Last weekend I had the privilege of lighting a 25th anniversary service for Crossroads Christian Church in Lexington. Yeah- 25 years. Pretty incredible! I’ve been spending a lot of time recently talking with a relatively young church plant on the edge of a big growth phase. All of those conversations put into perspective 25 years of church growth, starting from thousands of cold phone calls and a meeting at Shoney’s. Yeah. The videos from that first service 25 years ago don’t showcase cutting edge technology. The service was jam packed with lighting gear and power distros. As the founding pastor Glen said before rehearsal last Saturday, “all of our equipment- sound, lighting, video, children’s spaces fit in the back of my Ford Tempo.” Wow. So what was so special about the first service? What was the catalyst? I’m sure Glen could write a book about the answer. In my unprofessional opinion, there were three elements: God’s plan, a vision and a visionary leader. Sure, service #1 didn’t encapsulate all that Glen wanted to to do in a church for the disfranchised, the unchurched. But, he had a vision, he moved from Ohio to Lexington, he worked a plan, and he held a service. Seems like a vision with commitment is a dangerous thing (in a good way).
Normally, at this point in the post I’d rattle off specs of the rig. Sure, my buddy Brad Bramer at River City Lighting pulled together a nice package for a great price. But, this is a diffrent kind of project. A different service. Crossroads is my “home church.” They have loved me, given me a place to serve, and loved my family through the good and not so good steps of life. I volunteered for years, worked for the church part-time, but ironically, never full time. The organization is filled with people I admire and respect deeply. People who live the values they promote. Authentic.
I started as a middle school kid, who wanted to get involved, to have something to do with services. Thankfully, an ETC Express and some altman lekos needed an operator, thus beginning my journey. I watched videos last weekend highlighting 25 years- big weekends and memorable services, some that I participated in. I watched brief clips of lighting cues I wrote 15 years ago. And then, I looked up. And saw this.
Here before me is a console I know like the back of my hand, and a rig I loaded in the day before, because I’ve now spent years doing lighting in the church as a profession-the domino effect of a local church, with a need and an opportunity. The middle school kid became a real lighting guy. And, for some reason, I had the honor of being the guy to light this service. Me? Really?
That tug, the pull into a movement larger than the influence of your own life, the feeling of making art in lock step with a team of people you KNOW and care about. THAT, my friends, IS THE CHURCH. That’s why I love the church.
During the event, Glen walked us through each milestone of the church: first service, first location, current location, expansion, satellite campus, end with folks who’s first experience was that morning. Each person in the room raised a green glow stick into the air symbolizing one life, one story in the journey of Crossroads–one of the most moving moments within a worship service I have ever experienced. An incredible moment. Before I began to strike for the day, I snapped a quick picture:
Pretty much sums up my life.
Today, I opened up a notecard from one of the pastors at Crossroads (who has known me since I was a teenager). The note read, “it wouldn’t have been the same without you. We love you and your family and will always consider you Xroads family.” I cried.
When a church gets it, really gets it, that church is an unstoppable force. The local church is the hope of the world.