I recently read a quote which opined, "If you're going to start a church, start it in the shadow of a megachurch because you know that God is already working there."
This wasn't our philosophy when we started Echo but even though we are a world away here in Walnut Hills, we are definitely in the shadow of a megachurch. Crossroads Community Church meets only four miles from our current meeting space. It is impossible to miss their influence here in our part of town. They are they cool church and they are the controversial church. Drop the "Crossroads" name around here and you'll either hear "I love them," or "I hate them."
Our congregation is nothing at all like theirs and our services are entirely different. Our approaches to ministry are on different ends of the spectrum. Yet they are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have many friends who either attend there or are on staff there. We even checked in with them when we talked about starting our church.
I love Crossroads. They are doing ministry that no one else in our city was doing and they're constantly trying to make themselves better. They take great risks but their motivation is pure.
They made the local news earlier this week in a profile of their senior pastor. I've met Brian Tome a couple of times. He wouldn't know me from Adam. Brian is a larger-than-life character and, as a result, draws a lot of attention. But he would freely admit (this I'm sure of) that Crossroads is much, much more than him. Being the guy out front, all eyes are fixed on him. And as a result he takes a lot of hits. But he loves Jesus, his church, and is using the gifts that God has given him.
I planned to write a post about Crossroads earlier in the week because of these articles, but then came the tragic news that a young lady participating in their Christmas program died in an accident during last night's performance. Our family attended last year's show and it was absolutely amazing. Again, we know people involved in this event and our heart breaks with them today. Our heart also goes out to the woman's family and the church members who will be deeply affected by her passing
And my heart goes out to their church as a whole. As I noted, they are a lightening rod in this community and I fear that people will use this tragedy as an excuse to criticize the church and their ministry. I would hope that such people will be mature, keep their thoughts to themselves, and use the words from their mouths in prayers for the community of believers at Crossroads. As time heals wounds they will need to go on and continue to do what God has enabled them to do.
Until then they mourn, and we mourn with them.
Our family has experienced loss.