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Arriving at CrossRoads - Odessa American: Religion

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Arriving at CrossRoads

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Posted: Saturday, September 29, 2007 12:00 am

Old things have passed away and become new for Temple Baptist Church — now CrossRoads Fellowship.

But a new name, new website, new location and a sparkling, new facility doesn’t mean the church’s vibrant history will be forgotten.

And church member Albert Adams said he’s living proof.

The 70-year-old retiree said he’s attended the church since he was a child in the ’40s, and the late Rev. Curtis Thorpe was pastor. Adams and his wife were even married by the preacher who turned the small church of 35 to 40 into one of Odessa’s largest.

“It was fairly small back then, but I sort of grew up there, working in the church,” Adams said.

He later worked on Temple’s staff for 28 years as the maintenance man, putting his carpenter skills to work in “fixing whatever they broke.” It was more than a job — it was serving God by using his ability.

And he’s still using it.

MOVING ON

Even though Adams spent years and sweat completing projects and maintenance of Temple’s facilities on Texas Avenue, he’s looking ahead to the church’s new building with a new name — already building custom cabinets for the new kitchen and putting his thumbprint in the construction there.

“There’s fond memories (in the old church), but nothing really sentimental as far as the building is concerned. I’m looking forward to getting in the new one,” Adams said. “We’re going forward — the best is yet to come.”

CrossRoads Fellowship at Highway 191 and Billy Hext Road will have a dedication service on Oct. 14 with a grand opening to the public on Oct. 21.

THE COST

It’s a $20 million, 80,000-square-foot building project that — along with various changes in leadership, music or the church’s name — prompted some to leave the church.

Adams said he feels sorry for those who have stopped coming, because he believes great things are in store for the church’s future.

“As long as they don’t fool with the truth, I’m going to back them,” he said.

Some left the church citing the financial pressure the project brought or the process of raising the funds. Adams said he knows of some church members who even sold their homes or took out second mortgages to donate money to the building fund.

The Rev. Griffin Jones, CrossRoads senior pastor, said all donations were completely voluntary in response to suggestions the church gave for carrying the financial burden of the project tabbed “Four Generations, One Future.”

“We had people sell their houses — they downsized to make a commitment to 4G1F. It’s not unbiblical,” Jones said. “Some have left, but God has brought new people in. I believe God is going to do some marvelous things financially through the church.”

Jones said the former auditorium and nursery have already been sold to New Life Chapel — some of the other buildings could also sell to local businesses, along with some of CrossRoads’ 137 acres on Billy Hext Road.

“That will help defer the debt,” he said.

And the name change?

“It was a change we felt was right to make — people understand the reasoning and the rationale behind it,” he said. “We aren’t changing any of our biblical beliefs — there’s not going to be any denominations in heaven.”

A CONNECTION TOOL

Final touches are under way, but the new structure, designed by The Beck Group of Dallas, has been attracting attention since the walls went up — as watchful drivers pass by on Highway 191.

The construction took 14 months to complete.

“The building’s just a tool,” Jones said. “We’re about communicating the truth, and this is a tool to help us accomplish more.”

The new auditorium includes theater-style seating for 1,050 with wheelchair access to the large stage.

No balcony here — all of the seats are arranged for an intimate feel, even in the large space.

“It’s a great space because it’s not that far to the back. We designed it for community,” Jones said. “We can also do some ticketed events, which we will.”

The auditorium, large adult classrooms, massive children’s ministry area, trendy youth facility and chapel with seating for 250, are all equipped with audio-video equipment to connect with attendees during teaching times.

Plus it’s all in one location — something Jones said was a dangerous situation at the Texas Avenue location of eight buildings separated by roads.

“The accessibility of all this will be incredible,” he said. “We’re tried to make most everything multipurpose here.”

A VISION FOR THE FUTURE

The dreaming, planning, giving and praying have reached a pinnacle with the finished site for CrossRoads Fellowship, but Jones said he’s looking forward at putting the facility to use in ministry.

With the new location, the church is positioned to expand its community base to both Odessa and Midland — but not just for spiritual relaxation.

“A non-serving Christian is an oxymoron,” Jones said. “We want a church that isn’t just sitting back and staying comfortable but is out serving in the community — that’s what we want.”

Jones said that even with the expanded seating capacity — the old auditorium had pews designed for 700 people comfortably — CrossRoads will continue having two services each Sunday, and he envisions bumping that up to three services some day.

The sigh of relief in a project completed only turns the page for a new chapter in the Odessa church’s history of faith — something Jones said he hopes to continue.

“We’ve tried to acknowledge our past and history, even in all of our changes,” he said. “It’s been a challenge of our faith but also an example of our faith.”

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