Friday night, June 4, 2021, Lakewood Connects Executive Director Reg Cox and his wife Amy attended the celebration of 64 years of a Lakewood church, Hope Crossing, at their closing service. Reg serves as a mentor supporting pastors and churches so they can thrive… so, you might rightly ask, “how is this church closing a good thing?”
Pastor Matt Ellis, his wife Carrie, and family had been brought in to “transition” an older church to a new vision and future! Transitioning Churches (older churches with a new pastor, worship style, and ministry plan) face a high risk of failure. Pastor Ellis and his leaders knew this as they started 12 years ago but things looked good as the church grew for 8 years. But over the past 2 years and through the pandemic a combination of trials converged on Matt and the church, and they realized that they had very little chance to move forward to a place of “thriving.” The decision was made to close Hope Crossing and sell the building, hopefully to another church.
In April, the Hope Crossing leaders met with another church who needed a building. That church enjoys 250+ active members and shares the vision and core theological values of Hope Crossing. The building was sold to this church at an affordable price. Why? Because it never was about Hope Crossing or Pastor Ellis; it has always been about loving our neighbors and advancing the good of the community. Period.
The event that Friday night brought Reg and Amy to tears as story after story of changed lives were shared. The impact of Hope Crossing will be a testimony of God’s goodness and mercy for generations to come! In fact, the church lives on right now inspiring every church in the city!
But there’s something else you should know; in May, Matt lost his left eye during a routine surgery. So in one week Matt lost his eye, his job, his church and what can feel like his life’s purpose. But the bigger story isn’t about a lost eye or a church ending; it’s a story of a pastor, his family, and church that put the needs of their community first! This is a hard path, but it is the only path that leads us to become what church, faith, and community must become!
Thanks for supporting pastors like Matt and churches like Hope Crossing by supporting Lakewood Connects. Together we are rewriting the story of how faith can affect the greater good in a community and in our world!