Life Groups...why and how....

Hi everyone,

A few weeks ago, I shared with you all a broad overview of Life Groups, it’s purpose & meaning.  This week I wanted to provide more detailed information.  My prayer is everyone in our church joins a life group.  

Who can join a life group? 

Anyone and everyone, both believers & non believers of Jesus Christ.  

What are Life Groups?

To bring people together and share life together.  

Life Groups were created as environments that would be conducive to building two things:

  1. Authentic community

  2. A non-threatening place where open and honest dialogue about the faith journey can take place


Traditionally all Life Groups are held every 2 weeks.  


Any location the group unanimously decides. Generally speaking it’s at the home of the Life Group Leader.  


Scripture declares the first century church of the New Testament inActs 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

How do I join a Life Group? 

  1. Fill out a connect card check the box that says life group and write your contact info. Someone from the team will reach out to you.

  2. See the “next steps” table along the hall nearby the food & beverage area and sign up online.

  3. Sign up online at

Just around the corner(Life Groups)

Hi everyone, as we begin to gear up for life groups this coming fall I wanted to provide some context regarding life groups.  

Our mission at Cross Culture Church says, “We are a church of great neighbors that display and declare the good news of Jesus Christ.”  One of the ways we can share our story is through “Life Group” communities.   Life Groups have one simple purpose, to bring people together.  Sharing life through community is a part of our design, but meaningful relationships are not always easy to find. That is why Life Groups exist to make these life-changing relationships relevant and accessible.  

People participating in life together, in a small group setting, to become more like Christ is a classic ground breaking setting for the Holy Spirit to minister, encourage, inspire & motivate all races & ethnicity.  Life Groups were meant to do 2 things:

  1. Authentic community. We encourage everyone to connect with people you may or may not know where conversations are organic, real but also seasoned with God’s grace & mercy as we come together as one.

  2. A non threatening place. Jesus paid it all at the cross. Romans chapter 8 verse 1 declares: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

You might be thinking I have nothing to offer a life group...I don’t have a dynamic testimony, or a mind blowing encouraging word to say to somebody as a matter of fact I’m just ordinary...  100% Not true!  It’s a lie from the enemy.  You are an individual specifically created by God’s design, his finger print is all over your life, he has breathed the breath of life inside you.  God wants to use your unique story and creative energy in a life group setting for his Glory.  

I will be back next week for part 2 stay tuned...

The trap of convenience..

The trap of convenience 

Convenience is such an attractive thing as a leader. It is aligned with the, “Let’s make things easier and faster in life,” mentality. Don't be fooled convenience has its traps. Let's identify 3 of the biggest traps.

  1. Convenience doesn't equal efficiency. One of the greatest lies of our current culture is short time spent can equal better productivity. Take food for example. For me, food is an immediate comfort. Where is the best place to find immediate comfort,,,,Fast Food. Everyone can watch enough youtube videos to know, food is fuel and also crucial when it comes to the variables we control for producing a healthy long life. The time we save in fast food is nothing compared to the time we lose on a long healthy full life physically.#fitnessjourney. What conveniences are you chasing after that really aren’t leading to efficiency. Delegating tasks without the time of support? Cutting corners that others bump into?

  2. Convenience can surrender conviction. Sam Chand author of Leadership Pain says, ““The art of leadership is understanding what you can’t compromise on.” To become a better leader doing whats easy in the moment never turns out well. It always becomes harder and harder. Convenience leads us to choose what’s easy in the moment at the expense of doing the right thing. Convenience can lead to the old snowball effect. It keeps getting bigger and bigger as it goes down hill. That is what convenience can do. Its easier to let it roll down a hill then to stop it or push it back up. The problem is convenience can lead to a negative momentum and a crash at the bottom. I remember when I was in one of those busy seasons and noticed a team mate constantly cutting corners and doing the bare minimum. I wasn’t too busy to notice but I was to “busy” to address it. I let my conviction of doing things well surrender to the convenience of what was easy. Long story short I had to let that team mate go after, the way I see it, I let 5 families go right before frustrated with that team mate  because I allowed this teammate to cut corners and not care well. I wasn't a good leader and 5 families may never set foot in the doors of a church again and this teammate felt caught off guard and is bitter towards me because I did what was convenient. It was at the point I had to face the giant snowball that would have been easier to pick up way earlier on . I’d much rather see someone leave because of my conviction then my convenience leading to failure. 

  3. Convenience hinders distance for the sake of speed. A few months ago I was talking to Cross Culture Church Men’s Director Chris Skalicky and he brought up how important the process of farming is in leadership. That some things can’t be sped up and when they are they die or fail. The true agricultural cycle is the annual cycle of activities related to the growth and harvest of a crop (Plant.) These activities include loosening the soil, seeding, special watering, moving plants when they grow bigger, and harvesting, among others. They have to be done at the right time, in the right place at the right speed. It can’t be forced. Geoff Surratt an overseer at CCC reminded me while at dinner a few weeks ago, that my role as a pastor was less about pastoring a church for fast numerical growth and more about going far through pastoring our city as a whole. That is how the Kingdom is brought to earth. This principle applies to parenting when trying to teach or accomplish something with our children. It can never be about quickly finishing the task, but the relationship between you and your children going far because of how you taught and the connection that was made for future teaching opportunities. I coach baseball for my boys and it always amazes me how even I get upset over a 5 year old not getting a hit. I have learned that me acting right should always trump the kid getting a hit. Questions like am I encouraging them, creating a safe environment for kids to learn and helping them achieve becoming better than they were before are more important then tomahawk hits. Convenient short term success never lasts but acting right, at the right time and in the right place does.

