Distinctives of Crossway

Some of the ways that our core values and priorities shape how we live and worship...

1. Expository preaching

We are committed to preaching the whole counsel of God through practical verse-by-verse preaching and teaching of the Bible. Expository preaching means that (1) the main point of the Scripture text is the main point of the sermon; (2) the outline of the sermon reflects the grammatical outline/logic of the Scripture text; and (3) the sermon is filled with exhortation and application. Application is required since the preacher is responsible to teach others to observe Christ's commandments (not merely "understand" His commandments) and to "prescribe and teach" (1 Timothy 4:11). The goal of expository preaching is to explain what the Scripture means by what it says.

2. Biblical counseling

We confidently believe the truth of the Bible, applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit, is sufficient for all matters of life and godliness for those who truly know Christ as Savior (2 Peter 1:3). God's Word is living and active, can expose our hearts (Hebrews 4:12), and is able to equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). There are no personal or interpersonal problems that the Bible fails to address either through general or specific principles. Our counseling involves giving loving biblical instruction and making practical application of the truth to each person, with the goal of becoming more like Jesus Christ.

3. A plurality of spiritual leadership

Crossway is led by a plurality of elders who are considered to be true equals. Each elder is a pastor with varied shepherding responsibilities within the body. The function of elders is to lead, oversee, teach, and shepherd the flock of God under the authority of the Lord Jesus. This leadership must come with input and accountability from the congregation. The elders direct the affairs of the church through prayer, study and teaching of the Word, and careful communication with the congregation. The office of elder is reserved for men. The central passages that teach this are: Titus 1:5-9, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Hebrews 13:7, 17, and 1 Peter 5:1-5.

Deacons are also raised up by the Lord to assist the elders in caring for the body of Christ. See Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Timothy 3:8-12.  For more information on leadership at Crossway, click here.

4. Teaching the whole gospel of Christ

As ambassadors, stewards, heralds, and servants of the gospel we are responsible to teach others the message given to us by God. To be faithful, we must be careful in our presentation of the gospel to avoid watering down the truth or leaving out certain truths that might not be easy for people to receive. Our proclamation of the gospel must include more than an explanation of God's love, mercy, and grace. It must include more than the gospel as simply a "free gift." In our proclamation of the gospel we must also explain the God-glorifying truth that He is holy, righteous, and just. We must explain that men are sinful, lawless, and helpless. Though the gift of eternal life is free in the sense that man cannot earn it, it is also true that it costs everything. A man must deny himself, take up His cross, and daily follow Christ, His Savior and Master. Our goal is to teach the whole gospel of Christ in order that the brilliant glory of Christ would cause men to worship Him!

5. Fully training Christians for effective, practical ministry

Pastors/elders are responsible to equip the saints for the work of service. It is essential that pastors are both gifted to teach and exemplary in character in order that they may be able to fully train others for the work of the ministry.

Elders must "prescribe and teach" Scripture as well as show themselves to be examples for others to follow (1 Timothy 4:11-12). They are to take the truth about the gospel and the ministry of the gospel and "entrust [this truth] to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2). He is to reproduce himself in his training and equipping of others. "Everyone, after he has been fully trained will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40). Fully training others to teach, counsel, and shepherd others is the objective for shepherds of God's flock. This highlights the importance of having spiritual, Christ-like leadership. Elders must be able to say, "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). The ultimate goal of ministry is to help people be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (see 2 Corinthians 3:18 and 1 John 3:2).

Our shepherds devote themselves to the Word and to prayer with the goal that they might reproduce their Christ-like character in others. We want to fully train faithful men (and women) to exposit the Scriptures, to effectively counsel the hurting, and to faithfully shepherd the sheep though patient exhortation, reproof, and encouragement.

6. Reproof and Restoration in the Church Body

The Scriptures provide instruction for reproving and restoring a sinning person within a local church. The Scriptural goals in offering reproof to a fellow believer in unrepentant sin include: (1) to bring about a return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Gal. 6:1); (2) to maintain purity in the local church (I Cor. 5:6); and, (3) to deter sin (I Tim. 5:20). Ultimately, the goal is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31).

Persons who persist in unrepentant sin in doctrine or conduct should be removed from the church according to Matthew 18:15-18. Before removal, however, the following steps should be followed:

1. It is the responsibility of any person in the church who has knowledge of the sinning person’s heresy or misconduct to warn and correct the sinning person privately, seeking his or her repentance and restoration (Matt. 18:15).

2. If the sinning person does not “listen,” or heed this warning, the warning person is responsible to go a second time to the sinning person, accompanied by one or two witnesses, to warn and correct the sinning person, seeking repentance and restoration (Matt. 18:16-17a).

3. If the sinning person still refuses to heed this warning, he must then hear from the whole church (Matt. 18:17). In light of the Scriptural teaching of church leadership (Heb. 13:17) and the need for order in the church (1 Cor. 14:40), the matter should be brought to the attention of the elders. The elders, upon careful and prayerful consideration, should inform the church so that the church collectively may warn the erring person, seeking repentance and restoration.

4. If the sinning person refuses to heed the warning of the elders and the church, the sinning person should be publicly removed from the church (Matt. 18:17).

At every step of the process outlined above, believers should demonstrate love, humility, gentleness, and compassion (Gal. 6:1-3; 2 Cor. 2:4).