It wasn’t quite the celebration that Dan and Chris Conrades had in mind as Crosspoint Church marked its fourth anniversary as a vibrant, growing church replant in Richmond, Indiana. But they still were determined to make the best of a challenging situation as church members sheltered at home and gathered online to mark the congregation’s ministry milestone.
“I cannot believe that today is Crosspoint Church’s 4th birthday!!!” Chris posted on her Facebook page May 1. “Four years ago today we officially opened our doors and began our ministry here in Richmond.
“Today, I wish we were gathering at the church for a big party or cookout,” wrote Chris, Crosspoint’s praise team leader. “I miss my church family. But I am celebrating all that I am seeing God doing even during this quarantine to grow our church’s faith and to give them a deeper love for each other.”
“I can only imagine what God is going to do in this upcoming year,” she added. “I will warn you now that there WILL be a party as soon as this is all over.” In the meantime, the Conrades posted a video on Facebook highlighting church activities and achievements from the past year.
They also secretly installed yard signs on church members’ front lawns with the message, “We are praying for you! — Crosspoint Church.” Several families responded on social media with notes such as: “I absolutely love my church! I mean, what other pastoral families would sneak into my yard late at night to leave an encouraging little gift for my family to wake up to?”
As church replanters, being flexible isn’t anything new for Dan and Chris. They quickly discovered, however, that the coronavirus crisis created a slew of new ministry challenges and opportunities.
Like most everyone else, they have turned to Facebook, Zoom and YouTube to stay connected with church members and the community, explained Dan, who serves as Crosspoint’s lead pastor. A typical week includes live streaming Dan’s Sunday morning sermon on YouTube, Chris leading a women’s video conference call and their 16-year-old daughter Ellie leading a Monday Zoom call for Crosspoint’s children and youth. Chris, who also teaches preschool Sunday School, hosted a Zoom call with her 3- and 4-year-old “little people,” an entertaining online experience she described as “a little bit crazy.”
The Conrades also are coordinating a churchwide family missions night via Zoom each Wednesday evening. It has become the online version of an innovative missions program they launched last year to merge Crosspoint’s missions discipleship efforts into one intergenerational gathering.
Before social distancing kicked in, the basic premise was that “everyone is together in one room and we are using our WMU curriculum to pray together, do crafts and Bible studies,” Chris said. She said a key attraction of the study is the congregation learning about missionaries and missions discipleship as an interactive group ranging from preschoolers to adults.
“One of the greatest impacts I’ve seen is that people are just assuming we are going to be doing missions,” she said. “It’s not a question in their mind. It’s a given.”
As sheltering restrictions gradually are lifted, the Conrades are committed to continuing some version of Crosspoint’s family missions emphasis, including Zoom gatherings and a parking lot prayer night.
Their family missions focus “is a resource that helps our people learn how valuable missions is,” Dan said. “One of my heartbeats as a pastor is to get our people on mission.”
The Conrades’ missions journey to Crosspoint started several years ago when they began sensing God’s call to serve as church planters. They became church replanters in partnership with the North American Mission Board and moved with their four children to Richmond, a county seat town with a population of 35,000. They helped Central Baptist Church officially conclude its ministry and then reconstituted in the same facility as Crosspoint Church.
“Our vision was to really build a healthy church that was focused on getting the gospel out to people but also was very focused on discipleship,” Dan said. He and Chris also share a strong heart for missions, nurtured in part by Chris’ strong background in WMU organizations from Mission Friends, Girls in Action and Acteens to WMU involvement on the associational, state and national levels.
As an Acteen, Chris attended the National Acteens Convention in Birmingham in 1994 “and that is where God called me to vocational ministry,” she said.
“WMU has always just been exciting for me,” she shared. “I know if it were not for WMU, I would not be who I am today.”