Christina Lowery is the Associate National Director for Church Health and Development.
Early in her ministry career, Christina served as the Events Director for a large student internship at Teen Mania Ministries (Acquire the Fire) in Tyler, TX. In 2001, she and her husband Joel joined a local Vineyard Church there, and served on the pastoral team for several years until they were called to move back to Virginia and plant Crossroads Church.
Christina and Joel have co-pastored Crossroads Church in Fredericksburg, VA since 2008. As a Lead Pastor, Christina has been a big-picture thinker and creative visionary, responsible for communicating and driving the vision and mission of the church forward. She finds great joy in preaching and teaching, leadership development, and building systems that foster church health and growth.
In addition to her local leadership at Crossroads Church, she has served in other leadership roles with the Vineyard, such as an Area Leader in Northern and Central Virginia for ten years (2009-2019) and on the Vineyard Women in Leadership Team for the past three years (2018-2021).
Joel and Christina have been married for 23 years and have 3 amazing kids – Hannah (17), Caleb (15) and Zoe (8). The Lowery family loves to travel and so far, their favorite destination is Maui, with its warm sun and beautiful island beaches.
Despite our dire realities of global pandemic, political unrest, racial tension, natural disasters, and a massive decline in church engagement over the past two years, I believe with all my heart that God is still on the move! It may not be quite visible yet, but there is a desperation and a hunger growing in the hearts of people that will only be satisfied by a great move of the Holy Spirit. I believe God is poising, positioning, and preparing the Vineyard for such a time as this! What gets me excited about this new chapter, is the prospect of strengthening and resourcing existing churches, and setting them up to thrive in health so that they can make disciples who change the world. I get excited about planting fresh, new, life-giving, missionally-minded churches who change the trajectory of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across our nation. I get excited about developing strong and resilient leaders who are equipped and empowered to carry on the legacy of the Vineyard and steward this coming “wave” of God’s Presence! Come Holy Spirit! Let’s GO!
This will not be a popular answer, but what has prepared me most for this role is learning how to suffer well. I’m reminded of what Jesus experienced during, and immediately following his baptism. Mark 1:9-13 tells us that as He is coming out of the water, he has a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit, and He hears the voice of His Father audibly describing his love and affection for him. That must have been a pretty special moment for Jesus. But then, in typical Mark fashion, with a sense of urgency, Jesus is “at once” sent into the wilderness where he faces both extreme hunger, dehydration, and the threat of wild animals for forty days. It was in this wilderness of suffering He faces the enemy of His soul, who is eager to thwart and ultimately abort Jesus’ mission in the world. This was the only way Jesus could truly learn to depend on the Holy Spirit, reject the lies of Satan, and walk in ultimate victory all the way to the Cross.
Admittedly, pastoring is one of the hardest things on earth that you could possibly do. One of our mentors literally tried to talk us out of planting a church. He begged us not to do it. He told us we were choosing the hard path…and he was right! Show me a pastor who is still leading a healthy, thriving church after several decades — and I will show you a pastor who has learned how to suffer well. They have learned to walk in the wilderness as Jesus did, and come out stronger and more empowered for it.
My dream for Vineyard Churches is that regardless of geographical or cultural context, they would be led by healthy pastors, who train and empower healthy leaders, who equip and send out healthy disciples, who will take and deliver the love, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit to a lost and dying world! (And then do it again!)
In this episode of We Are Vineyard, Jay talks with author and pastor Steve Cuss about what it was like growing up in an irreligious family that eventually came to really embrace his calling, the valuable experience he gained in chaplain residency and the practice of vulnerability and self-awareness that has shaped his heart and his life’s work. Steve also reveals his secret talent as a chicken hypnotist (see show notes for a visual!) **Please note: This episode contains some discussion of grief and pregnancy loss as Steve shares stories from his years as a chaplain.
Steve is the author of Managing Leadership Anxiety: Yours and Theirs and the founder of www.capablelife.me, an online community helping you to function as a calm, aware, present human in the work place and home place. Steve has served in a variety of pastoral roles for 26 years, the majority of those years as a lead pastor. He is also proud to be a strategic partner with Compassion International, Leadership Network, and Missio Alliance.
Steve was privileged to grow up in Perth, Western Australia, in an adventurous family of origin. After moving to the United States for theological study, he married Lisa and they have two sons and a daughter, in whom they take great delight. When Steve is not working, you can find him laughing with his family, knee-deep in a trout stream, or trying a guitar he cannot afford at a local music store.
Steve’s website https://www.stevecusswords.com
Managing Leadership Anxiety by Steve Cuss Vineyard USA’s suggested reading for March https://amzn.to/3u9pS0x
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot https://amzn.to/3L22Kbd
Chicken hypnotism (not Steve) https://bit.ly/36ynMPt
Steve’s Socials: Instagram and Twitter: @stevecusswords