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CrossLife is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Gifts are 100% tax-deductible as permitted by law. No goods or services are given in exchange for contributions.

For questions or assistance with giving, please contact us at reachout@crosslife.org or 281-606-5453

crosslifetoday.org is a ministry of CrossLife.
  • Jonathan Shumate

Why CrossLife?

Updated: Nov 19, 2018


As we spread the word about CrossLife and invite people to use our resources and partner with us, sometimes people want to know, “Why CrossLife?” What’s special about this ministry among all the ministries already out there? Our answer is two-fold:


1. There is vast unmet need in the church and the world for help in building up God-exalting families.

2. We both cast a vision for healthy marriages and families, and create original resources to equip you to make that vision a reality.


The Need

In our culture (and around the world), many marriages are floundering. Some are ending. And even the ones that survive often lack the intimacy, connectedness, and lasting health that people long for. People can see a partial vision of what they want in their relationship with their spouse—the desire to grow old and happy together, the desire to be more than business partners in the home, the desire to really know one another and be emotionally connected—but they don’t necessarily have the full picture, and they don’t know how to get there.


Within their families, people may desire to disciple and raise their children to be strong believers and contributors to society, but they don’t have a roadmap. They may have seen examples of what to do, or what not to do, in their families of origin, but they don’t know how to put this or that example into a big picture framework. Christians want to know how God wants us to parent, and how to pass on the faith to our children so it sticks. And the desires of nonbelievers to have a good relationship with their children and for their children to be healthy and happy can be a means of pointing them to Christ.


There is a vast need, in the church and in the culture at large, for help cultivating healthy marriages and families, and that need is not being met. Some churches have fantastic discipling and mentoring ministries as well as good, biblical resources to help families, and we applaud the work of these churches and seek to support them. However, many Christians are not involved in churches that have the time and vision to provide these relationships and resources. For unbelievers, the lack of help is even more stark. Without a Christian worldview, they don’t have the basic hope of the Gospel or the practical helps the Bible gives to cultivate a good marriage and family life.


In the United States, where we are abundantly blessed with ministries and resources, there are still very few ministries honing in on building up marriages and families. The ones that exist cannot possibly fill every need, and they each bring their own perspective, some solidly biblical and some not. As we can see by the marital and family brokenness all around us, within the church and outside it, the need has barely been touched.


The world is crying out for more help to cultivate life in this most core part of our identity: our families.


Around the world, there are few resources for Christians to grow in their marriages and families. There’s almost nothing available in most languages, even languages spoken by millions or billions of people. Given the incredible wealth of knowledge and training in this country, our heart at CrossLife is to share this wealth with the nations. Our translation and development of culturally appropriate resources in local languages, partnering with missionaries and overseas Christians, is one step toward helping the Church around the world build up mature disciples who carry on God’s work in their cultures.


CrossLife is meeting the heartfelt, core needs of Christians who want the kind of marriages and families that God designed us to have, which carry His glory and blessing to the farthest corners of the world.


Our Approach

CrossLife brings a fresh approach to these unmet needs by both a) casting a biblical vision for marriage and family and, b) equipping people by producing original tools and resources to carry out that vision.


In many ways, CrossLife is a disruptor of the status quo. The status quo in the American church has been that children learn what it means to be Christians when parents send them to Sunday School, youth group, and VBS. But that’s not biblical and it’s not effective at building up lasting faith in our children. While it is very important for children to be involved in church, learning from the community of faith, parents must not abdicate their role as the first and primary disciplers of their children. Our first job as parents is to raise up our children to know and love and follow the Lord.


Children’s ministry resources and curricula are almost exclusively produced for Sunday Schools and youth groups. There is very little available for parents to teach and train their children at home. As a result, many parents don’t know how to study the Bible with their children or train them in how to do it. They don’t know how to impart a Biblical worldview to their children that helps them navigate the messy difficulties of life in ways that please God. They may not even have the idea that this is what they’re meant to do.


At CrossLife, we are not only encouraging parents to disciple their children, we are helping them actually do it. Our current big ministry project is creating a study of the overarching story of God’s redemption in the Bible: For the Sake of His Name (an adaptation and further development of the participant guide already available on our website). This study is designed for parents studying the Bible with their children in the home, during family devotional times, for homeschool, etc. It’s not a devotional, where you read a verse or two and then spend a lot of time on some author’s thoughts and ideas. It’s a chance for you to go directly into the text of Scripture, learning both the story of God’s work through the ages, and a method for studying Scripture that you can use anywhere, anytime.


This is one of our goals with CrossLife: that parents are equipped and empowered to disciple their children. The resources we produce, from our marriage and family podcast to our sermons and articles, to our Bible studies and multi-media educational series, are designed to realize our mission of equipping and empowering married couples and families to cultivate Gospel life in the home.


CrossLife also offers something unique by our deeply relational and also global approach, and by the background, training, and passions of its founders.


CrossLife exists to help build up the local church, not compete with it. Our desire is that our resources help families grow in faith in concert with the disciple-making work going on at their churches. While we are providing resources all over the world, to many people we’ve never met, our aim is for these ideas and tools to help people make lasting changes in the most personal relationships of their lives—all for the sake of God’s Kingdom. It’s not just about married couples and families feeling happier or more fulfilled, though we believe that will be part of the result. It’s about seeing the reign of Christ extend into every part of our lives in every part of the world. That’s a much bigger vision than mere happiness or lack of conflict!


CrossLife also has a global focus, both by actually providing resources for missionaries and overseas Christians to use, and by helping families in the U.S. gain a picture of the global Church. We want parents to be able to communicate to their children the BIGness of God, who has been at work around the world since the beginning of time and will continue to be until Christ returns to restore everything. It’s encouraging and convicting to walk in faith alongside our global brothers and sisters, learning from one another as we learn from God.


Additionally, the founders of CrossLife, Jonathan and Kathleen, bring their own unique ministry perspectives. Neither of them grew up as Christians, coming to faith as young adults. They have served in ministry, in churches in the U.S. as well as overseas in a few different Asian countries for a combined total of 35 years. Jonathan is an ordained pastor and Kathleen is trained as a counselor with a focus on abuse.


They believe in the sufficiency of Christ for our salvation and the sufficiency of the Bible for knowing God as He wants to be known. And they also bring in the common-grace wisdom of counseling, psychology, leadership, and more to help build a framework for glorifying God with our marriages and families. They seek to reach people within evangelical circles who have access to great resources as well as people who are spiritually seeking or who don’t know where to begin with growing in faith. As such, CrossLife reaches beyond ordinary boundaries or bubbles that typically limit ministry to an echo chamber.


We hope that helps you see our vision and excitement for what we’re building here at CrossLife. If you have any questions or comments, leave us a comment here on our website or at facebook, or shoot us an email at contactcrosslifetoday@gmail.com