snapshots and sabbath

Yesterday I took a "Sabbath" rest from my roles at our church. It has been a busy few weeks with preaching, teaching, counseling, moving into a new facility, launching a new seminary course, not to mention a teething 5-month old and family juggling as well...it was much needed. Rather than attend our regular worship service my family and I had the joy of visiting one of our church plants nearby to worship with our "extended family" and see what God is doing in the heart of Amsterdam, NY. What a joy it was! The scene was set as we drove past closed-down factories, past enormous brick facades that told tales of a bygone era of prosperity for this city, and directly into the belly of this beast . As we approached Crossroads Community Church, which meets in the old (Old is not the appropriate term - ancient/archaic/oooooolllld) YMCA, we were surprised to find ourselves driving past 4 other houses of worship. At each one, a handful of cars sat in the parking lot, the buildings were in disrepair, the congregations were clearly not thriving, and these churches, quite honestly, are on life support. And then we rounded the corner at the Old YMCA and couldn't find a place to park. We walked toward the front door and saw couples, young and old, families, people of every different ethnicity and social class streaming into the building. We gathered for worship in a packed out old gymnasium, celebrated the living Christ, and pondered Spiritual Gifts as Pastor Scott Baldwin delivered a powerful and honest sermon on the gifting of the Body. 6 people responded in faith to the gospel's message, they took a love offering to meet the needs of one of their own, there was a huge pile of produce and bread in the back for anyone in need, and for over an hour after the service ended, no one wanted to leave as they ate, talked, prayed, counseled, and generally enjoyed the fellowship they share.

I have been intimately connected with this church for 4 1/2 years now, from the dreaming stages where 2 guys and their families sensed the call of God to do something crazy they had never considered before, to the first meetings in a real building (without heat, a polished assembly space, kids' spaces, etc.), to slow steps along the way building the church, enhancing the facility, guiding people to the risen Christ. I get to visit every few months and when I do, I feel like the loving uncle who just so happens to live too far away to see his nieces and nephews. So every time I do, all I can see is incredible growth and development. I have watched Crossroads grow in snapshots for the last 4 1/2 years and I am so proud of Scott and Scott and the church they have sacrificed to build, so proud of my church for sacrificially supporting them, and so excited to see what God will do in the future.

What a wonderful Lord's Day. All that, and I didn't have to "do" anything - I got to ride to church in one vehicle (hasn't happened in about a decade), I got to sit down and read the bulletin and talk to some people around me, I got to worship next to my wife without having to look after anything - what a freeing day. I took a cue from my favorite hippie and stopped being a pastor for a day and enjoyed just being a child of God. Thank you Temple, for your flexibility with us, and thank you God, for the great friends at Crossroads.


  1. sounds like a wonderful day! thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. I am so glad you and your family had a free day together...as Pastor DiNovo said...the most important ministry is to your wife...Wise man! I also have been blessed by visiting Crossroads and to see two of our own people from Temple making it their home church...George and Melissa. George is now a part of the worship team and growing in Christ. What a testimony Crossroads has been in Amsterdam! And what an awesome need they are filling there. We missed you but are happy you had a wonderful day with your family! Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts and blessings with us.

  3. i'm so glad that you, amanda, and the kids got a sunday away to worship together. when we 1st moved to az, i couldn't believe what a relief it was to "just" be a congregant... to have steve sit with me, and not have to get up, to talk to people, or doing anything other than worship... it was just sooo nice! crossroads is such a special place, too :) glad you got a sabbath on a sunday... not very common for a pastor :)

  4. Ditto the above comments - so glad you could just be a family attending church together! My parents joined Crossroads last year - they love it there. God is doing great things!