Often surrounded by some of the worst circumstances in society, Oklahoma City Police Officer Keri Whitson was at an all-time low emotionally. Discovering Crossings provided Keri with a sense of connection and belonging. Today, serving others has taken on a whole new meaning in her life.
Finding Her Way
I first experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in 1999. I did not grow up in church but had attended some with friends in high school. I believed in God but had never accepted Jesus into my heart. In the fall of 1999, I was experiencing some difficult times at work. I am an Oklahoma City police officer, and I often see the worst in society and deal with people who generally are not happy to see me. I was sad, confused, and a little lost. I even thought of leaving my job. I began experiencing a feeling, a presence, that I never had before. I immediately knew what I needed in my life. I was led to a small Methodist church and met with the pastor. I broke down in tears and asked him to pray for me. He did, and I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior that day. I was baptized several weeks later.
God is great! He saved me when it was my job to save others.
For several years, I was dedicated to reading my Bible and participating in Bible studies at church. Steve and I got married, and we soon discovered we needed a bigger church with more opportunities to serve. For years, we searched for a church where we felt like we belonged and could get plugged in. I felt myself drifting away from God. One Sunday afternoon, while eating lunch, we began discussing church. I explained to Steve that I was not enjoying where we were currently attending and wanted to try yet another church. Steve felt the same. We both thought of Crossings and agreed to give it a try. On a Sunday morning in December 2010, we attended the 9:30 Sanctuary service. I was hooked immediately! I felt God’s presence and instantly knew I belonged. We have been attending ever since.
Committed to Faith
Since that time, I have felt a greater need to serve and show my love for Jesus Christ. I am always looking for ways to volunteer around the church and at the clinic. I am more committed than ever to studying God’s Word, and I love attending Monday morning Women’s Bible Study. I am so committed to my faith and love of God that I wanted to be baptized again. In May, I was baptized again by my friend, David Gibson. I am so thankful for my church family. I have made so many dear friends who are always by my side, willing to listen and pray for me.
Needless to say, I did not leave my job. I have faithfully served the citizens of Oklahoma City for over 15 years.
“To Serve and Protect” originally published by Keri Whitson, Crossings member, in the Fall 2012 edition of Crossings magazine.
Interview by Cheri Weaver, Pastor of Volunteer Ministry
In what areas of Crossings have you been generous to volunteer your time and God- given talents?
Stephanie: I began volunteering in Children’s Ministry by decorating for special events. Our family has helped with the Fall Festival for many years, and this past spring, we served on the disaster relief team in Moore. Next, we look forward to helping build a Habitat for Humanity house with Crossings.
Where have you seen generosity displayed at Crossings?
Stephanie: People get so excited to pick up backpacks to fill for the children in our inner-city partner schools. I mean, you have to stand in line to get a backpack, and then the church runs out! Last year, when we saw all the backpacks filled and returned, the enormous pile was stunning. When we think about Wednesday night dinner, we think, “Without the volunteers, dinner wouldn’t happen.” It takes a lot of people.
Chico: Before I began attending Crossings, I knew it had a reputation of generosity in the community. The church gives to those who are in need, and it is incredible.
Explain how the Lord is personally speaking to you now to lead in Volunteer Ministry.
Chico: Our family has been very blessed, and we are fortunate. This was the perfect time to come across volunteer opportunities, and we are ready to give back. We know God wants us to participate at Crossings, and we want our children to understand we are not supposed to just collect items and give money, but we need to give our time as well. It takes more than your checkbook, and in fact, it is harder to pull up your sleeves than write a check. We need both.
The development of a Volunteer Ministry will help people understand where to go and get a jump start to become involved in the life of the church through volunteering. This came at a great time—It is God’s timing. I’ve been thinking about where I could plug in; helping other people find a place to volunteer is the perfect fit for me.
How does the Lord bless you through volunteering?
Stephanie: I’ve enjoyed all the people I’ve met through volunteering. It makes this large church feel small, and I’ve met a lot of really nice people. In volunteering there is meaning, and it makes me feel like I’m making a difference in the lives of others. I want to make a contribution!
Chico: We don’t want to depend on others. We want to be involved and use our talents and time. There is more to church than worship, and volunteering helps me develop a better relationship with God.
If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:8)
“Giving Generously” originally published by Cheri Weaver, Pastor of Volunteer Ministry, in the Winter 2013 edition of Crossings Magazine.
Written by Susie Wilson, Assistant to Worship Ministry
Singing and Serving
When I think of the Crossings choir, the word “generosity” immediately comes to mind. Wikipedia states, “Generosity is the habit of giving without expecting anything in return. It can involve offering time, assets or talents to aid someone in need.” Dictionary.com describes generosity as, “readiness or liberality in giving.” This is exactly what I get to experience through this community of singers.
I have witnessed firsthand the munificence of this amazing group of people.
