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Friday, October 12, 2018

Crossroads Church, Oakley - Reaching out Through Worship and Giving Back

Article and Photos By Mary Casey-Sturk

Churches evoke a sense of community, no matter their size. They are a place to worship, to learn, to celebrate and to mourn. Providing a place for all of this and more, for over 20 years is Crossroads Church in Oakley. One of several locations, this growing church welcomes all with lively and thoughtful worship, fellowship and outreach.

Crossroads was founded in 1995 by a group of friends who wanted to explore God without pretense or sorting through religious lingo. In March 1996, the original Crossroads Community Church of Hyde Park welcomed 450 people to a rented space filled with music, real topics and free coffee. 

All ages participate in Crossroads’ activities.
Today’s Crossroads has grown in its current Oakley location, but remains true to its roots.  On any given weekend, just the Oakley location alone hosts 8,000-10,000 worshippers. 

Other locations locally include Florence, East Side, Mason, Oxford, Uptown and the West Side. Crossroads locations can also be found in Lexington, Columbus, Cleveland and Dayton.  You may have seen the “I’M IN” bumper sticker on cars in your neighborhood and beyond - it’s part of their fundraising campaign, allowing them to grow and reach more people. 
Crossroads in Oakley

Chuck Mingo, Community Pastor and Teaching Pastor, shares their “grace first” philosophy. He notes that many “belong before they believe,” and that the church provides a place for exploring religion and worship and feeling welcome to do that on your own terms.  Mingo has been working at Crossroads for 10 years.  A Philadelphia native, he moved to Cincinnati 18 years ago and soon became a member of Crossroads.

Chuck Mingo
What can the community do for the church if they are not actually members? Mingo shares, “There’s a lot of ways people can help; for example, our mission trips.  All are welcome to go and have this experience and have an impact.  We’re a church and we’re going to pray in the context of our work, but you are welcome whether you are a member or not.” This is also true locally.

Go Local is a weekend blitz held every spring. Mingo offers, “Go Local has hundreds of projects every year. and people can show up and help. Whether it’s painting or mulching, helping at a neighborhood party, etc., there are many ways to help.”

Mingo offers that part of their mission is, “How can we have an impact and make Cincinnati a better place?” adding, “How can we make a blessing? We want to make an impact”

Other volunteer projects include Simple Serve, which focuses on ongoing needs, making meals and other projects.  Child care help is needed on weekends, and volunteers are needed to help set up materials for the kids’ rooms.  Seasonal opportunities to help include the Wiz Kids program -  mentoring and tutoring local kids; and the Thanksgiving food drive, that you may have seen featured on the local news.

Community outreach plays a major role in Crossroads’ ministry.
The Thanksgiving food drive is an easy way to help - pick up a box from the church (usually given out a couple of weeks early) with a list of items, and you fill up the box at the grocery and drop it off at Crossroads by just driving through with their volunteers removing it from your car.

The connection between philanthropy and religion can run deep. Does Mingo feel like this enriches the church locally?  “Yes, it does. There are a lot of things you can say about God the Creator.  God is love, and that God is generous. Our life was given to us by God.

“When you see an increasing number of people connected to God, you see increased generosity.”
Mingo invites you to come and worship as well. The Oakley location has services on Saturdays at 4:30 and 6:15 p.m. and Sundays at 8:30, 10:05 and 11:45 a.m.

Returning in 2019 is the Super Bowl of Preaching. On Super Bowl weekend, join the fun and get inspired with two days of preaching, tailgating, music and more. They’ve taken a weekend with traditionally low attendance and turned it into an event attracting some 50,000 people. 

Whether you are interested in exploring a new church, helping in your community or coming for a holiday service, Crossroads doors are open. 
And the coffee is still free.

Crossroads Church
3500 Madison Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45209

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