Resurrection Power: Influential Church Illuminates Present Darkness
By Carl Stagner
Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City is known for its widespread reach and influence. Besides their weekly gatherings that attract thousands (online only in recent weeks), the scope of their impact extends through a medical clinic, a community center, a Christian school, and a multi-campus ministry, which also reaches inmates across the state. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, Crossings quickly mobilized their resources to both serve the community and communicate the hope of Jesus. From their food distribution to their counseling services, from their clinic’s telehealth services to their huge online splash for Easter weekend, Crossings Church of God is plugging into resurrection power to illuminate the present darkness.
Crossings has partnered with local charities to distribute boxes of food. They’ve connected with the local medical community to help ensure replenished supply of face masks and other essentials. They’ve surprised emergency room staff with meals and prayers. They’ve “adopted” every teacher at a local elementary school, marked by a ministry of notes, check-in phone calls, prayers, and more. Their ministry with Safe Families has ramped up as more and more support services have been closed due to COVID-19. Though their non-emergency medical clinic had to close to the public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, appointments are ongoing as the ministry has continued to operate via telehealth. In the days leading up to Easter, the church’s propensity to serve would not let up, fueled by their love for God and people, and their enthusiastic embrace of this moment of high-potency for the gospel.
“I’ve been really proud of our team,” Marty Grubbs, senior pastor, explains. “We’re doing stuff I didn’t even know we could do. We were prepared for something we didn’t know we needed to be prepared for. We’re keeping up the communication and pointing people in whatever direction they need to go in serving others during these difficult days.”
Pulling out the stops for worship, which is something Crossings church is known for almost every week of the year, requires great flexibility and creativity when everything goes solely online. Marty explains that they’ve had to be strategic about placement of band members and teachers, with social distancing in mind. Additionally, they’ve creatively interspersed archived worship band video clips into their online presence while keeping teaching relevant to current events. Church of God Ministries recently announced Crossings Community Church as the feature online church for Easter Sunday 2020, which led Pastor Marty Grubbs to express excitement and hints that music from some much beloved artists would be featured. Not only that, but online events over Easter weekend would also include a special session designed for children immediately following general worship experiences.
Pastor Marty knows not every church has the resources they have at Crossings. His heart for the local church, especially the small church and the small-church pastor, stem from having many years’ firsthand experience. He offers the following encouragement to the small church pastor—really, to any pastor and church—facing the frustrations and uncertainty with COVID-19:
“Let’s remember that a segment of our world lives like this every day,” he reflects. “This is new to us, but I think we’re learning that we are far more blessed than we realized. To the pastor, I remember how hard it is when you’re the only one who’s going to answer the phone and provide what the people need. But just letting them know there’s someone around the corner who cares is powerful. In fact, there’s a lot of power in the simple right now…I think we need to react clearly in this moment, preparing to serve, though it will be exhausting, and keeping our eyes on the horizon. I believe there’s a resurgence beginning to take place. When all this is over, I do think we have to have our minds prepared to start responding to this revival pretty quickly. I am already planning the first Sunday back, and though I don’t know exactly how it will look, I know what I’m going to do. And, it’s going to make Easter look boring!”
While the hope of Easter is bringing much-needed spiritual inspiration to Crossings Community Church, they can’t help but continue to marvel at what’s been going on behind the scenes in their midst since long before COVID-19. Marty Grubbs and the church are praising God as the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has asked for Crossings to have a regular virtual presence in all twenty-two of the state’s prisons. To God be the glory!
Learn more about the response of Church of God Ministries to the coronavirus (COVID-19), including resources for you and your church, at www.jesusisthesubject.org/theway.