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Matt Crosser, Engagement Minister: online and family discipleship

The Engagement Minister will help our online community love God, love others, and serve together through media, creative relationship-building, engaging content, and Gospel-touched intentionality, and will also equip families to follow Jesus.


Why

Staying true to God’s mission sometimes requires us to adjust our plans. When a crowd made it difficult for Jesus to be heard, he turned a boat into a stage. When Paul was imprisoned, he wrote letters to communicate. Currently, about 65% of our church family is joining us online every week. About 85% of our church family is connecting with us online at varying times. Growing in this area meets current needs and offers numerous opportunities. The world of technology changes by the second, which means we’ll need to constantly be making changes to our websites and helping people adjust their devices to connect.


Even without a Pandemic, the potential to reach people through digital media is exponential. Crisis is an accelerator of cultural trends. We’ve witnessed the acceleration of online ministry.


We’ve heard from many people who are being richly and uniquely blessed through our online ministry. Folks who suffer from chronic health challenges, care for ailing loved ones, work in the medical field, or serve during our live events feel MORE connected than ever. This is not normal for many churches. The difference is that Matt has unique skills and instincts that have allowed him to cover our online experience with pastoral care. Being able to dedicate the majority of his time to this work will only grow this ministry and serve our other ministries.


Parents are the primary spiritual leaders of their children. We desire to help people lead their families (and their family friends) towards Christ.


Due to the Pandemic and Matt’s Sabbatical, it’s hard to imagine a better time to make this transition.


After a long season of prayer and thinking, The Elders, the Staff, and Matt agreed that this was the wisest move for all of us.


Responsibilities


Equip a team to shepherd and disciple online participants before, during, and after events


Find ways to help the online participants connect with others and serve


-Maintain the website as a helpful tool and rich resource

-Oversee online church and digital components for other discipleship events

-Stay informed on online church practices and digital media

-Prepare special online events to draw people to God and community

-Assist other HP ministries with digital needs

-Communicate and coordinate with both the Lead Minister and the Worship Minister, so that events have maximum impact for our live and digital audiences

-Equip HP folks to spiritually lead their families and the friends connected with their families

-Partner with the Youth and Children’s Ministry teams to enhance family discipleship

-Facilitate care for Foster and Adoptive families


What About Youth Ministry?

We deeply value Youth Ministry. The Pandemic and Matt’s Sabbatical created a strange Youth Ministry rhythm this Fall. However, our volunteer team has led admirably and our students are growing and inviting friends. With the combined efforts of volunteers, student leaders, and Staff, we’re positioned to continue helping students grow in the Lord. Along with what’s already happening, the following components are being added:

-Gabrielle and the Worship Arts Team will be leading special nights of worship for our students.

-Gabrielle will be training students to learn how to lead a Bible study. (This training will be done individually or in pairs.)

-Brian and also the Outreach Team will be launching several efforts to connect with students through basketball and community resources.

-Matt will provide helpful resources and information as needed.


Wasn’t Matt already leading the online stuff?

Matt labored for countless hours last Spring to launch and develop our online church platform (which made it possible for people to engage with our worship services from home). However, it’s not a part-time job. Asking him to do this, while still leading our Youth Ministry, was not a viable or healthy long-term option. His new role will let him devote more time to increasing digital discipleship. In the months to come, he’ll also devote time to equipping parents – something we’ve wanted to emphasize more.


Will we hire another Youth Minister or make more staff changes?

Our team of volunteers, with added support from other Staff members, will lead our Youth Ministry. It’s likely that we’ll bring a Summer Intern to serve with us, and it’s possible that we’ll have someone in a part-time or full-time YM role in the future. However, that’s not our focus right now. We’re committed to this season, while knowing we’ll be flexible moving forward.


Is the Staff ok?

Highland Park has a long history of caring well for our ministry staff. Thanks! We knew this would be a question many would ask. The answer is, “Yes.” We’re good, mostly. This year has been crazy and challenging, but we’re embracing the need to change plans in order to stay true to the mission. This transition impacts every Staff member in different ways. We’re all modifying roles, shifting some plans, and making sure we stay unified.

Matt and Angie have experienced a massive amount of loss, trauma, and challenge over the past decade. God brought them a giant heaping of healing and rest during the Sabbatical. We’re so thankful that the Sabbatical offered them a time to grow with their newly adopted children. And we’re thankful for the rest they experienced. Matt took about three weeks to pray and dialogue about this potential transition. He’ll deeply miss Youth Ministry, but he recognizes that his new role is uniquely suited for him. He looks forward to serving alongside some of our students and being able to encourage them personally in the future.


If I have a Youth Ministry question, whom should I contact?

You can contact the office or Beth Jennings. We’ll be able to answer your question or help you find what you need. You can also look on the website and get the text updates.


When does this start?

Now, but everyone is committed to working together to make sure we don’t drop anything.