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Alumni Update | Mitchell Cruit

By Mitchell Cruit

Dear Creekside,

In the three years since we left Creekside and I became the Lead Pastor of Northwood Community Church so much has happened. One way of telling that story would be to highlight the suffering, grief, and loneliness we’ve experienced. However, another way to tell that story would be to highlight the graciousness, faithfulness, and kindness of Jesus; it is this story I fight daily to see, believe, and tell others for his glory.

When we first came to Northwood, 135 people were gathering with us for worship; three years later 65 people continue to gather with us for worship. No pastor hopes to see a 50% decline in attendance in their first three years, and that’s only part of the story. The numbers don’t capture the surprising departures, the painful conversations, or the false accusations. Nor do they capture my anxiety or insecurity. But most of all they do not capture the gracious work of God.

The numbers don’t tell you how God has exposed the idolatry of ministry success and my need for security. They don’t tell you how God has led me deeper into Christ, as my greatest treasure and unshakeable hope. They don’t tell you how God has produced in me perseverance and joy. In the Lord’s tender kindness, I love him more, depend on him more, and resemble him more because of what he has brought us through.

Further, the numbers don’t tell you what God is doing in those who remain. In the last three years I’ve watched in wonder as the Holy Spirit gives our church:

  • a growing hunger for God’s Word personally and corporately;
  • a growing dependence on the Holy Spirit through prayer;
  • a growing unity with one another because of Christ;
  • a growing intimacy with one another as we deliberately encourage one another in Christ;
  • a growing vulnerability with one another as we speak honestly about our sin and struggles;
  • a growing burden for the lost as we conduct our lives with increased gospel intentionality;
  • and most importantly a growing love for Jesus and all that he accomplished for us through his life, death, and resurrection.
How has God done all this? To quote Martin Luther: “I did nothing: The Word did it all.” I truly believe that. The apostle John tells us “when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 Jn 3:2) Every page of Scripture reveals Jesus, and as our church’s public ministry and one-to-one ministry increasingly focuses on Jesus as he is revealed in his Word, we have become more like him. He is so gracious and kind!

So as you think of us, here is a few ways you can pray:

  1. Praise God for conforming our church increasingly into the image of Christ by his Word.
  2. Ask God to help me treasure Christ more than anyone or anything else so that I can persevere with joy for his glory.
  3. Ask God to empower our church to speak the gospel clearly and boldly so that we might see people come to new life in Christ.
  4. Ask the Lord to send laborers to Northwood for the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. (College students, as you pray for this, I’d invite you to consider whether God is sending you as one of those laborers to join us in the work God is doing in Clearwater.)
Thank you for your love, support, and especially your prayers.

Your Partner in the Gospel,
Mitchell Cruit, Lead Pastor
Northwood Community Church