HOW CHRIST-CENTERED ROOTS LEAD TO ABUNDANT BLESSINGS
From its humble beginnings when it was called Westridge Hills Church of God, Crossings Community Church has focused on helping people find and follow Jesus. The church began when Mr. and Mrs. E.W. Baker, along with business partner, Wilma McManus, built a small church at the corner of 55th and Linn in Oklahoma City. Fifty-five people began their new venture in the leased building—which was eventually gifted by E.W. Baker—on Easter Sunday in 1959. Our founders put in place tenets which continue to be the framework for Crossings today: generosity, courageous faith, and a vision for the future.
“What captured me was the incredible spirit of the church,” said Senior Pastor Marty Grubbs. “Our founders and the growing church family were kind, loving people. They didn’t want just any ordinary church; they wanted to make a difference in the community, no matter how radical or challenging. That was a very compelling foundation to build the church on.”
As the new Senior Pastor in 1985, Marty knew his position was a challenging one. “They didn’t hire me to keep the place looking pretty—they wanted a church that would reach the community,” he said. “It was important to me that we were determined to reach beyond the walls.”
In 1988, God had plans to expand Westridge Hills and strengthen its congregation, which was approximately 150 people each week. This plan could only be carried out due to the sacrificial giving of those who were attending church at that time and the financial responsibility of the leadership, including their commitment to completing capital projects debt-free.
God challenged this small but mighty church to expand into a new 500-seat sanctuary. They changed the name to Belle Isle Community Church to suit its surroundings, known as the Belle Isle area. “We were just filled with this excitement that God would do something here,” recalls Norma Townsdin, long-time member and Crossings Elder. “We were ready to be a part of it and see this church we loved become an influential body of Christ.”
Belle Isle Community Church was full of people who took countless opportunities to love the community and pray for big things. God answered those prayers and the congregation outgrew the space—paving the way for an entirely new building to be constructed on Portland in Oklahoma City. In 1999, a 198,000-square-foot facility was built. On September 12 of that year, 3,100 people gathered for its first service. Upon moving and completing construction, the church changed its name, and Crossings Community Church was born.
“The name change reflects our people,” said Marty Grubbs. “We’re not going to brush stuff under the rug here; we’re going to be open and honest about the fact we’re all struggling with something. We’re a church committed to helping people cross over from one way of life to a new way of life centered in Jesus. People who have felt there was no hope for them—they can find hope here.”
The sizeable new campus on Portland, thanks to the faithfulness of its members, quickly became crowded. The next chapter in the Crossings story became clear in 2003: expansions were necessary. This included a 64,000-square-foot addition to the building to accommodate the rapidly-growing kids and student ministries. Like all the other capital projects the church completed, it was debt-free thanks to the generosity of the Crossings church family.
God was not only preparing future generations for many blessings and exciting challenges but moving the church to dig deeper into the needs of the community in unexpected ways. In 2005, Crossings Medical Clinic opened at 35th and May with the mission to provide medical, dental, vision, and mental health services to the un- or underinsured. Within two years, it was evident more space was needed to meet the needs of those seeking services, so the Clinic relocated in 2007 by leasing a former Walmart building near Hefner and Penn. This year also marked the beginning of Crossings Community Center.
Due to increased growth, the desire to establish a permanent location, and a generous grant donation, Crossings Community Center and Clinic opened at the new, 37,000-square-foot campus at 10255 N. Pennsylvania in January 2015. God continues to use nearly 500 volunteers to demonstrate His love in the Oklahoma City area not only through medical services, but also by supporting the neighborhood and children from inner-city school partners through encouragement, mentorship, valuable life skills, education, and pre-employment preparation.
God also called Crossings to meet a need in the community in an entirely new way: through education at Crossings Christian School (CCS). “God was so gracious,” said Rhonda Wong, Crossings member and former CCS board member. “We knew we were not capable of these huge changes on our own. God’s hand directed every step and allowed us to continue serving our community.” Crossings’ visionary decision in buying plenty of land allowed room for CCS to be built on the same campus as Crossings OKC. The Lower School building was completed in 2006, the Upper School in 2010, the Middle School and Athletic Complex in 2014, and the Commons, Competition Gym, and Performing Arts Center in 2017. More than 1,100 students, Pre-K through 12th grade, currently attend CCS.
Praying for God to challenge Crossings to expand beyond its walls led to an entirely new campus in Edmond in 2016. Crossings Edmond opened the doors to its first service in November 2016 and nearly 1,500 people attended. The Crossings legacy continues on in new ways at the Edmond campus, which will undergo its first expansion in 2019 to accommodate its growing KIDS and student ministries.
“Crossings Edmond has the unique opportunity to continue the legacy of faithfulness, boldness, and love in a new community,” said Edmond Campus Pastor, Scott Bartlow. “We have been so fortunate to grow to the point of expansion so quickly, and we can’t wait to see how God will continue to use us in the future!”
God hasn’t stopped encouraging Crossings to pray boldly and take unfathomable leaps of faith knowing He will move to expand His Kingdom. On Easter Sunday 2018, Crossings kicked off services at the newest satellite campus, Joseph Harp Correctional Center. Over 200 men attend Sunday services weekly, and volunteers regularly report the outpouring of hope, kindness, and appreciation which come from the incarcerated men who attend service there.
Crossings now reaches over 8,000 people every week through the multiple campuses. 2019 will be a year of celebration, continuing the call to rely on God’s faithfulness, with an understanding that the story of Crossings is still being written through growing communities, increasing church family and volunteers, generosity, and unwavering faith.
“In 2019, we’ll celebrate the joy of loving and serving our community for 60 years,” said Marty Grubbs. “55 people were inspired to start a church and live by faith to go wherever God led. We’re going to spend this year of celebration enjoying what’s happening right now and dreaming of how God will use us in the years ahead. Can you just imagine what this place will be like in the next 60 years if we’re as faithful as our founders?”
Click here to check out the 60th Anniversary page and to learn more about how we will be celebrating!