Church crosses the airwaves to reach people for Christ

Church crosses the airwaves to reach people for Christ
Tim and Terri Steele

Church planter Tim Steele is ready to take Cross Waves Church worldwide.

Cross Waves Church is an alternative church experience that shares the same mission as all evangelical churches, to make more and better disciples. Yet, you will not find a steeple or an educational wing at Cross Waves Church. What Cross Waves Church lacks in physical facilities is made up in its passion to follow the Great Commission in making disciples.

Cross Waves Church moves away from a traditional brick-and-mortar church that church strategists believe can reach only 40 percent of Americaʼs population. Therefore, if 60 percent of America will never go to church, then Cross Waves Church goes to them. Steele started Cross Waves Church as a home church network that goes where the other 60 percent of Americans are, in their living rooms. With some help from technology, Cross Waves Church brings music, weekly messages and discussion questions to people’s living rooms.

By changing the setting, it allows people who have no church background to accept invitations to people’s homes for dinner and to study the Bible. Using the Internet, Steele’s sermons are streamed into the home along with discussion questions. These questions allow people to dialogue about the Bible that helps in their understanding of the Bible. Since Cross Waves Church does not have a need for rented facilities, the goal is for the church to support itself for a third of the cost of a traditional church plant needs.

“It’s just a New Testament church on steroids,” the church planter said. “We meet in homes, we break bread together; we do everything the New Testament church did.”

“We started developing the concept in 2011,” said Steele, a native of Michigan and a church planting missionary with the North American Mission Board. “We launched in September, 2012.” Eight groups—including one in Kansas—already have come under the Cross Waves umbrella.

An epiphany came to Steele in early 2011 at a Detroit church. The church was raising money for a well in Niger, Africa, when the church’s roof began to leak. The church put approximately $80,000 into fixing the roof, which hindered raising money for the Niger well fund.

“Seeing that amount of money going into maintenance of a facility started my thinking,” Steele said. “How much more ministry could be done if facility financial demands were not an issue?”

The church’s discipleship paradigm is developed around Cross Waves Church’s three core values.

Those values are:

· Discipleship happens best in the context of relationships 

Cross Waves believes that spiritual training happens best within the context of relationships. Jesus taught the 12 disciples in the context of relationships. Therefore, Cross Waves home groups (they call them Together Groups) mirror the small group setting that Jesus instituted to train His disciples.

Together Groups meet weekly in homes where someone has volunteered to be the host. The format of a Together Group is to have a meal, a time of sharing, singing and a Bible message from Steele via the Internet. Then as a group, discuss what that passage of Scripture means to them personally. Worshipping in a Together Group emphasizes relationships.

“Teens just love what we do,” Steele said. “They feel like theyʼre learning and being part of the process. We provide a weekly downloaded lesson for children through the sixth grade. Cross Waves participants also receive daily devotionals that tie into Pastor Steeleʼs weekly message.

· Ministry happens best in the context of teams 

Jesus sent His followers out to minister in teams of two or more. Therefore, each Together Group serves together within their neighborhoods. Each Together Group chooses service projects that help bring the reality of the gospel of grace closer to the lives of those around them. Serving in a Together Group emphasizes teamwork.

· Resources should go to people, not places. 

Since Cross Waves uses homes as their meeting spaces, they use much of their financial contributions to fund community service projects and to send people on short-term mission trips around the world. The funds that usually go to church facility purchases and maintenance is used for missions instead. Therefore, half of the money given to Cross Waves Church is designated between the SBC Cooperative Program, community service and short-term mission trips. The goal of the church is to someday function on 10 percent of tithes and offerings and put 90 percent into ministry.

“We have not found anybody combining the best of the traditional church, house church, and internet church like we are, which allows us to maximize the use of offerings like we do,” Steele said. “We are not better than other churches, just different; doing our part in following the Great Commission.”

Cross Waves Church is a unique church plant since it’s much less expensive to start than a traditional brick-and-mortar church and is not confined to a geographical location. Most of the people currently attending Cross Waves were not attending church at all before their introduction to a Together Group. For many, it is easier to explore the Bible at someoneʼs home than a church building.

Cross Waves Church is now seeking to partner with churches and SBC associations that want to start new congregations but lack the funds for a building or a church planter.

Adapted from an article in the Baptist Beacon. Contact Pastor Tim Steele on Facebook (Cross Waves Church), Twitter (@WavesCross), and the web (

Date Created: 4/11/2013 12:06:34 AM

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