HAMMOND – Crossroads Church reaches out in an Acts 1:8 way with the help of the Georgia Barnette Offering for State Missions. Without the Georgia Barnette Offering for State Missions, Crossroads would not be able to conduct some of its ministries.
HAMMOND – Six years ago, Chip Wheeler had a God-given desire to connect
with a post-modern generation in Hammond. At the time, 95 percent of
18-30 year olds were un-churched in that college community.
When the Northshore Baptist Association determined a need to plant a
church to reach those young adults, Wheeler knew God was calling him to
participate in the effort.
The end result was Crossroads Church, which today reaches out in an
Acts 1:8 way, with the help of the Georgia Barnette Offering for State
Missions. Without the Georgia Barnette Offering for State Missions,
Crossroads would not be able to conduct some of its ministries.
Each month, the Louisiana offering provides funds for Crossroads.
“It’s been an amazing story,” Wheeler said. “The church should have failed but God has been faithful to us.”
Membership stands at 80-90, but they average much more in worship
services each week. Since last year, the church has grown 120 percent
and baptized nearly 30 people since Hurricane Katrina devastated South
Wheeler attributes the growth to the church’s inviting spirit and focus on small groups.
“We have tried everything to reach people, from door-to-door evangelism
to distributing tracts,” Wheeler said. “The thing that has worked best
for us is relational evangelism. We try to be authentic with people and
connect with them.”
The church began with 2 small groups in 2002 Today, the number of
groups stands at 13, and includes groups for children, college
students, youth, men and women.
While small groups are the lifeline of Crossroads, Wheeler stresses the
importance of sending individuals and mission teams on mission trips
throughout the world. Most of the cities the teams visit include
“I want our church to be part of a church planting movement and not
just get converts to the gospel,” Wheeler said. “Even though it is very
important to share Jesus with others, I want us to go farther by
raising indegionous church planters.”
Since the church adopted the Acts 1:8 Challenge, members have
ministered in Brazil, Boston, Honduras, New Orleans and Peru. Launched
in May 2004, the Acts 1:8 Challenge is a call for churches to move to a
higher level of missions commitment by cooperating with their local
association, state convention, North American Mission Board and
International Mission Board.
“We take the Acts 1:8 Challenge very seriously,” Wheeler explained. “We
want to be faithful to obey the Great Commission. That means making
disciples out of others that become Christians.
“When we disciple others, that creates accountability,” he continued.
“And then in turn that transforms them into new leaders. Those new
leaders then will disciple others and it will create a cycle.”
“GBO funds definitely help us do ministry more effectively,” Wheeler
explained. “On the flip side, the money we receive from GBO and other
churches encourages us because we know people are praying for us. It’s
an amazing thing because they get to partner with a church plant. …
They’re seeing they send dollars not to the Cooperative Program and
Georgia Barnette Offering, but to change people and lives.”
Crossroads is growing because members are passionate about knowing God
on a personal level and showing Christ in their lives, the pastor said.
“Seeing people connect in Godly relationships and understanding the
Bible in such a way that impacts our lives is crucial,” Wheeler said.
“I see Crossroads as being a church that provides direction for life’s
journey and connecting with people in Hammond, Louisiana, United States
and to the ends of the earth.”