From Vision To Reality: The History of Crossroads Baptist Church
In 1947 a few families in the community of Crossroads in the pineywoods of East Texas decided there was a need for a Southern Baptist Church and began to meet at a grocery store belonging to Mr. and Mrs. A.F. Elsberry. With help from East Texas Baptist College, the Crossroads Baptist Church was organized. The only facility available for use was an old store building with no electricity or water. Since it was mid-winter, a 55-gallon barrel was brought in and used as a wood heater. In June of the first year the members voted to build a 26×42 ft. building using new lumber. Pledges and donations were made for that cause and in July of 1947, Bro. John Elliot, a student at ETBC, was called as pastor. By September heaters were installed in the new building and within two years discussions began about building Sunday School rooms and finishing the building. After graduation in 1949, Bro. Elliot resigned as pastor and went on to serve as a missionary in Brazil for 38 years. Another building program began in May 1951 and a new sanctuary was planned. The existing building was turned into classroom space and the new sanctuary was added on to the front. During this time several men served faithfully as pastor.
In July 1957 Bro. Sam Houston was called as pastor. During his ten-year leadership, many big steps were made: new pews were purchased, a debt-free Sunday was celebrated, a deep-water well was dug, ac/heat were installed and a clear title on the property was obtained. Truly Crossroads was growing as it reached a spiritually hungry community. In 1970 the sanctuary was remodeled, and then in 1972 a brick annex containing a kitchen, restrooms, and fellowship hall was constructed and dedicated in April of 1973. A parsonage had been built and again, more pastors called to help in the continuing ministry in the Crossroads community. More land was purchased in 1985, Homecoming Days celebrated, a “Together We Build” program began, and while Bro. Mark Turman was pastor, a new educational building was constructed and the other buildings were renovated.
In 1995 the church celebrated being debt-free with a Note-Burning Day. Crossroads celebrated its 50th Anniversary on April 20, 1997 with many former pastors in attendance. In August 1998 Bro. David Rice was called to pastor, and in October Crossroads had record attendance in Sunday School with 160. Many new projects and ministries have been started and completed in recent years including Men’s and Women’s Ministries, Prayer Ministry, ESL Classes, playground construction, new piano and organ, church cookbooks, purchase of five more acres of land, and the construction of a new building, among others. October 2001 was Miracle Sunday when our church moved Forward in Faith to begin accepting pledges and donations for the many construction needs of a rapidly growing membership. The new building provided much needed fellowship space and a new kitchen, but also served as a temporary worship center until a new sanctuary was completed in November of 2005. In July 2003 the original sanctuary, offices, and classroom were
renovated to create even more classes, offices, storage, and a church library. To God’s glory it was all done debt free.
August 2003 found Crossroads in the United We Build capital fund-raising campaign for a new sanctuary. The Spring of 2005 showed the signs of new construction. In November 2005 the members of Crossroads worshiped in the new sanctuary and on December 4 had a special dedication worship service. One year later, Crossroads is again filling the building, averaging over 300 in Sunday morning worship. To maintain room for expansion they returned to two Sunday morning services, and are currently looking forward to putting together a Long Range Planning Committee to look at projected growth and needs. From the vision of a small community of believers in 1947 through years of growth and expansion to future generations seeing the reality of that vision come to pass Crossroads continues to lift high the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and give God all the glory for the blessings He’s abundantly blessed us with.
(Thank you to Anna Mae Griffing and Claudia Lowery for writing this history of our church.)