Dr. John Cross became a follower of Jesus when he was 11 years old while at church camp. Just three years later, God began to tug on his heart with a call to the ministry. By the age of 17, he began preaching.
He graduated from Mercer University in 1986 and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in 1990 and a Doctor of Ministry Degree in 2006. He served on staff with churches in Georgia and Texas during his years of formal preparation for ministry.
In June of 1990, John became the senior pastor of South Biscayne Baptist Church in North Port, Florida a retirement community with about 12,000 people. The church was comprised mostly of senior adults, yet they had the vision to reach the next generation. They transitioned from being a program-driven church to becoming an intentionally evangelistic church by shifting the spiritual focus, vision, leadership, and church culture. God blessed the church with exponential evangelistic growth! By God’s grace, and for His glory, thousands of people of all ages and stages of life became followers of Jesus and were baptized! Outgrowing the original facilities, the church relocated from 10,400 square feet of buildings on 5.3 acres to a 52,000 square feet facility on 28 acres.
Special evangelistic events were leveraged, such as the annual Southwest Florida Christmas Spectacular, Easter weekend celebrations, an annual Freedom Celebration, camps for students and children, Vacation Bible Schools, concerts, and more. Age-graded ministries for everyone from infants to senior adults were established and global mission partnerships in Argentina, France, Brazil, and Ukraine were developed. Throughout the nearly three decades of his leadership, dozens of staff and interns were recruited, trained, and sent out to serve local churches.
In 2009, he met and married his wife Dawn, who was a widow with five children. John adopted Courtney, Brooke, Hope, Blake, and Kirk. The family continued to serve the Lord together at the church.
In 2017 Dr. John Cross joined the staff at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas with Senior Pastor Ed Young. He serves as the President of C3 Global Network, which seeks to encourage and equip pastors and church leaders through webinars, roundtables, one-on-one mentoring, and the annual international C3 Leadership Conference. He also leads the Fellowship Church location pastors and serves in several other capacities. He preaches some at Fellowship Church and at other churches as well.
Other Ministry Opportunities:
God has given John the opportunities to speak and train pastors in numerous states and global mission opportunities in Canada, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Kenya, Romania, Argentina, Ecuador, Turkey, Ukraine, Haiti, Costa Rica, India, and Norway.
He has also served in numerous denominational roles. He was the President of the Florida Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference in 1994. He was the President of the Florida Baptist State Convention in 2009 and 2010.
Five Ministry Core Values:
Spiritual Formation: Ministry and mission spring from an ever-growing and developing walk with Jesus. All of life must be built upon the never-changing Word of God and empowered by the Spirit of God. Prayer is foundational. Life and ministry must be rooted and grounded in Christ.
Vision: His clear and convictional belief is that God’s call upon his life is to reach as many people possible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His prayer is to glorify God by helping people find and follow Jesus by making disciples who make disciples.
Leadership: As a pastor, his primary responsibilities begin with interceding for the people of God, then feeding them the Word of God and leading them in the will of God. His approach to discipleship is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. Every member of the body of Christ has an important function to fulfill. As each person discovers their gift and deploys that gift within the church, the needs of the church body are met.
Culture: Having an atmosphere that is faith-filled and believing God will do something beyond one’s ability to ask or think is crucial for a church to reach her potential. A church must reflect the vision and values of Jesus. That means being intentional about reaching those far from God. It is demonstrated in the attitudes and actions of the church.
Excellence: A desire for excellence in every area of the church is theologically and biblically driven. This includes items such as staffing, volunteers, the church website, facilities, social media presence, ministries, worship experiences, special events, and operating systems. The church represents God in the world and therefore should develop systems that best reflect God and His character to a lost world.