An 87-year-old church in Belton, Texas made a pivotal decision during the COVID-19 pandemic to change the way they do church, and it is still paying off in ways they did not expect. Crossroads Church has seen a boom in church attendance and more than 1,000 decisions for Jesus Christ in 2023. “Like everyone else, we were forced to stop our in-person services beginning in March, but we knew we had to keep meeting the needs of our community and giving people a sense of normalcy that they were so desperately missing,” Crossroad Church’s senior leader Matt Thrasher said. So, they decided to take the church to the streets. Crossroads staff decided to redirect large portions of its budget funds to local missions and sent teams of volunteers to those outside the church each Sunday. “We picked up trash, we partnered with local food banks to feed people and worked hard to just care for people during that time,” said Holly Thrasher, Matt’s wife and the church’s co-pastor.
They also decided to hold an outdoor Easter service that year and an estimated 5,000 people attended. “It was different, of course, but it turned out to be one of the best Easters we have ever had,” Thrasher explained. Thrasher recognized that people were eager to have church together. The staff organized outdoor services at a local bar-b-que venue after getting permission from the mayor of Salado, Texas. The venue was the perfect place for a large gathering as it was used for country music concerts. “People loved it,” recalled Kameron P. Kersey, the operations pastor at Crossroads. “People just wanted that hour of normalcy. It turned out, we were part of only 3% of U.S. churches that actually grew during COVID,” Holly shared. The church’s attendance grew through the pandemic and once indoor services were permitted again; Crossroads saw their pre-COVID attendance numbers double. “Things were just crazy,” recalls Kersey, “and, within a year, Pew Research named Crossroads one of the fastest growing AG (Assemblies of God) churches in February of 2022.”
Its growth continued in 2023. During Easter, church staff prepared to hold six Easter services, but then decided to hold one service at an event centre. More than 3,400 people were in attendance and nearly 300 made a decision for salvation. “Since Easter, we have had right at 2,000 people on our property every week,” Kersey acknowledged. Additionally, Crossroads told CBN News they had seen 1,051 salvations since then, proving their pivot during the pandemic was the right move. “We decided to be the church outside of our building. We gave people the normalcy they were craving and a chance to meet Jesus. We took risks but weren’t reckless,” Thrasher shared.
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