NORFOLK, Va. (BP)–A congregation made up mostly of college students has taken the call to missions personally. So personally that they plan to send 100 percent of their congregation on volunteer mission trips in 2003.
Pastor Mark Reon, who started Crossroads Church at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., three years ago, said he wants the congregation to worry more about how many are going on mission trips, rather than how many are attending church services. The church consists of about 80 college students and 20 young professionals.
“We want to have a pipeline of young people that are committing to career missions,” Reon said. “That’s our heart’s desire, to see our church dispersed around the world and to have a global impact with the gospel.”
With that vision in mind, the congregation plans to send five missions teams to Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean this year. The church raises all of its support for mission trips, and this past year raised $40,000 for one trip by selling doughnuts, candles, pizza cards, writing letters and through various other events.
Member Kevin Trimper, a recent graduate of ODU, plans to be a part of the church’s bold strategy. While a student, Trimper went on all three of the church’s trips to Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic and Brazil.
“The greatest thing I’ve learned is how big the world is and that it is so much bigger than what I thought,” he said. “God’s been showing the church that our top priority needs to be missions. The whole church has rallied around this vision.”
Trimper and his new wife, Lauren, plan to one day be missionaries with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
Mike Lopez, team leader of the IMB’s collegiate mobilization team, hopes other churches will follow Crossroads’ example.
“I’m just amazed to see how God is using this church,” Lopez said. “This is not a mega-church — this is barely a mini-church — but you can see what they are doing to impact the world.”
When new people visit the church, member Tim Vango, a senior information systems major, can’t help but wonder to which country they will go.
“If you come, you’re gonna end up going somewhere,” said Vango, a member of the church for two years who went on a missions trip to Burkina Faso last summer. “You’re not going to be sitting for that long. This church is more about sending people than sitting in a pew.”
For more information about the church go to www.crossroadsimpact.com. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: BREAKING GROUND.