My husband, two children, and I first attended Crossings 14 years ago. We were all awed and inspired by the worship music as well as the teaching. Since music is my passion and I come from a family of musicians, it only seems natural that music was my first connection to Crossings. It didn’t take me long to make the decision to join the choir, and I was immediately welcomed into the “family”—it’s like having a little church within the larger church! Soon after, I was hired full-time as Assistant to Worship Ministry and began working more directly with the choir.
Sharing Life Together
One of the great joys of my job is getting to know all the choir members. I am often overwhelmed with their self-sacrifice and giving. I have repeatedly observed all the attributes of generosity previously listed. These people willingly give their time and talents, committing to weekly rehearsals, and singing for Sunday morning services. More amazing, though, is their generosity with each other; how they share in each other’s lives is an inspiration to me.
The choir has its own version of small groups, which they call “Care Groups.” What a perfect name. Choir members have pooled resources to help those in need, as well as giving to the general choir ministry. Many times, I have been the designated messenger of an anonymous donation to a choir member who is facing a difficult challenge. They have stepped in to give their time and resources to members recovering from serious injuries, illness or the loss of a loved one.
One member even went as far as to donate a kidney to the son of another choir member. (This story was in the Fall 2013 issue of Crossings Magazine.)
The choir shares life together—celebrating weddings, births, graduations, new jobs, etc. They offer comfort, friendship and support; they pray for each other.
What a privilege it is to sing and serve alongside this great group. Seeing their generosity in action and the love of Christ expressed through these relationships has enriched my life. Come by the choir room on a Wednesday evening or Sunday morning and observe for yourself. Or better yet, join us—we’re always ready to welcome new singers to our family.
The first year I was at Crossings, I sat out in the congregation by myself because my husband was in the orchestra. I loved Crossings even then, but felt disconnected. I was frustrated that I never recognized anyone, and no one recognized me. Finally, one Wednesday night I decided to try out the choir. The outpouring of love I felt from everyone was completely unexpected. I was so welcomed and never felt out of place or unwanted. This talented group of people is dedicated to serving Christ and singing their best every Sunday. As a group, they are dynamic and compelling; as individuals they are caring and intentional. I volunteer in the choir because I haven’t had a church home in years, and singing with them every Sunday feels more like home every week.
I started coming to Crossings about two years ago. When I finally decided I wanted to join the choir I was apprehensive … but found it was the perfect opportunity to serve the church and have fun at the same time. I feel blessed to be singing the songs with the choir as I love the music and the community.
As with one voice,
proclaiming God’s truth
—Dr. Phil Moore
“Serving Generously” originally published by Susie Wilson, assistant to Worship Ministry, in the Spring 2014 edition of Crossings Magazine.
Rethinking and Refocusing
I began going to Crossings in December 2012 with my mom and sister. I remember the first service I attended was the Christmas candlelight service. I was stunned by its beauty: the music, the message, and the friendly people. From that point on, I attended the Sanctuary service with my family each Sunday. The following May, I finished my freshman year at OU and moved back home for the summer. I had grown up in church my whole life, but I was ready for a fresh start. I told my mom I was going to try the College Age Sunday School class and get involved in the community aspect Crossings featured. At first, I was nervous … because the church was so much bigger than the previous church I attended, and I didn’t know anyone. But I went anyway.
Serenity through AWAKE
I remember walking into the classroom, sitting down at an empty table and being anxious. Soon enough, people filled the table, Cole Feix gave a lesson, and class was over. Everyone was so welcoming, and I enjoyed hearing a new take on how to study Scripture. After a few weeks of attending class, I went to the summer game night. This is one of the most memorable nights I’ve had with Crossings College Ministry. I met so many people there, with whom I have now become best friends. Since then, I have become more active in the College Ministry, attending the Young Adults Sunday School class, going to volleyball nights, and helping lead worship at AWAKE on Wednesday nights.
Leading Others to Christ
My favorite part of joining Crossings College Ministry has been AWAKE. It’s been life-changing for me. Every Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. during the school year, college students get together to spend time in worship and in the Word. AWAKE is my favorite because I love praising Jesus with so many others my age who are going through the same stresses of school and life. AWAKE is my favorite place of serenity, where the Holy Spirit always comes and fills me and other the college students with peace and joy. After attending AWAKE for a semester, I wanted to become more involved.
Growing up, I watched my parents lead worship together at church and became highly involved in music. I felt God had given me a musical gift and wanted to use it to the fullest to glorify Him, so I asked Cole Feix about helping the AWAKE band. When Cole gave me the opportunity to help lead worship, I was so excited to help with something I loved. It has been such an honor and joy to let the Holy Spirit move through me and lead other students to Christ.
About College Ministry at Crossings
Crossings College Ministry exists to lift up Christ on college campuses in Oklahoma City. We have a passion to see every student come to know Jesus as their Lord and make disciples, by investing in the community around them and serving in the church. Our greatest joy is to see students own their faith and lead for Christ on their campus.
