by Stefani Leeper | 18 February 2020 |
We all need a little boost in the morning, and sometimes that boost comes in the form of a hot brown morning potion that many of us feign avoiding like the coronavirus. The congregation at CrossWalk Church combats this trend of dishonesty and shame with an inviting ambiance of openness: you’re free to pick up a cup of CrossWalk java before heading in to the Sabbath morning service. And if the caffeine isn’t quite enough to get your heart pumping for the morning, the live worship band will have you on your feet in no time.
“This is truly a come-as-you-are church. … No matter your highs or your lows, if you’re rich or poor, housed or homeless, dressed your best or in shorts and flip-flops, you’re blessed by the glory of Jesus Christ,” enthuses Bryon S. Webster in a Facebook review for CrossWalk.
But this church isn’t just about making you feel good, being unconventional for the sake of it, or even about drinking coffee at church. Its goal is to impact the community by innovatively loving well.
Congregant Rachel Kendall describes this way of loving as one “that doesn’t feel sick or apologetic, but rather challenges everyone to be their best, and to be vulnerable in ways that equal real courage, edification, and an appreciation of God.”
“I have been away from church for a very long time,” adds CrossWalk attendee Leo Gocking. “Coming back to Adventism and finding this church was truly a blessing in our lives.”
CrossWalk’s growth to include two satellite campuses, and two sister satellite campuses, seems to echo the majority of sentiments shared about the church and its passion for sharing the love of Jesus. Of course, it wasn’t exactly swift sailing to get to this point, but with God’s guidance and blessings, anything is possible.
CrossWalk’s journey began in Grand Terrace, California.
Azure Hills Adventist Church’s Wednesday night young adult meetings grew to regularly welcome more than 700 young adults, crystallizing the need for a new facility. Under the persuasion of then Senior Pastor Morris Venden, they embarked on a two-year process of establishing themselves as a congregation within the Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. By 2003, CrossWalk Church was born in Redlands.
Its membership of 250 skyrocketed to more than 650 after Tim Gillespie accepted the call as CrossWalk’s senior pastor, with weekly attendance sometimes spilling over the 1,000 mark. The keys to this success include the church’s theme #LoveWell, enacted through nontraditional worship style, innovative youth and young adult ministries, and an active emulation of what it means to be good Samaritans in the surrounding community.
Thursday evening LoveWell Dinners offer local homeless individuals and families a chance to socialize while enjoying a hot meal, and maybe even a good old-fashioned foot washing. CrossWalk, partnered with Cornerstone Free Health Clinic, is able to also provide physical therapy and other medical assistance through a fully-staffed medical clinic.
Members of the congregation who need a little extra helping hand can obtain food items through Meal Train.
As for serving the wider world, congregants volunteer their time and services to CrossWalk mission trips, such as the upcoming March 2020 trip to Costa Rica.
Nurturing on an internal level includes interactive programs for churchgoers falling in the age categories of kids, junior high, and high school. Those interested in learning more about the history of Christianity and the interplay between religion and ancient cultures are invited on the annual month-long Holy Land tours of Israel, Jordan and Greece.
In November 2018, CrossWalk branched out and planted a campus in Chattanooga which hosts a completely lay and mostly young adult-led congregation of over 400 regular attendees who watch Redland’s broadcasted sermons. The Chattanooga campus hosts two services.
CrossWalk Chattanooga is located near three universities, including Southern Adventist University.
The third campus, located in Foothills, and two Lovewell campuses are new additions to the growing church.
If you would like to learn more about CrossWalk Church and its satellite campuses, please visit their website at http://www.crosswalkvillage.com, and our previous article at https://atoday.org/crosswalk-church-celebrates-13-years-and-remarkable-growth/. You can keep up with Pastor Gillespie and CrossWalk on Facebook and Instagram, and catch up on their sermon series via Livestreams, YouTube, and podcasts.