Crosspoint: Room for Improvement

[img_assist|nid=134542|title=Crosspoint Sign on the Mall Wall|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=96]Summary
Attending Crosspoint Community Church on a recommendation, I came expecting warm greetings, friendly people, and an energetic service. Unfortunately I left somewhat disappointed on most counts. Except for a brief chat with the pastor, no one spoke to me or even acknowledged my presence. The worship team sounded fine, but there was no joy on their faces. Their meaningful song lyrics seemed to strike no chord of happiness in their hearts. The sermon, professionally and energetically delivered, was difficult for me to follow. Maybe it was me, or the Associate Pastor was tied too closely to his notes. The pluses were lots of coffee, and choice of table seating, or comfortable chairs. Whatever happened to preaching direct from the Bible with lots of audience interaction, people willing and wanting to sing, the warmth and fellowship of a Christian group, and no Powerpoint slides?

Recommended I Came
Last year I first heard of Crosspoint Community Church when I discovered Christian musician Margaret Becker was doing a concert there. Ultimately unable to attend the concert, I had not thought about them until a colleague mentioned she was a member and recommended I visit. November 2 was the date I visted. Located in the mall just East of Fred Meyer on W. Dimond, the church is not hard to find.

Meager Greeting
Upon entering I was given a good morning and a bulletin. There was lots of coffee and I got a cup. Singled out by Pastor Dave Kuiper, he welcomed me and we talked for a bit to satisfy his curiosity about why I was there. I told him I was visiting churches. He pointed out the variety of seating choices from large round banquet tables, to chair seating.
[img_assist|nid=134543|title=Crosspoint Praise Group|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=263]
Joyless Music
The music from the 7 person band started and there was a terrible connection in the sound system somewhere – lots of hum. It was quite irritating and on a return trip to the coffee, I mentioned to Pastor Kuiper I might have to leave because of it. The band was playing music, to me, that was unfamiliar and whose words were projected on a screen. The group looked extremely somber and joyless, despite pretty good lyrics such as “You lift me up…You are my strength”. There was no smiling and the words seemed to have little impact on them. I could sense the corresponding response in the audience. The focus this Sunday was World Hunger, and one of the musical group members spoke about hunger, introducing a video. Both were good.

Digging Into the Word
Associate Pastor David Van Berkel was preaching that day. Following the video he appropriately said we would now “feast on God’s word.” Using Micah 6 as his key text he read most, if not all of the chapter. A bright and energetic speaker he, for the most part, read or referred heavily to notes or a prepared text for most of his sermon. One statement he made did catch my attention in a slightly irritating way. He noted one of his theology professors used to say “Jesus died on the cross so that we don’t have to.” The service ended by directing members to Micah Challenge USA’s two-fold campaign to (1) deepen Christian partnerships with impoverished and marginalized communities and (2) advocate for the poor by holding our leaders accountable to the promise to halve global poverty by 2015. As I left, I was handed, without a word, some Micah Challenge literature.

In Conclusion
This was my first visit to a “shopping mall” church. Somewhat charismatic, Crosspoint just didn’t have a church feel. Maybe it’s their location, or maybe I caught them on a bad day. I think they are trying to be a lot of things to a lot of people. From a perusal of their website they have many small group and community service offerings plus abundant opportunities for serving within the church. I wish this church well and strongly urge them to be much more outgoing than I saw.

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