Join us for AWAKE on Wednesday Nights at 9:00 p.m. in the Pavilion, Young Adults Sunday School at 9:15 a.m. in Room 244, or Worship on Sunday Nights with us at 7:00 p.m. (Location TBA).
Questions? Contact Cole Feix, Director of College Ministry, by email at email@example.com.
“From Sidelines to Front Lines” originally published by Ashley Womack in the Fall 2015 issue of Crossings Magazine.
The Little Clinic That Could
If you haven’t heard the story of the little clinic that could, you’ve really missed one of the greatest stories of God’s amazing planning. It begins in 2005 when Crossings Board of Elders first started praying for a bold faith and clear vision for serving our community. They believed Crossings was called to help those unable to obtain basic health services. This resulted in a vote to rent a 1,500 square foot vacant pharmacy near N.W. 36th and May and open the first Crossings Community Clinic—where volunteers stepped forward to minister aid to those in need.
“I was on the Board of Elders in May 2005 when the clinic opened,” says Steve Turner, “but the even bigger leap of faith is when we voted in 2007 to move from 1,500 square feet to leasing the 30,000 square foot facility we now occupy on N. Hefner Rd.” He remembers the day of that vote vividly when Board member, Tom Webb, said to them, “We either have the faith, or we don’t.” They did, unanimously. Once again, the people of Crossings responded as they volunteered to give medical, dental, vision, counseling and spiritual help to thousands.
Now the story of God’s planning gets even more interesting as Senior Pastor Marty Grubbs recalls, “As the Center and Clinic grew, we needed a full-time Director. Steve Turner had enjoyed a very successful career in the medical sales business, but as the vision began to unfold, it occurred to us that Steve might be helpful in finding a leader for this venture. Then one day, we looked at him and said, ‘You wouldn’t by chance consider this, would you?’ He agreed to pray about it and talk it over with his wife Pam. And the rest is history. Steve has been God’s chosen leader for our Center and Clinic.”
Accepting the Challenge
￼￼￼Steve accepted the position in 2008 and under his leadership, the Center and Clinic continued to grow as faithful volunteers (from not only Crossings, but other churches, medical facilities and organizations) and staff gave of their time and talent. But it was in the summer of 2011, when an unexpected call from the Butterfield Foundation would change its future again. Over 60 years ago, Pastor Ralph Butterfield was the administrator of the original Deaconess Hospital, and these were people with a heart for the Lord. Decades later, the carefully managed proceeds from the sale of Deaconess Hospital established the Butterfield Foundation to further the efforts of Christian charitable care for the poor. “Beth Brown, Vice President of Programs at Butterfield, said, ‘We are looking at non- profit clinics in Oklahoma that are helping those in need receive healthcare. Crossings Clinic is one of several that came to the top.’ She said, ‘Submit a grant for possible funding,’ and we did,” remembers Steve.
Through a year of intentional prayer and planning, the necessary paperwork was submitted. In May 2012, word came: Butterfield Foundation agreed to fund our full request of $6.1 million. The funds were earmarked for direct patient care, added staffing and equipment upgrades.
A portion of the money also applied to the building of our own Clinic and Community Center. Through a church capital campaign, thousands of congregants gave over and above their tithe to contribute the additional funds needed to complete God’s plan. Land was purchased and construction began in December 2014, and if you drive by 10255 N. Pennsylvania Avenue in the Village, you’ll see a beautiful 37,000 square foot building (18,000 square feet for the Clinic and 19,000 square feet for the Center, which includes a basketball court and separate auditorium seating for 500)—set to open its doors to the community in January 2015.
Trusting in God
Looking back over the past year, Steve recalls, “I know how hard construction can be, but we encountered very few problems. Contractors and suppliers were generous with their services—some even giving us labor and equipment at no cost—because they believe in what God is doing. We’re very grateful to all of them and for the tremendous financial support from Crossings members. Throughout the process, we met with doctors, nurses, dentists, dental assistants, optometrists, counselors, and other professionals and asked them to dream big, ‘If you were building a new facility, how would it function? … What equipment would you need, and most of all, how can we best be the hands and feet of Christ to those we serve?’ Their input was instrumental in building and equipping our new facility. Further, God provided the funding and people so almost all these ideas came to fruition.”
The final piece of God’s timing is that the three-year lease on the current facility ends on February 28, 2015—just enough time to get everything moved and the building cleaned for the next tenant. Marty Grubbs is excited to see what God has planned for the future saying, “The new home for Crossings Community Center and Clinic will open the door to reaching more people, providing new opportunities to volunteer, and offering a chance to get more engaged with the neighborhood, as well as those who come through our doors for assistance.”
You are invited to tour the new facility on Sunday, February 22, and while you’re there, take a minute to marvel over what God can do when people—beginning over 50 years ago—with a passion to serve God and others come together—and say a prayer for those whose lives will be changed inside this little clinic that truly could.
To learn more about the Clinic and Center, click here.
“Opening Doors” originally published by Rebecca Ellison, Director of Communications, in the Winter 2014 edition of Crossings Magazine.