Winter UpdateAuthor: AJ | Filed under: Blog
The end of 2011 roughly marked the two year anniversary of Crossroads Church.*
In November 2009, we began meeting in the Arts Incubator, a landmark gallery and arts nonprofit in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District. This was weird in three ways.
First, we, a church community, were embedded inside a space representing a wider group in KC–the creative community–and our welfare was tied to theirs. Second, we shared this space by invitation and at no cost. And third, we took a big risk and launched informal services in the Incubator with a team of about 12 people.
Statistically speaking, it’s hard to begin a church this small and ever break successive growth barriers because of the crowd dynamics that occur when a third of your folks are on the music team, a fifth are watching the kids, and the remaining seven are sitting in the seats nervously praying that all the guests will show up on the same day.
On the other hand, we spend our lives following Jesus in less-than-ideal situations, so it didn’t come as a big surprise that in starting a church, we’d find ourselves taking some risks.
We spent much of 2010 having our faith tested on realities like this, and at the same time, God deepened our commitment. We realized that for the gospel to take root downtown, we would need to live as families of missionaries. Our love for our city and our friendships continued to grow. By God’s grace, Crossroads doubled in size. We threw a lot of parties and saw new friends come around.
In 2011, we put some very basic structure in place to help us pursue our mission: love Jesus, connect people and transform cities. City groups are medium-sized groups designed to catapult us into gospel living. Core groups are small, gender-specific groups that help us confront sin and move forward. We also saw more people moving downtown to live at ground zero.
Halfway through the year, we were surprised, along with the rest of the community, when the Arts Incubator abruptly closed its doors. Our crowd met outside under some trees at Liberty Memorial, and I told them that Crossroads might become an “underground” church for awhile, exclusively meeting in homes and third places.
However, my forecast was off. Those circumstances lasted for just three days, as I contacted the director at another local nonprofit, ArtsTech, and he invited us to share their space in a move that mirrored our unique “lease” at the Incubator.** Thanks to God’s provision and the generosity of ArtsTech, our Sunday gatherings continued the next week.
We closed out 2011 meeting at ArtsTech, in a more spacious, less grungy area that came with upgrades: AC and a parking lot. At our Christmas service, I looked around the room and realized that our group had almost doubled in size again.
One of our favorite moments from 2011 was a Thanksgiving party we hosted. Our house was maxed out with 40+ neighbors and friends, celebrating reasons for gratitude with a feast (see the picture). We love seeing new faces enter our community and encounter the gospel in a fresh way.
Heading into 2012, our trademarks are a deep love and dedication to Jesus and the gospel and a deep love for our city. The gospel changes everything. It gives us the fuel to love Jesus and our neighbors, investing in people for the long haul.
Our wish list for 2012 includes multiplying our City groups into more downtown neighborhoods, cultivating more leaders at Crossroads, introducing more friends to Jesus, and adding a bass player to our band.***
Our ultimate goal is to stay in step with the Spirit. Downtown Kansas City is a great playing field for the gospel and we’re grateful to be in the game.
Thanks for keeping up with us and thank you for your prayers!
But not in a strict sense. Crossroads Church existed when there were five of us meeting for prayer in a loft apartment. We like grand openings. God likes small beginnings.
** A few of us had volunteered at ArtsTech late in 2010 and kept in touch since then. So, when I got in touch with Dave, the director, he already knew us–although mostly from first impressions formed at the “Breakfast with Santa” event we’d helped staff.
***We’d also love to buy some new sound equipment. Our begged, borrowed and stolen stuff is starting to show some wear. If you’d like to underwrite anything from a mix to a mixer, get in touch.