Kendal, our lead pastor, tells the story...
I've always loved helping people discover the hope that breaks out when you let Jesus 'mess up' your life and become your leader. I love nothing more than helping others experience the life they were born for! But if you had told me a few years ago we'd be doing that in Florida, I'd have laughed out loud!
Not that I had anything against Florida. It's just that my wife, Sherry, and I were quite content leading Valleybrook Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, which we got started way back in 1993. Along the way, Valleybrook "parented" a couple churches, Jacob's Well and Cedarbrook. And the plan was to continue in that direction.
Spring 2004 some friends invited us to consider parenting another church, this time in the Orlando area. Sounded like fun, so I flew down to check it out. But then God started messing with me, and I ended up invited to move and start the new church myself!
First reaction? Nope! Not interested. But it was the idea that wouldn't go away, and it soon became apparent God was in it. So in February 2005, we packed up our three kids and moved to Clermont, where we knew exactly zero people. Scary!
At first it was five Andersons and a hamster! But God began gathering the team; by August there were 15. And on March 3, 2006, with 39 of the sharpest people you'll ever meet, the Crossing Church was born. In a dance studio. Mirrors on every wall. Not an ‘A' list facility. But it worked...
Our second Sunday in existence, we were homeless--but that's a whole ‘nother story! By the third Sunday, the door opened at South Lake Charter School, and in 2010 we had the opportunity to move into the Auditorium at East Ridge High School where we currently meet every Sunday at 10am.
In January 2015, we finished paying for our 18-acre grapefruit grove property (go check it out!) And yes, it is a working grove, which means we're farmers :) We have begun the development process and plan to be in our new home by late 2017!