By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN Making the decision to leave a church may not always be an easy one, but some former members of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cokato (ELC) found it to be the best one.
“It’s an exciting time,” said Marc Keith, former member of ELC and worship director for a new church called Crossroads Community Church.
Though in its preliminary stages, members of Crossroads held their first service July 17 and currently meet Saturday evenings at St. John’s Education Center along Highway 12.
Average attendance is between 60 to 70 people and includes not only former members of ELC, but others from various denominations, according to Keith.
What has prompted some members of the ELC to look for a new direction was a June 23 vote among the ELC congregation.
The vote, which was a near split, was whether or not to remain part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) after the ELCA’s decision last August allowing openly gay clergy.
With 116 voting to remain under the ELCA and 111 voting to leave, some members felt they were at a crossroads themselves and found it best to move on.
Crossroads Community Church got its name from Jeremiah 6:16 “Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
“We just believe that what the Bible says, is what it means,” Keith said, adding that some people interpret the Bible as only a guidebook rather than the literal sense of God’s word.
“It’s been really refreshing,” Keith said, explaining that the worship service at Crossroads uses tradition, but that it is also in the process of developing its own style.
“We’re creating our own blueprint on how we’re going to worship, while using the Bible as the final authority,” Keith said.
The church doesn’t have a permanent location as of yet, nor a schedule. However, it typically meets Saturday evenings at 4 p.m. for prayer and Bible study, with worship at 5 p.m. Future church schedules will be published in the Enterprise Dispatch.
Since its under a development phase, the church does not have a full-time pastor and uses visiting ministers and varying worship leaders each week, which is also what makes it exciting from week-to-week, Keith said.
“It will be exciting to find out what this church is going to look like when it’s all said and done,” he said.
Keith welcomes people to come and experience a church service at Crossroads.
“We really want this to be an outreach for people who may not have felt comfortable going into a church,” Keith said, adding that he hopes people will find it welcoming.
Keith also would like to see members become a part of this growing stage.
“We want people to get involved. There is a lot that goes into putting on a service,” he said.
Any e-mails with questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Crossroads hosts Peder Eide Sunday, Aug. 22
Crossroads Community Church is hosting Peder Eide, nationally known singer/songwriter and speaker, Sunday, Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Dassel-Cokato Performing Arts Center.
According to his biography, Eide ministers to more than 100,000 students a year across the US, speaking and performing at festivals, conferences, conventions, concerts, and churches.
His real desire is to “encourage, challenge, and motivate people to a closer walk with Jesus Chris,” according to Eide’s website.
Through Eide’s ministry, families are said to be “exposed to the power of praying with and for one another . . . [and] are equipped with practical tools that will transform their lives, guiding them to a lifestyle of worship.”