Kristin came into the world on a cold February day in 1989. Our little girl! Compared to her older brother, she seemed so tiny! She grew up, went to college, got a degree in ministry, and now serves our senior adults as well as our prison ministry.
I've discovered this year she's a great writer, too, and I thought you might enjoy hearing from her today!
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Crossings Community Church has been my home base since I was born, which is a little over thirty years. I was basically born in a pew, ha! I have loved growing up in this church, and now I love getting to serve on staff with some of my closest friends who are more like family than co-workers.
This is the place where I have made lifelong friends. This is the place where I learned about Jesus for the first time, and, around age six, where I was baptized. This is the place where I got to see God’s faithfulness at an early age as Belle Isle grew to the point we needed to move to a different location.
This is the place where small group leaders invested their time, wisdom, and energy into my life as their way of loving me and encouraging my spiritual growth. This is the place where I learned what serving and genuinely loving others looked like. This is the place where I began to own my faith, and, in the process, I began to learn how God speaks to me, leads me, and how to actively listen for his voice and feel his nudging.
This place is not only a church, but it’s my family and my home.
In this 60th year of ministry for Crossings Community Church, I have been able to embrace old memories, enjoy the present, and thank God for where he has led–and continues to lead–us as a church family.
I have loved walking through the halls of the church and taking in the picture collages which represent the history of the church. I enjoy looking at each picture as they are changed periodically throughout this year to commemorate and honor how God has been so faithful to this church family. I have loved strolling down memory lane as I look at pictures from the sweet Belle Isle days, the days when Crossings was under construction, and even looking back to see how much we have added on to the current Crossings building so ministries can grow and do what God has empowered them to do.
For some, growing up in the church might not sound fun or exciting. My brothers and I, however, continue to gain so much from being raised in such a loving, faith-based church. Regardless of my dad’s position as Senior Pastor, I do believe we would have always been as involved in the church because having a relationship with Christ is the most important decision someone could ever make. That may sound bold to say, but I firmly believe that to be the truth.
Growing up at Belle Isle came with many blessings. Some of those blessings included people taking us under their wing as a way to not only help my parents, but also to invest in our lives. People asked for our help when we may have been too young to understand we were helping set up for Sunday School classes meeting in each room. We were taught the importance of serving others before ourselves.
Being able to serve in various capacities at young ages allowed us to be trained and, in the end, to learn what serving others and the Lord was about. It wasn’t about patting ourselves on the back for something good we did; it was about showing love to others, helping someone new feel welcome and a part of the church family, and, ultimately, it was about expanding God’s Kingdom.
I am thankful for all the individuals and couples who came alongside my parents not only to help in the growth of what we now know as Crossings, but also to invest in my brothers and me. I’m thankful for people like Brian Weaver who took the three of us every Sunday to get donuts in the old brown church van. We would talk, laugh, and enjoy sugary treats right before we went to Sunday School. I’m thankful I got to watch God move, work, and grow in our church off 55th and Linn–I got to see firsthand God’s faithfulness to our prayers. I got to witness God transform lives at an early age.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is found in Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” This passage beautifully highlights what the church, my parents, grandparents, small group leaders, and many others instilled in me.
As a church, our leadership and the church family have always sought after the will, vision, and leadership of the Lord. When the church leadership felt God’s nudge to take a leap of faith, we did. Just as this Scripture states, we must seek the Lord in all things, and when we do, he will show us the next step he wants us to take. I’m forever grateful to be a part of a church family that genuinely seeks the Lord’s will, guidance, and leadership in all ways.
This church called Crossings Community Church has continued to be one of the biggest blessings, and now that my brothers and I are adults, it has been a privilege to continue to grow alongside such a wonderful church family. Years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I would have been a small group leader for middle school and high school girls, but God allowed me to be used in that way. I also never dreamed I would be part of prison ministry, but I am–and I absolutely love it. The men I have gotten to know at Crossings Joseph Harp truly inspire me. Yes, they are in prison due to a crime they committed, but they are still people, and even more importantly, they are God’s children. I say this to people all the time, but anytime I step behind the prison bars, it’s the most powerful experience I have in that week. I always leave the prison feeling that much more on fire for the Lord. The men at Crossings Joseph Harp know how to praise the Lord and worship him; they know how to deeply seek him and his Word.
Another way I have been blessed is getting to fulfill a pastoral role in Congregational Care at Crossings. I love what I get to do every day. I have found so much joy in praying over people, hearing what they are going through, and experiencing their trust with me as they share things that may not be easy or comfortable to share. It’s a powerful experience!
My parents...I could talk about them for days, but this blog would never get done! I’m thankful for my parents who established and exemplified a healthy balance between time spent at church and time spent at home as a family. I’m thankful they set the standard to go to church together on Sunday mornings at such an early age. They set the standard that we don’t miss church unless we are sick, and I don’t remember a time when either of my brothers or I tried to be sick on a Sunday just to get out of going to church. For us, it wasn’t that our parents had this high standard for us; we actually wanted to be at church. We have always loved the church.
I’m thankful my parents worked so hard to prioritize having dinner together throughout the week at the same table. Although my brothers and I are out of the house now, we all work to have dinner weekly or at least monthly depending on our busy schedules. Time spent together has always been a high priority.
I’m thankful my mom was able to stay home and be available to us between the after-school hours and dinnertime. I’m thankful for the sacrifices my parents made to be there for my brothers and me while they were also leading and growing a thriving church. I’m thankful for the marriage example my parents have always had and continue to demonstrate.They deeply love each other, but their relationship with Christ has always come first. That example will always speak volumes to me.
Although I have three sets of grandparents, I got to grow up around Grandpa Roy and Grandma Norma Townsdin. They stepped in as a second set of parents for Tyler, Cole, and me. Just as my parents set a high standard for us, my grandparents held the same standard.
Grandma Norma and Grandpa Roy instilled in us that a relationship with Christ is the most important decision we could ever make. Along with my parents, they taught us to always be welcoming to everyone and how to love others well. My grandparents also set the standard for how to be the coolest grandparents as they brought coloring books for us during the service hour!
Grandma Norma and Grandpa Roy invested so much of their time into our lives. We spent many Friday and Saturday evenings with them as they gave my parents a date night. There were a few Easters we stayed the night with them because my parents needed to be at church early the next day. My grandparents picked us up from school and were invested in our school events and education. Grandma and Grandpa have always had a special way of showing their love for us, and showing up for us even when they didn’t have to. To this day, my grandma and I meet for lunch on a regular basis, and I treasure that time.
As you can see, Belle Isle and Crossings have greatly impacted my life. Without the Lord and people positively investing in our lives, we really have nothing. As we are in the 60th year of ministry, I pray that you will feel God’s nudging to serve him in a deeper way. I pray this post will point you deeper into the Word, and your relationship with God will take priority over all the worldly things that tug at you.