him.

“Faith is not doing less. It’s doing more and expecting God to accomplish what He wants,” the godly man told the pastor.

After three sleepless, prayer-filled nights, Meador returned to the committees he asked to slash the missions budget and admitted he was wrong, promising never again to ask for a reduction.

“It was a decision that needed to be made,” he said. “The question to ask [is]: How do we trust God in all of our decisions so that the decision is financial but faith-oriented?”

After extensive planning, Meador and Cross City launched its Generations campaign, sharing the master plan in 2019. By March 1, 2020, people prepared their commitments to the campaign. Then COVID hit and, beginning in mid-March, the church paused in-person worship for 11 weeks.

“It was not a comfortable way to begin a fundraising campaign,” Meador said.

But God provided miraculously, despite the pandemic. “It was a humbling and awesome time,” Meador said. With God’s provision and through the generosity of His people, the church received $7.5 million in unexpected designated giving, as well as other funds raised through the sale of some church property. This opened the door for the church to move forward with its efforts to launch a satellite campus and fund other ministry efforts related to the reset.

“We saw God fully provide everything we needed and do more while we gave more to missions,” Meador said. “God is truly able to make all grace abound to us.”

It’s not lost on Meador that Cross City might have missed such a blessing because of his own willingness to consider giving less to missions.

“One phone call made me walk by faith,” he said. “ … Trust God with your decisions. Trust God with the money He has provided. He is able to do above and beyond all that we could ask or think.”

In closing the luncheon, SBTC Executive Director Nathan Lorick encouraged churches by reminding them CP giving contributes to advancing the gospel across Texas, the nation, and the world.

“The Cooperative Program is the only thing under God’s kingdom where you can be where you are and all around the world at the same time,” Lorick said. “It is not a program. It is a people.

“In a day in which culture would say step out, I am asking you to lean in.”

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