Small Church America: Crossroads North Gives New Identity to Old Church Building

Last year, the building that once housed Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church sat empty. Just three women remained at the old Fayetteville, North Carolina, church, and they were looking for a new congregation to call home.

But out of the death of that aging church came rebirth in the form of a new, young church: Crossroads North Church, which now calls the freshly renovated building home.

Sept. 11 marked the opening service for Crossroads North, where Senior Pastor Kyle Burrows welcomed more than 100 people into the space.

There are plenty of churches in Fayetteville, so it wasn’t that there was a need for another church,” Burrows says. “But we wanted to replicate the culture of our sending church, of making disciples and empowering people to invite God into every part of their lives. Our vision is for this to be an equipping culture.”

Crossroads North is a hybrid of a church plant and a second campus of Crossroads Church of Hope Mills, a thriving church of around 350 people, about 30 minutes south.

Burrows and his wife were members of Crossroads Church of Hope Mills before he left to attend Duke Divinity School. While there, the United Methodist Church leadership in North Carolina asked Crossroads if they’d like to turn Johnson Memorial’s old building into a second campus. And Crossroads knew just the person to pastor it. After graduating from seminary, Burrows set out in August 2015 to plant Crossroads North, and a few couples from Crossroads moved to Fayetteville to help.

Over the past year, Burrows and his team have been intentional about getting to know their neighbors. They held services outdoors in a nearby park last spring to meet new people. And earlier this year, they even turned their building into a space for after-school care for local kids.

“A lot of our time and energy has gone into that aspect of our ministry,” Burrows says. “And we’ve looked for other places in the community to serve, because we really wanted this to be a church that went out and served actively in the community.”

They’ve established missional communities—part home-church, part fellowship—to create opportunities to meet people, too. And they’ve looked for natural points of connection, like at the nearby Methodist University, where they’ve served students with help on move-in day, stress-relief gift bags during finals and “welcome back” bags in fall.

“We find ways to serve, and then we just trust that God is going to bring near the people who are looking at what we’re doing and want to be part of it,” Burrows says.

They’ve already seen fruit come from that effort. Ben and Melissa Weaver joined Crossroads North early on and served with their missional community at a ministry called Operation Inasmuch. What started simply as serving in a ministry of preparing and delivering sandwiches to the homeless resulted in Melissa, who’d been stuck in an unfulfilling job, finding out about a full-time opportunity to work at the ministry. And for the past year, she’s been in that role and finally feels a sense of purpose in her work. Her story parallels the story of Crossroads North: one of new aspirations. Or, as Burrows describes it, “new life.”

“This is a story of death and resurrection, and we’re just trying to be faithful in moving into that,” he says.

Of course, this is just the beginning.


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