Your First Visit
Thank you for considering visiting us, joining us, and even praying about CrossHope Chapel as a possible church family home for your pastoral care and spiritual journey!
I realize that our fellowship is not for everyone or for every need a Christian individual or a family may be seeking from a congregation, but we are here for those looking for something simpler, smaller, and more relaxed.
We can’t replicate all the bells and whistles that a lot of churches do through bigger and better programs. Instead, we can replicate the simple fellowship and verse by verse teaching popular with the New Testament church.
It was while working at Providence Hospital as a hospital chaplain that I was taken back by a high number of patients who could express and articulate their personal belief in Jesus Christ and convictions in biblical doctrines, yet who also had no regular involvement and fellowship with any church congregation.
Many of these same individuals also shared stories with me of their similar church experiences of feeling disconnected from other members or having anxiety because of a large crowd or hearing issues with loud music or struggles of not finding actual in-the-Bible teaching from a pulpit.
However, nearly all were consistent in their praise for either a past small group or Sunday school class experience, often citing it as more personal and more conducive for their learning.
After hearing these accounts over and over, year after year, I began to be burdened by a mission to reach these individuals and others who aren’t being served by the traditional church format in our area.
It seemed to me that modern church services had a similar problem as modern classrooms in that not everyone can effectively grow through the exact same one-size fits-all cookie cutter method.
So on January 6, 2011, an informal gathering of a small group began meeting on Sunday morning at a community room of a Ryan’s Restaurant on Rangeline Road near I-10 in Tillman’s Corner, Alabama.
Although we are a nondenominational evangelical church, our fellowship began affiliated with Southern Baptist Convention, primarily because of my ministerial affiliation and through its NAMB church planting efforts.
We later discovered that we share a philosophy of ministry with Calvary Chapel churches. You can read more about our involvement with Calvary Chapel at my Calvary Chapel Split blog posts.
Today, the Bylaws of CrossHope Chapel specify a nondenominational status, and though individuals with a Southern Baptist background find themselves at home with our fellowship, we have an appeal for those of various church affiliations because of our simple verse by verse Bible teachings.
From time to time we have visitors who come with an expectation that CrossHope Chapel is just like other churches in style, format, and programs, but just a little smaller in scale.
We’re different. We don’t do big church in a small way.
When you first enter the Chapel, you will likely meet me first, because my wife and I arrive early to get the coffee brewing. There is no parking lot welcoming committee, but you will be warmly welcomed, greeted when you arrive, and made to feel like family.
You will not be handed a bulletin, labeled as a visitor, or given a welcome basket filled with logo trinkets, brochures advertising a multitude of ministries, and a map explaining our church campus.
CrossHope Chapel is not a one-size-fits-all church experience competing for crowd attendance, tithe dollars (we don’t even pass the plate), or applauding fans. We are simply a fellowship of people in the Lordship of Jesus Christ who follow more of a New Testament model of gathering.
In fact, a visit to CrossHope Chapel on a Sunday morning is more like a visit to a family members’ home than attendance at a ticketed spectator event.
When you open the door to our location the first thing you’ll notice is that we do not have pews, we have round tables. You can set your coffee, snacks, and Bible on the table top. When we gather we are relaxed. We wear jeans, shorts, tee-shirts, beach shirts, and some times Sunday is a good day to skip shaving.
We are a little different in that we don’t have local church memberships nor do we pass an offering plate. You are a member of CrossHope Chapel by involvement and being part of the larger Body of Christ because of your belief in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
How We Gather
When we first arrive we hangout together and enjoy coffee and breakfast snack items and socialize. Usually about 10:30 or so I will start asking about prayer requests and will write those on our prayer board. When those are received, we actually pray through those requests one by one.
After our prayer time we will sing a few hymns or songs, and then we will launch into our thru-the-Bible teaching series. I will sit up front on a stool with a simple lectern, and will sometimes scrawl things on a flip chart.
We will read a chapter or a section from the book we are studying and then go back over it. As we go back over the chapter, anyone can chime in with their thoughts, questions, or perspective.
Our Bible teaching is not a preaching down experience. I will not be pacing back and forth, raising my voice, or lecturing down to you in any kind of toastmaster format. I will facilitate a verse-by-verse conversational Bible teaching, from an opened Bible, and the Bible only.
When we gather we are laid-back, but we are not as unorganized as we seem. We start at 10:00 AM but most may not show up until then. I watch the clock, so you don’t have to – its important to me that everyone has some degree of opportunity to fellowship, but I do aim to keep us all on track so we are out by 12:00 – 12:30 PM.
Who We Are
When you come visit us, please know that we – the people – are different, too. We come to CrossHope Chapel because we want to grow in grace in an environment that is different from every other church in town. It is more important to us to have a relationship with our Lord than the approval of a denomination, a church, or even a minister.
We come to CrossHope Chapel because we are not always comfortable in big crowds, charmed by rock star style productions, attracted to one-sided pulpit oration, engaged by choirs in beautiful robes, impressed by a firm handshake of welcome for visitors, nor are we easily moved by dramatic piano synced emotionally worded altar calls.
We are content with a simpler and smaller approach, but also restless to grow in numbers and the gifts new members can bring to our fellowship for new ministries, so we trust in the promise of Zechariah 4:6 which says “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (ESV).
We value being authentic and having a no-judgement church zone to grow in biblical faith, while we patiently wait for God’s leading in our future, and while we remain committed to being “steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
We simply teach the word simply, provide pastoral care to our fellowship, and prayer for one-another as we all seek to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
We know one thing for sure, that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
Want to Talk?
Again, if you would like to ask some questions about our fellowship, your situation, I am always happy to do that. Just contact me.