Sunday Lessons – Protestors & Grace

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Sunday Lessons post but I couldn’t help but share this one with you…

As many of you may have heard Cross Point was “blessed” to be listed on the Westboro Baptist Church picket list this week.  And when I say “blessed” I actually mean it.  While this frustrating disruption required a great deal of extra work this week in preparing our team and our congregation, it became an amazing opportunity for us to remind ourselves and everyone who attends Cross Point, why we believe what we believe.  We were able to do more to cast vision and inspire people to Christ-likeness in one week than we could in our normal routine.

Here’s the video our pastor shared all week leading up to Sunday:

Message From Pete Wilson // Sunday July 15th 2012 from Cross Point Church on Vimeo.

Westboro did show up (although rather briefly) along with several other anti-protest groups, as well as nearly every news station and the local paper.  There was one point where I just looked around and thought, “no one ever prepares you for this part of ministry leadership.”

In reflection, here are a few things that I learned as a leader through this experience:

  • Every event is an opportunity to cast vision and remind people of who God has called us to be.
  • Creating a response plan and coaching our staff and volunteers through it was a great exercise in preparation.  We may not always have a week’s notice for these kinds of things, but we’ll be even more ready next time.
  • Not everything is controllable but how you respond will give you a great deal of influence.  The media were extraordinary kind and honoring to us in all the coverage.
  • Don’t ever underestimate the weight that your senior leader carries.  Pete was previously committed to speak at another church yesterday and was not able to be at Cross Point for these activities.  Yesterday I experienced just a glimpse of the weight that he must feel in leading our church week in and week out.  I knew that every word I said, every action I took and every direction I gave would impact the thousands who attend and the countless who were watching how we handled this situation.  I’m grateful for a pastor who trusted me to lead yesterday but even more grateful that I serve under his leadership everyday!

What’s the most challenging leadership situation you’ve led through?

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  • tam July 16, 2012  

    Saw one of the news stories on it last night. I thought you spoke so eloquently and lovingly in the interview. Well done, Jenni.

    • jennicatron July 16, 2012  

      I was sweating it a bit, but the media were really kind to us.  Thank you friend!

  • Willy Maxwell July 16, 2012  


    It speaks very highly of your leadership that Pete entrusted this weekend to you!  I for one and proud to serve alongside you and all the staff at Cross Point!

    It’s times like this past week that can reveal cracks in the armor of organizations and I am so proud to see that, not only were they no real cracks, but the true vision and mission that God has put us on shined bright!

    Thank you for your leadership!

    • jennicatron July 16, 2012  

       Thanks Willy!  We’re blessed with a great team.

  • turner_bethany July 16, 2012  

    Jenni, I have loved watching (through social media) how you all handled this situation. Even though it is not fun to be the target of the hatred Westboro shows, it does mean you and the team at Cross Point must be doing something right. 

    • jennicatron July 16, 2012  

       Thanks Bethany!  You are such a wonderful encourager and supporter.

  • Janice July 16, 2012  

    Wow, Jenni.  I had no idea down here in Georgia of what was in store for you guys.  You definitely manifested God’s workmanship through this situation.  May He continue to bless you, Pete and all of Crosspoint as you consistently display the love of Jesus!

    • jennicatron July 16, 2012  

       Thank you, Janice!  Your son was pretty involved too 🙂

  • Julie Pierce July 16, 2012  

    jenni – loved each of the learnings you shared – particularly “not everything is controllable but how you respond will give you a great deal of influence” – so true! Thankful for your gracious and courageous leadership!

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  • Dfrazier July 18, 2012  

    Thanks for being an entrustable leader! Pastor Pete preached at my church last weekend ( and our community was blessed and challenged by what he taught. Praying that you tangibly experience God’s delight over you in these days!