Church was once a regular part of American life, yet culture today offers many alternate places to devote time, resources and even worship. There is a diminishing need in the minds of many for what is increasingly seen as an outdated institution. The spiritual indifference that started in Europe almost a century ago, has now crept into mainstream American culture. Large facilities, that once hosted thriving church congregations, are now empty and being converted to office complexes or just simply sit abandoned.
Amidst a tide of growing discord regarding organized religion, there seems to be a widening gulf between what is needed and offered in the way of Church effectiveness. Yet, the pulse of the American church is still beating and some aren’t just surviving in the divide, they are thriving in big ways! There are churches that seem to be bridging the gap in the mainstream gulf, in key cities around the country.
At The Crossing Church in Tampa, Florida, you will hear these words: “Together, We Are Crossing.” The words were crafted to be a kind lifestyle mantra and the idiom seems to carry great meaning for those who call the church home.
The Crossing Church has found unique ways to help people move from stagnation to spiritual revitalization. Quote: One of the primary things we are here to do is to train the next generation on what it means to live an authentic, Christian life and that’s why we place emphasis on reaching them, equipping them and involving them in all we do.” That philosophy has proven effective over the years. In 2027, half of the people attending the church are involved as “servant leaders,” a welcome break from the serve me current of today.
There are 10,500 men, women and children, who are participating in some form of ministry related activity from the 20,000 and growing congregants, who gather to worship at the five campuses around the greater Tampa Bay area. From these servant leaders, an additional 1,000 full-time ministers have been identified, trained and deployed in over 1,000 separate locations. Full-time ministers serve locally, regionally and internationally, and many are now training nationals and leading movements in some of the most impoverished cities in the world.
Beyond the walls of the five campuses are more than 10,000 people, who attend weekly services through their online church portal, where interactive media serves to enrich and connect those at a distance.
This church is truly providing pathways for a better future to many!... Just ask one of the 2,000 couples, who attended marriage enrichment courses and seminars this year, how they feel about the church and you will hear about legacies that were preserved, divorces that were avoided and marriages that were enriched. One couple’s child said, “I am happy that mom and dad are staying together and they don’t even yell at each other anymore.”
Enthusiasm is pervasive among members and it seems to be congruent across all five campuses. A staggering 80% of the people give at least 10% of their annual income to the work of the ministry. Greg Dumas, the Lead Pastor of the church said, “With man it’s impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”
The excitement given is fueled by their passion to care for those less fortunate, across the street and around the world. This is a big part of what it means when they say, “Together, We Are Crossing.” The church has become known as the primary volunteer provider for many of the social ministries in the Tampa area. One outreach effort alone has changed the lives of more than 1,500 families over the past decade, as The Crossing Church has sought to bring relief to the Fostering/Adoption need in Tampa.
Foster Agency Quote: ”Our agency used to be overrun with needs, but now Tampa Bay has become a model for the rest of the country. I’ve never seen anything like it... the church has finally taken the command to care ‘for the least of these’ to heart and it’s demonstrating it in monumental outpourings of love.”
Two Pillars of this growing church are prayer and worship. The Crossing Church created C.W.I., The Crossing Worship Institute, in 2018. The Worship Institute grew out of a world-class worship team, which has produced original worship albums and songs each year for the last 10 years. Many artists are drawn to the institute and learn their craft, while in various settings from coffee shops to the main stage.
One young artist described what attracted her to the Crossing Worship Institute: “The worship at The Crossing Church is prophetic, it’s Spirit-filled and marked by the discernable presence of God... It’s the kind of worship that tears down walls and creates the environment for real-life change to occur.”
Prayer is also a vital part of the church, the foundations of which many American churches have either forgotten or unintentionally marginalized. Prayer Leaders pray around the clock for ministry team leads and every staff member, and over 5,000 people gather annually for The Crossing Prayer Summit. The prayer ministry is also doing its part in the community, as prayer team members actively pray for more than 5,000 people a month by name. The goal is to reach those, who do not yet profess Christ as Savior or warmed to His invitation. The vibrant prayer ministry operates alongside “Freedom Ministry,” as thousands of people pursue a deeper spiritual walk.
Over 16,000 people of The Crossing Church participate in weekly or bi- weekly gatherings, which take place in homes called “LifeGroups,” where they share their lives and find communal support. The church claims that it must grow smaller, as it grows larger. Quote: The leaders of the church are here to achieve God’s grand initiatives, but the people at the heart of our efforts often prefer things on the smaller side, where relationships can flourish.
One Member said, “Each person needs a place to belong. We all need a safe place where we can be connected to the lives of others, who genuinely care.” One man said, “It’s a place to ‘know and be known’, a place to be you among others who are free to be who they are in biblical community, it’s a place to do life with others.”
While there is community and care, there is also content. Some 10,500 people are in various kinds of discipleship groups, where they are taught everything from basic Christian doctrine to advanced Christian leadership. The Crossing Bible College was created in 2016 to provide an accredited extension pathway for those seeking additional growth and spiritual formation, even beyond a robust discipleship process.
The college has grown to 3,000 students and courses are offered online and on campus, to prepare the next generation of leaders who are to expand the work of the church across the street and around the world. The church is now envisioning how to equip men and women to be catalysts and key leaders for change within the Seven Mountains of Cultural Influence, which includes art, entertainment, media, education, family, business, and government. The goal is to produce leaders, who will rise to the top of those Mountains to influence and lead from a Judeo Christian world-view.
Where there are gaps, walls and obstacles, which stand between God and the people who so desperately need Him, is a church that is dedicated to bridging those gaps and forging those rivers to proudly exclaim, “Together, We Are Crossing.”