Overcoming the traps of convenience includes taking time to do it right upfront, sticking to your convictions and going far.  This week choose the latter. It may not be easy but you won’t be trapped. Jesus set us free and elevated us into the pace of eternity through the inconvenience(understatement) of the cross. Good things take time. Barry Cameron always tells me, “Keep showing up. Keep doing what’s right. Watch what God does!” 

See you Sunday,

Michael Winakur

School Closure Support

Friends and Family,

I can imagine with this morning’s news on top of yesterday you are anxious and at unease. For many of you, you not only have the memories and emotions from the past when you were younger, but you have to counsel and encourage your children and family members. 

Questions that might be going through your mind....
*What do I say? *What will my kids hear at school? *How do I feel? *What does this mean for the future?
*Why is there evil in this world? 

These are all needed questions. While talking to a few fellow ministers this morning I received some solid advice I’d like to share with you. These aren’t the only answers but it I hope it helps. 

1) Oxygen mask: Take a moment and go into the other room or a different room if you can and figure out what you are feeling. Call someone to talk through it. Figure out what you are feeling first and come to your family with some clarity. Spend some time praying.

2) When you are ready talk to your kids consider your audience: Each age group and dynamic of who you talk to is important. 

Younger kids: 
When talking to younger kids keep it very short and light. i.e. “The school is awesome they just had some concerns about safety and it’s so smart to be safe. I’m so grateful for our schools and law enforcement always wanting to keep us safe.” Stay positive and don’t freak them out. If they ask , “safety from what” then be honest and say you don’t know specifically. It’s important here to not have the news on or show them pictures. Images can be way more scary then words. Pray with them, thanking God for awesome people that work hard to keep them safe. 

I was a youth pastor for many years with preteens and teens. They are very smart. With them it’s important to not gloss over it or ignore their feelings. Ask them how they are feeling about it all. If you relate tell them you get it. Take a similar approach with the younger kids but with room to talk more about it if need be. Encourage them that we need wisdom when it comes to all safety. Say you are thankful for the school and law enforcements using wisdom to keep us safe. Pray with them and thank God you can talk to Him about everything even your fears and thank Him for wisdom and the brave men and women who work hard to keep us safe. 

Check with them in a few days. How is it going? How you feeling? Have you thanked your teachers and law enforcement etc. 


With teens it is important to know the dynamic of your teens ability to walk through fear and emotions. Seek first to understand. Listen to and help them talk through their emotions. Remember make sure you are in a good place to do this. If applied, bring in both parents or a friend to help talk through it. After you talk through their feelings, ask them what a good response to to their feelings and the situation could be. Listen and learn they might have insight you don’t. Offer different responses that would be good. After they talk, affirm their safety and once again gratefulness for those who work hard to keep us safe. This is a good time to remind the kids to say thank you to their teachers, principles, law enforcement etc. Pray with them and talk to God about it and thank God for your teenager and their ability to talk through things. Highlight their positive responses. Thank God for the men and women that work hard to keep us safe. 

3) Be a great neighbor: Community is key. Knowing the people you spend most of your day with and live near is important for safety. Using this as an opportunity to get to know the parents of your kid’s friends is important overall. Take a minute today and walk next door or stop and say hello to someone who’s outside in your neighborhood. Get to know their name. We put on BBQs and events in our community for people to get to know each other to provide a positive and safe community.  

4) Be a stakeholder: This is your community, your kid’s school, and your home. Claim it and get involved. We are all too quick to run away, instead stand firm and make our home a better place. Sadly in a broken world with evil there are issues everywhere. Invest in yourselves, others and community to provide a better place. Our goal is to bring the ways of Jesus to earth. That is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self control and more. 

We are praying with you and for you. Let us know how we can support

You Now Have a Marriage Ministry

In the US, there is on average one divorce about every 36 seconds. That's nearly 876,000 divorces a year. The divorce rate only increases as the number of marriages increases, for a couple in their 3rd marriage, the divorce rate is 73%. It's worth knowing that the only thing bringing down the rate of divorce in the country is the fact that fewer people are getting married. More and more people see marriage as something to opt-out of in life.

Financial troubles, miscommunication, affairs, and addictions make getting through life together harder than ever. Not even considering that at any moment you can log onto social media and see some of your "couple friends" doing well, while other couples are calling it quits after one year, three years, even eight years of marriage. We look at our relationships, and wonder, "Can we make it?"

"YES! You can have a GREAT marriage." At Cross Culture we want to be a church of great neighbors, and we appreciate that our closest neighbor is our spouse. So we want to be a church of great marriages actively displaying God's love to our spouses. We kicked off our marriage ministry with a survey of the community and found that the marriages in our church are relatively young and are in good condition. There have been past hurts and a lack of diligence to care for one another in some relationships, and I say that so you know as you read this that you're not alone. 

"we want to be a church of great marriages actively displaying God's love to our spouses."

We have a plan: we will provide resources and tools that will help you have a successful marriage, heal wounds and grow closer together. For example, we will consistently host Marriage Gatherings, an opportunity for couples to connect with others couples. Being together in this intimate group, we help build hope, strength, and joy into marriages with practical lessons and life-changing true stories from other couples. 

We host fun events that enhance intimacy, renew passion, and refresh relationships; events like our upcoming Marriage Social on Saturday, November 10th. Lastly, we have marriage mentors! 82% of couples report wanting to have a mentor couple walk with them, and research shows that couples who have marriage mentors are happier and healthier. 

“82% of couples report wanting to have a mentor couple walk with them."

We want to be a church of great marriages, and we will accomplish this by helping couples maximize their relationships, going from good to excellent, and repair what broke, so life together can be more fulfilling and in harmony.  We started this post with some disturbing statistics. You don't have to be one of those statistics. We're here to help, plug into this community and take advantage of the exceptional resources, tools, events, and connections we have in place to see your marriage succeed.