By Kent E. Fillinger
A mother church and a legacy church provided a great foundation for the birth of Crosspoint Christian Church in Cape Coral, Florida, in January 2006. Jeff Swearingen, lead pastor at Crosspoint, was on staff at First Christian Church in Fort Myers when discussions about a church plant started. He initially resisted the idea of planting a church, but God eventually changed his mind.
About 150 people from First Christian committed to help birth Crosspoint. The church also benefited financially from a local Christian church that closed, sold its property, and then invested a significant amount into the new church.
With a strong nucleus and positive cash flow, Swearingen started Crosspoint with multiple staff members. From the beginning, the church tried to function like it was bigger than it really was. Crosspoint met in a local school until December 2011 when it bought a former church building located on 10 acres in Cape Coral for less than $1 million. The congregation completed some cosmetic changes to update the facility prior to moving in and did only minimal marketing. “Our people were excited and invited their friends,” Swearingen said.
The church’s new home is hidden on a back road, so the church uses lots of signage to help people find it every Sunday. In spite of its location, Crosspoint grew 26 percent last year. The growth surge meant the church virtually outgrew its new 10,000-square-foot home from the beginning, so it now has three Sunday worship services.
High home foreclosure rates have plagued Cape Coral the last few years. Even with the poor economy, the congregation committed $450,000 over a two-year period in its November 2011 capital campaign. The church borrowed $800,000 for the new church home, and managed to pay $160,000 on the principal in the first year. Crosspoint currently pays its mortgage out of capital campaign funds; Swearingen admits this isn’t ideal, but it is necessary for now.
Crosspoint’s overall giving last year fell short of its budgeted need, so the church cut back on some of its ministry plans and spending. Swearingen says he is frugal by nature, and said the church works to manage its money well. The limited funds have prevented the staff from receiving any raises for several years, and the church has been unable to hire additional staff as it has grown.
Crosspoint selected 11 shepherds who provide pastoral care to the congregation. These men do not attend business meetings, but instead gather once a month to pray for people in need within the church. The shepherds also make hospital visits, address any church discipline issues, and handle tough spiritual conversations with people. The church has an administrative team of three people who are selected by the shepherds and meet bimonthly to handle finances and legal matters.
The church decided recently to focus its local outreach efforts on three near-by, low-income, government-subsidized areas. Crosspoint wants to adopt these neighborhoods and work to alleviate the cycle of poverty for those living there. The church sent teams to serve in these neighborhoods on four Saturdays in December, and will continue to send teams of people to serve once a month this year. Crosspoint will also provide social activities to help its members connect relationally with the families living in these communities.