Sunday morning’s visit to The Crossings Church a break from the norm

As I mentioned in my previous post, I visited The Crossings Church near St. Louis over the weekend, and had a great time.

The church meets in a rented space that’s part of a strip mall:

A lot of work went in to turning this old storage space into a worship center:

I especially like this pictorial parody of the Oprah Winfrey endorsed modern day heresy popularly known as The Secret:

Only one tragedy befell me during my time there. I left my Bible on top of the minivan after services were over, and drove off without realizing it until I got home (300 miles away) later that evening. This wasn’t just “a” Bible – this was “THE” Bible as far as my own personal use goes. That was the Bible that was given to me as a gift by my best friend shortly after becoming a Christian, the Bible that I’ve carried with me to every seminar or workshop I’ve ever been to, the Bible I’ve used in 90% of the evangelistic studies I’ve had with people, and the Bible that I used in every single class I had at Harding University. It’s not strictly for sentimental reasons that it pains me to have lost that Bible – the main hurt comes from this: pages upon pages of my notes are to be found in the margins of that Bible, and those jewels aren’t easily replaceable. Anyway, we’ll see if by some miracle it turns up. I doubt it will.

To the topic of Sunday morning – my time at The Crossings was great. As I mentioned yesterday, 20 freshman showed up as a result of the campus ministry activities over the weekend. They were greeted Sunday morning at The Crossings with a warm handshake, a hot cup of coffee, an exciting atmosphere, and a practical lesson by Robert Cox.

The programming on Sunday morning is a bit different at The Crossings when compared with more traditional Churches of Christ. I’ll walk you through a couple of quick observations I made, but first check out this video of the service:

1) Worship/Singing

The Crossings is a church plant that’s three and a half years old. The congregation has grown from twenty something members when they started, to well over two hundred in a relatively short amount of time. Quite a few in church planting circles today don’t believe it’s possible for a church to do that without a killer band, but The Crossings is acappella.

Every time I visit, I’m impressed by the level of energy and excitement that goes along with the singing at The Crossings. Visitors have a great time too.

2) New Christians are given special attention.

How many churches have you been part of that pay special attention to new Christians in the worship assembly?  Sometimes a sentence is printed about them in the church bulletin, but in many instances the larger church body doesn’t realize who the new Christians are. I really appreciate how new Christians are introduced to the larger body at The Crossings, and believe this is a very healthy thing for churches to practice.

3) The “invitation”

Robert does the invitation a bit differently at The Crossings than most other churches. Every person who walks through the front door is given a folded bulletin with a card inside. The card iteslf is pretty large (the size of a half-sheet of notebook paper). When Robert gets to the end of his lesson, he doesn’t call for people to come to the front of the assembly where everyone can see them if they’d like to respond. Instead, respondants are asked to fill out the card and turn that in, and a member of the leadership team will contact them promptly to address their need.

I think a lot of people hear a lesson in a church and feel the need to respond, but often don’t because they are embarrassed about going up in front of everyone. Using the card isn’t the only way, but certainly one way to avoid that.

4) No communion on Sunday mornings – reserved for small groups.

This is another key difference you’ll find at The Crossings. Communion isn’t taken on Sunday mornings – it’s taken on Sunday evenings in small groups. Small groups are the lifeblood of The Crossings Church. Members aren’t members unless they commit to being part of a small group, and the groups themselves are reserved just for the members. From what I understand, guests are not invited to the small groups that meet on Sunday night (their are several other meetings throughout the week that are for members to bring guests to).

I can see the benefits of having a meeting reserved strictly for those who’ve made the commitment to follow Christ. It would allow your group to delve into deeper teachings without as much fear about leaving anyone behind, and would also serve as a “safe” place for the discipling relationships to flourish. After all, if someone needs to tell me in a group setting that my marriage sucks and I’m not treating my wife like I should, I would prefer they do that in front of others I’m comfortable with and can trust rather than a person I’ve just met and who doesn’t know me and I don’t know them.

Anyone have thoughts to share regarding any of these things?

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