|Crossroads Community is a church ‘who loves Jesus’|
Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston:
Pastor Rick Smithers of Crossroads Community Church stands next to his new podium. The church, located on Bonbrook Mill Road, opened five weeks ago.
Monday, March 11, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
A new church on Bonbrook Mill Road recently opened its doors.
Crossroads Community Church, formerly Wesleyan Tabernacle, opened five weeks ago, and pastor Rick Smithers is excited to be spreading the "good news of Jesus" to the community.
"This Sunday will be our sixth service," he said.
The church currently has a congregation of about 80, but "we had about 150 people to show up on the first Sunday," Smithers said.
The site where Crossroads was built used to be a small church called Wesleyan Tabernacle, which was just a small basement transformed into a church in the 1970s. The conditions of that building started going downhill over the years, according to Smithers, and the congregation grew smaller. The church finally closed its doors in 2005.
"I felt the calling from the Lord a while back and knew I wanted to start a church of my own," said Smithers. "God put this spot on my radar several times and told me to do something with it."
Smithers, who has worked in construction for over 15 years, gutted the old basement himself and with the help of volunteers built the new church in two years.
"I had help from volunteers at our mother church, Parkway House of Prayer in Vinton," he said.
He also received help from a sister church, East Lake Community Church at Smith Mountain Lake.
Crossroads is a non-denominational church for those who simply "love Jesus," he said.
Smithers said it took him around two days to create his first sermon and he was very nervous that first day.
"I gave a message on hope," he said. "It was terrifying."
But after the first sermon was behind him, it was smooth sailing.
Smithers was born and raised in the Burnt Chimney area of Franklin County and graduated from Franklin County High School in 1987.
"I love the community here and the schools," he said. "We should be very proud of our schools and our kids."
He served in the U.S. Army for four years and earned a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministries with a minor in counseling from Hobe Sound Bible College in Florida.
He is currently about to finish his master's degree in ministerial leadership and plans to pursue a doctorate.
Smithers contributes much of the success of the church to his wife, Tianna.
"There are times when things got rough and the easy way would have been to just give up," he said. "But, my wife stood by me and gave me all her support. I kept going, and now the church and I are ready to go out and reach hearts and help the community."
Smithers said he would like to reach out to other parts of the community as well.
"I'd like to plant smaller churches throughout Franklin County," he said. "I'd also like to see more Christian schools here, if possible, and I'd like to find a way to reach out more to the needy. I don't want to see children go to bed with empty stomachs and empty hearts."
The Smithers' have four children, Lorelei, 17, Wyatt, 12, Joseph, 10, and Ellajane, 5.
Crossroads is located off U.S. 220 just past the railroad tracks on Bonbrook Mill Road. Services are held Sundays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Smithers said he plans to start Sunday school classes the first week in April from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Part of the church mission statement is to "exalt Christ and value people...to serve Him and love others."
"We are a church who loves Jesus and we plan to stand up for Him," said Smithers.