On November 7, 1970, a small group of faith-filled visionaries took a step of faith to begin a new church. At the time there were only a handful of Christian churches in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, none in Arlington, so they decided to start one.
Al and Char Dillon, Bob and Dottie Hughes, Charlie and Jessie Lou Anderson, Richard and Faye Thomas and Fred and Judy Sims were the core group. Bob and Dottie are still with us, two of the most active, faithful, enthusiastic members of our church. (Even during a global pandemic!)
Close to forty people were there for the first service held in Mrs. Schaffer’s school building. Bob Brockus served as the church’s first pastor and the name was Arlington Christian Church. They met in Mrs. Schaffer’s school for almost eight years until April 1978.
Larry Muhr became the church’s second pastor in 1971. They broke ground for the original building on Bowen Road on December 11, 1977. At that time, there were 29 in Sunday School and 43 in morning worship.
Dwaine Westerfield became the church’s third pastor in October of 1978. On December 10, 1978, they had 100 in morning worship.
In May of 1981, Dick Rush became the church’s fourth pastor. Three years later they began construction on a two-story addition. It was September of 1984. Two of our missionaries, Jair and Norma Castillo and David and Sharon Filbeck, were ordained not long after.
In the summer of 1992, God called our family to Arlington and we began our ministry on Sunday, August 9. God blessed us with lots of people coming to Christ and after a few months we began remodeling our existing facilities and adding some much needed paved parking. It was 1993. God blessed us with more growth and two years later we moved into our new Family Life Center, which included a large multi-use gym/worship space, bookstore, choir rehearsal room, new nursery areas, classrooms and even a racquetball court. We purchased a large house next door and turned it into our offices for our growing staff.
We built a three-story, fully authentic castle for kids with split-face block, drawbridge, wooden windows, and everything you can imagine would be in an old castle. The idea was the more used and worn it became the more authentic it would look. And it did. Our kids loved it and our Children’s Ministry exploded. Then we purchased another house to provide space for all the young people who were coming and eventually tore it down to build a Student Life Center to provide even more room.
We bought both houses and built the Castle and Student Life Center with cash. But before we had eliminated the remaining debt on our Family Life Center, it became clear to our leaders we were going to need a bigger piece of property because we had outgrown our home in Arlington. One of our founders, Al Dillon, said we needed to start looking for new property and volunteered to lead the group who would find us a new location. We believed we would need at least 40-50 acres to accommodate all the people God was bringing.
In 1998, we bought 100 acres out in the middle of nowhere. There were two service roads but you rarely saw anyone on them. There were acres and acres of unused land and a whole lot of nothing. We received a lot of criticism for buying that piece of property. But our leaders were convinced it was what God wanted us to do. To be clear, we had no idea what we were doing and certainly no idea what God was doing, but it was obvious He had bigger plans for His church than any of us had ever dreamed.
“We didn’t have a masterplan, but our MASTER had a plan.”
We didn’t have a masterplan, but our MASTER had a plan.
In 2002, we began construction on our first facility at our new location. Officials at the city told us someday there would be a major highway in front of our property, but it would be years away. Many continued to question the wisdom of building this new facility out in the middle of nowhere. In hindsight, it appeared to be genius. But that would be incorrect — it was God and we knew it.
Because we were moving to a new town, we were told we had to change the name of our church. None of us liked that or wanted to do that. We reluctantly agreed and when we discovered we were now in the middle of four different communities — Arlington, Mansfield, Grand Prairie and Cedar Hill — the name Crossroads seemed perfect. We moved into our new home in July of 2004.
In the sixteen years since, we built a SportCenter and a sports complex that’s one of the best anywhere. We also built a 75,000 sq. ft. children’s building and in early 2021, Lord willing, we will open a new 70,000 sq. ft. building just for youth. Thousands of young lives have been impacted, along with their parents, grandparents and friends, for eternity because we were willing to invest in God’s Kingdom and build an amazing place where people could come to know JESUS.
But Crossroads has never been and never will be about “sticks and stones.” Our heart has always been and always will be “flesh and bones” – people. Our passion is to see people’s lives changed forever with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that’s what has happened at Crossroads for the past 50 years (Acts 2:42-47).
There’s no way to accurately measure all the lives that have been impacted and changed forever in the past 50 years, both here in our community and around the world. There’s no way to properly thank the thousands of people who have been active, faithful members of our fellowship all these years. How do we thank all the men and women who have served on our staff over the years — several still serving today and others in great churches all over America? How do we thank all the men who have served as elders and led courageously and faithfully, often in difficult circumstances and facing what seemed to be insurmountable challenges? How do we thank the men who have served as deacons or thousands of others who have served in volunteer ministry positions? How can we appropriately thank all of our missionaries for their sacrifice and service, some of whom are already in Heaven?
This weekend we’ll celebrate 50 years of ministry. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was some way we could thank everyone for everything they have done to help make Crossroads what it is today? If somehow everyone who’s ever been part of this ministry since Day One could be here, there wouldn’t be a building big enough. Only Heaven will be able to hold all those who have come into the Kingdom through the ministry of ACC/Crossroads. So maybe the best thing for us is to thank God for all those He has blessed us with over the past 50 years and those He will bring our way in the years to come.
Andrae Crouch said it best in the song he wrote, simply titled, My Tribute:
“How can I say thanks
For the things You have done for me?
Things so undeserved
Yet You gave to prove Your love for me;
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude
All that I am and ever hope to be
I owe it all to Thee
To God be the glory
To God be the glory
To God be the glory
For the things He has done.”
© 2020. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.