God first brought me to Crosswalk back in 1999. I was a quiet young man who was bad at holding a conversation and angry at a world which didn’t seem to accept me. Worse, I had no purpose in life. But I was also aware of those traits, and acknowledged them as barriers to a fulfilled life so I wanted to change. Religion seemed to be the best way to affect change. I was interested in Christianity (though not yet a Christian) and had been church shopping for a bit. I visited a few other churches but was generally unimpressed by what I had found. When I visited Crosswalk there was one thing which set it apart for me: the people. A quick scan of the crowd revealed a diversity I hadn’t seen at other churches. People from different races and age groups accepted each other and actually spent time together (which seemed like a rarity at the time.) I also noticed as I watched people interact, that they actually wanted to be there. I was brought up in a church which felt like people were there out of obligation rather than choice (it was a Catholic church). Crosswalk was a group of people who wanted to be with God and with each other – they were engaged. By the end of the first service I was hooked, this was not just a church, this was a community. A community of people with a genuine heart for God and each other where people were connected.
I spent about seven years as a member of Crosswalk and went through a lot of life changes and growth during that time. I received Christ into my heart and did the other things people do when they connect with a church community: serve on a ministry team or two, attend church events, go on a missions trip, and join a small group. I made a lot of close friends, I even met my wife at Crosswalk. I connected with people whom I never would have even spoken to had it not been for Crosswalk. Over that period of seven years I was transformed by God through Crosswalk. God blessed me with a real purpose to my life and allowed me to drop my poor attitude.
In 2006 we moved away to Southern California for a job opportunity. “Church Shopping” was even more complicated for my wife and I after Crosswalk. Other churches just did not feel like they matched up. Sure there were several churches with more style and better music, some churches with more programs and better resources. The people though, the people are what made Crosswalk special and it was so tough to find that again, especially in Southern California. Eventually, we did find a church we could get excited about and again it transformed us.
Crosswalk set a high standard in what I have been drawn to in churches. It took my wife and I over a year to settle on a church in Southern California. The high standard is why I was a little bit nervous when, a few months back, I was gifted with a job opportunity at Crosswalk. What if the people don’t care anymore? What if the church I loved so much was different? After being back for almost a month I can happily report that it has changed in a lot of ways; but that emphasis on diversity and connecting with each other has not. And as a church we will continue to grow and change, just as God would expect an individual to. There are some exciting things happening here at Crosswalk and this blog is a part of that. We are finding new ways for you to learn about Crosswalk; both the staff and the community. We believe that one way to do that is to express ourselves through writing: about our beliefs, faith, experiences and stories. We love how God has molded us over the years and we look forward to sharing that with you. I am truly excited to be back at Crosswalk because I have always considered it my home church, but I am also excited to see how God will continue to mold me, you and the rest of the community here at Crosswalk.