Director: People in Mason and West Chester asked for a site
Rachel Richardson reports:
Crossroads is one step closer to opening a new church in Mason to serve its rapidly growing congregation in Butler and Warren counties.
The newest location of the interdenominational mega-church is scheduled to open in August 2014 at 990 Reading Road, said Chuck Moore, Crossroads’ director of multi-site.
On Monday night, Mason City Council unanimously approved rezoning the nearly 25-acre property at the corner of Reading Road and Tri-Way Drive, a largely industrial area. The zoning vote changed the property from industrial and road service use to business planned unit development to accommodate Crossroads’ planned development.
Moore said the church expects to spend about $16 million renovating the 129,000-square foot building and site formerly occupied by International Paper, which owns the property but closed in 2008.
Details of the purchase are still being finalized, said Craig Dockery, the church’s communications director. He expects to the purchase to be completed in the spring, with construction to follow.
“There was no one standing in line for that building,’’ said Mason Vice Mayor Victor Kidd. “It’s an excellent use of that property.”
Crossroads held its first public service in a rented room at Peoples Middle School in Oakley in 1996. Since then, the church moved into its current location on Madison Road in Oakley, expanded that building to 262,000 square feet and opened another facility in Florence in 2012. The congregation averages nearly 15,000 each weekend at the two locations.
The church began conducting Sunday services four years ago at Mason Middle School. It now has about 1,200 members, Moore said. That number is expected to grow to 2,500 to 2,800 members with the opening of the new building.
“We really responded to the people in Mason and West Chester who asked for a site,” Moore said. “People will move to Mason to be closer to church.”
Moore said Crossroads, which bills itself as “a church for people who don’t like church,” has flourished because it delivers a traditional Christian message in an unconventional format.
“We have a very creative way of experiencing God, learning about God and being in the community,” he said. “Our whole idea is literally having a beer with somebody on our back deck. That’s the way we want to talk about what’s it like to seek God, struggle in life and seek answers.”
Moore said he envisions the Mason branch to be more than just a place to come for Sunday worship. The church offers ministries for people from a variety of lifestyles and is “very proactive” in encouraging community involvement, he said.
“Part of what makes our calling a little different is that we tend to attract leaders who have lots of ideas and want to give back to the community,” said Moore. “We believe faith is action. We believe people have the opportunity to serve and all should serve.”
Mason city council members praised the church’s “stellar reputation” and noted the potential economic boon to the corridor, which is bordered by retail and residential communities to the west and south and manufacturing to the east.
“This is a good reminder that there are things much more important to a community than financial return,” said Kidd. “We admire the ability of Crossroads to do some amazing things. It’s phenomenal and we’re glad to be a part of it.”
Crossroads ranked 21st on Outreach Magazine’s 2011 list of the nation’s largest churches and sixth on the magazine’s fastest-growing list in 2010. The church began services in Oakley in 1996 and opened its 262,000 square foot facility at 3500 Madison Road in Oakley in 2006. In August 2012, the church opened a Florence branch in the building formerly occupied by Old Time Pottery, off of Mall Road.
Crossroads’s new facility at 990 Reading Road in Mason is set to open in August 2014.