Two friends from Cincinnati, Jim Bechtold and Brian Wells, were carpooling to and from work when they came up with an idea to start a church.
A group of 11 friends began studying and dreaming about creating a church where their friends could explore questions about God.
Pastor Brian Tome saw an ad in the back of a magazine and applied for the role of senior pastor at an upstart church in Cincinnati. He moved to town with his family.
The first public service for Crossroads Community Church of Hyde Park was held at Peoples Middle School (now Clark Montessori) with attendance of about 450.
Crossroads mobilizes into its first nonprofit community partnership with City Gospel Mission Food Kitchen and Shelter in Over-the-Rhine. The financial commitment was more than the church expected to be able to handle but a large anonymous check helped make it happen.
Crossroads added a second Sunday service and then a Saturday night service where Brian Tome once donned a Saturday Night Fever costume. A third Sunday service was added in 1998.
The search for a permanent space began and eventually became focused on the Home Quarters building in Oakley. Four board members and their families signed over their homes and a team went to New York City to bid in an auction for the space against national competition. They successfully purchased the building for the amount they had set and quickly received offers to sell for two to three times more.
Volunteers began contacting everyone in the Crossroads community to rally around the vision for turning the warehouse building into a permanent location for Crossroads.
Before the first seat was installed in the Oakley auditorium the first unofficial service took place as hundreds gathered, seated on five-gallon buckets and boards, to pray.
Crossroads held its first weekend service in its Oakley building that had 1,200 seats and space for 225 children.
A financial campaign to expand the building and accommodate growth began and a vision was developed for the impact Crossroads could have in the communities where it was located.
Crossroads hosted its first Super Bowl of Preaching, which is now known as the Biggest Preach-Off in the USA.
Crossroads helped launch the Wheels ministry, which provides vehicles to individuals in need. To date the program has given away nearly 1,300 vehicles. Wheels has been spun off as its own nonprofit and Crossroads is still involved along with other church partners.
Crossroads launched a financial initiative, the Crazy Campaign, that was focused on not only building expansion in Oakley, but funding the construction of the largest AIDS hospice in South Africa, development of the CityLink Center, and creation of a website launch to share content with other churches. The Oakley building was expanded to seat 3,500 people in the auditorium and space for kids was expanded to two floors.
Crossroads began building global partnerships that led to the development of GO Trips to South Africa and India. The trips provide an opportunity to serve and get to know the people and culture in those communities that are cared for. Trips to New Orleans also began following Hurricane Katrina.
GO Cincinnati, which is now GO Local, was launched to send Crossroads community members out to serve local schools, nonprofits, and people in need in the neighborhoods where they live.
Crossroads partnered with Compassion International to sponsor thousands of children in Nicaragua, as well as Amigos for Christ to bring life-giving clean water to people living in rural villages there.
Crossroads launched its multi-site strategy with the opening of Crossroads Mason in a rented space inside a school building.
Awaited, a unique artistic telling of the Christmas story launched at Crossroads Oakley. It would grow to reach hundreds of thousands of people in Greater Cincinnati.
The Game Change campaign began that allowed Crossroads to purchase a former school building to create Crossroads West Side.
CityLink Center broke ground in the West End.
Crossroads Florence was launched as the second site in a permanent location when a former Old Time Pottery building became available.
Crossroads launched a first-of-its-kind faith-based startup accelerator for entrepreneurs called OCEAN.
Crossroads Mason purchased and moved into a former paper factory.
Crossroads Teaching Pastor Chuck Mingo and a group of volunteers launched UNDIVIDED, a six-week spiritual journey that brings people together for meaningful conversation and experiences that can lead to growth and heal the racial divide.
Crossroads launched Man Camp, which eventually grew into a portfolio of camps including Woman Camp, Couples Camp, Vet Camp, and other camps hosted on 450 acres of land east of Cincinnati.
The I’m In Campaign was launched with a focus on growing the Crossroads Anywhere online church community, as well as physical expansion in Columbus, Dayton, and the east side of Cincinnati. Seven prison locations were also planned as part of the expansion, which led to the development of the Four-Seven prison ministry.
Crossroads Church adopted Central Kentucky-based Crossroads Christian Church.
Crossroads’ plan to develop community in small groups became a focus.
Crossroads Uptown and Oxford were launched as church leaders came to realize that half of all Cincinnati college students stay in the region after they graduate and felt a push to invest in them and their faith.
Crossroads East Side opened in a former retail space.
Crossroads’ online church expansion continued and strategies were created for streaming online including TV, YouTube, and partnerships.
Awaited debuted at the Aronoff Center as a Broadway production for the first time.
Crossroads partnered with RIP Medical Debt to forgive $49.14 million in medical debt for people near the church’s locations.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to building closures and a new vision for what church will look like in the future as online church exploded. Outdoor worship was held at Sawyer Point to mobilize the Cincinnati community as well as in Georgetown and Lexington, while efforts to support frontline workers, teachers, and those in need as a result of the pandemic were ongoing.
Crossroads rebranded to match its mission of serving as a Spiritual Outfitter and guiding people on their spiritual adventure of following Jesus.
UNDIVIDED became a separate nonprofit organization that is growing nationally through partnerships with churches and corporations across the U.S. Crossroads remained a key partner, contributing $1 million per year to its mission.
Crossroads produced its first televised Christmas Special featuring Amy Grant and Lecrae that targeted a national audience and was seen by more than 8 million people.
Crossroads celebrates its 25th anniversary! Who knows what God has planned for Crossroads for the next 25 years, but it will remain focused on connecting seekers to a community of growing Christ-followers who are changing the world.