I don't believe that there is anything more exciting than the birth of a new church. One-Hundred-Thirty charter members experienced that thrill on February 11, 2007. The organizational meeting of Crossroads Baptist Church of Greater Wichita, Inc. was the culmination of several months of planning and work.
It was Saturday morning, November 25, 2006, two days after Thanksgiving, that the dream of a traditional Baptist church was born. Pastor Mark Hoover and Pastor Bill Riffee were having breakfast together at IHOP on N Rock when Pastor Hoover shared that Messiah Baptist's board was willing to help us realize our dream. To do so, certain criteria and deadlines had to be met. A business plan would have to be completed and submitted to the board before December 31 outlining our goals, objectives, vision, organizational structure, startup costs, etc.
The board reviewed and accepted our proposal and instructed us to meet with Messiah's executive pastor during the third week of January and work out the remaining details on what Messiah was willing to do to help us and determine the time frame in which everything needed to be done. The requirements were simple but had to be accomplished quickly. If we could get all necessary legal documents required for 501(C)(3) status and be legally organized before March 1st, Messiah would cut one check in the name of the church for $40,000.00 which would cover start up costs and 3 months salary.
We set about the task and miraculously met the requirements two weeks before the deadline. Dr. Rob Lindsted graciously offered the Sunrise Christian Academy chapel to us for an official organizational meeting that was held on Sunday, February 11, 2007. We still did not have a place to hold services and had scoured the city for a convenient place to meet knowing that we would have to have a room that would accommodate at least 150 people. We could not find an elementary school in town that had a room large enough for us, and most middle schools were already taken. But we decided to go ahead and organize by faith even thoughwe did not have a place to meet in.
Time was not on our side, but the Lord was. The Lord put it into the heart of Larry Prather to recommend we check with Wichita Collegiate to see if they would rent space to us. Wichita Collegiate was both gracious and generous, renting the Rounds Fine Art Center to us along with as many classrooms as we needed to begin. We could not have asked for a better setup. The location was ideal for our congregation. The facilities were excellent. And the price was right! The Lord proved Himself faithful and blessed us beyond our wildest expectations.
On March 11, 2007, exactly one month to the day from the day we organized, we held our first service at Collegiate. Every Sunday morning a setup crew arrived early to set up the sound, keyboard, greeters tables, privacy drapes, nursery, and signage. And every Sunday eveing after the 5:00 service, we tore everything down and stored it away for another week. We were so happy and overjoyed at what the Lord had done.
In these early months we were assured that we could rent Collegiate during the week due to school activities so we decided to hold Wednesday evening services in three different locations. We were truly a house church! Wayne and Bertha Burrows opened their home for those living in north Wichita, Andover, Park Cities, and Valley Center. Larry and Wanda Decker opened their home up down in Clearwater for those living on the west and southwest portions of town along with parts of Valley Center. Finally, for those living in Derby and south Wichita, Gary and Marilyn Sears opened their home up in Derby.
About ten months into our existence, Mike Dibble had to miss one Wednesday night due to some activity in his neighborhood. After everything had calmed down, he drove up to the Quick Trip on N Greenwich and Central to fill his car up with gasoline. And as he was going home, he noticed that a for sale sign had been placed in the yard of the church at 11441 E Central Avenue. Mike called pastor that evening and by the next morning we were contacting the realtor trying to get a contract on the property before anyone else could.
Three churches had been meeting on the property owned by The Living Waters House of Prayer. A price was negotiated and then the challenge of finding a bank that would loan a ten-month old church over a million dollars began. We were turned down by four banks, all of whom said we needed to have at least a two-year financial track record before they would loan us the money. Dwight Hopper suggested that we talk with Steve Carr, President of Community Bank on 21st Street. Steve knew our finances well since we had opened all of our accounts with his bank when we began. He also knew that we had employed the Criser/Gough/Parrish accounting firm to keep all of our books and pay all our bills soon after organizing. Steve said that he would be happy to work with us and would break the loan up into two parts.
Before we signed the loan papers, Dwight Hopper suggested we ask the congregation if there was anyone who would like to loan us $150,000.00 for five years, the amount and time of the second loan. If someone felt led of the Lord to do that, we would pay them a better percentage than the banks were offering at the time. No one spoke up that Sunday. But on Monday morning, Dwight's phone rang and a couple who wanted to remain anonymous said they had a check made out to Crossroads in the amount of $150,000.00! The Lord blessed and we were able to pay the second note off one year to date later on Thanksgiving.
Since that time we have continually improved the property. The previous owner's insurance company put a new roof on the entire complex before we purchased it. The interior has been completely remodeled including paint, carpet, and tile. Routine maintenance has been performed inside and out to bring the building up to excellent condition. Then just this past spring, the Lord made it possible for us to purchase the land adjoining us to the west making future expansion possible. There are so many miracles in our short time of existence that they are too numerous to mention in this short history.
In May of 2015 the Lord made it possible for us to pay off our mortgage over 16 years in advance! We waited until August 23rd to have a mortgage burning ceremony which was a major milestone for us as a church, paving the way for us to begin seriously saving for our new building project for which the plans have already been drawn up and paid for.
Presently we are anticipating future growth and expansion. The congregation has expressed their desire to see the facility expanded to include new rest rooms, classrooms, and a full-size gymnasium style building that could be used as a multipurpose building for banquets, overflow, youth activities, AWANA, etc. To God be the glory for the great things He has done at Crossroads and may we only have seen the beginning.