Partners in Hope: North Cross UMC
North Cross United Methodist Church is a unique local congregation. Sitting on a bus line between two interstates in the Gladstone/KC North area, many in need step through their doors. Pastor Shawn Franssens spoke about this with passion. “Our goal, together, is to take a step closer to Christ. No one has it all figured out. We constantly ask ourselves, ‘how can we come alongside others?,’ because this life is all about relationship. We believe that it is no accident that we are at this particular place at this particular time.”
The leadership of North Cross shared that they had for years been identifying their partnerships and passion, as the church does. Just a few years ago they recognized that the church, through formed partnerships and commitments to various missions, had chosen to direct their support to one common theme: people experiencing hunger and homelessness in their community.
“One of the most important and intentional shifts we made at that point,” shared Pastor Shawn, “was to clearly identify that these are people. They are not ‘the hungry’ and they are not ‘the homeless.’ They are people, just like you and me, experiencing hunger and homelessness, just as we experience hardship, brokenness, illness, and suffering. We all have worth. We are all “experiencing” something.”
Chris Sams, pastor of congressional life at North Cross, joined in on the conversation to share that “we’re just ordinary people trying to make an extraordinary impact in the world.” He went on to say that this means single, married, wealth, impoverished, young, and old. “God is constantly reminding us, through the needs of our community and the people we encounter, that we need to be here for others,” explained Pastor Chris.
Yet, with all this heavy conversation, Pastor Shawn made it clear that North Cross is goofy, enjoyable group. “We take God seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously.” Their tagline is “Play, Learn, Share” and they live this through the preaching, teaching, interactions, work, and community. “We believe it’s good to have fun, even in church!” Pastor Shawn explained. This is how the relationships happen, how people endure, families grow, and joy becomes the reality.
“Church is all of us coming together to be something we couldn’t be ourselves,” stated Pastor Chris. “We hope to invest in each other’s’ lives at North Cross and throughout the Northland,” expounded Pastor Shawn. This is what it means to be #BetterTogether.
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