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I have to admit this one's personal for me. A friend of mine from years back has become a member of a Church that self-identifies as "The Crossing".

I've been able to find some information on the Church via multiple Google result hits, but everything I'm finding is solely from an individual, specific, local Church. (Example)

I'm very interested in knowing the history of this Church. Is it considered a denomination? Is each Church independent? Is the doctrine sound (or at least in-line with standard protestant evangelical theology)? From what I've been able to dig up it looks like a Church similar to Evangelical Free Churches - doctrine based on salvation by faith alone, but with a strong focus on doing good works, community involvement, and the expression of Christian love. It also looks to be quite liberal in the teachings, and likely the music, and the focus on "being a good person".

Does anyone know of the background - the origins and underlying teachings, and is this considered a "denomination" in the same way "Assembly of God" Churches are? Or is this more of a free-thinking, liberal movement that is loosely organized?

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There's one of those on the UW Madison campus I think they're Wesleyan. But that could just be a matter of proximity. I know they're pretty friendly with the Catholics on campus, could be a good attempt at non-denominational ecumenism. –  Peter Turner Nov 2 '12 at 3:13
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I'm still no expert, but I've been able to determine the following through research and reading of the site's content as well as watching a few of the messages.

The Crossing Church noted in the question seems to be a collection of Churches in the state of Minnesota, and don't appear to be directly related to other Churches with the same name elsewhere in the country, although the theology and style are similar.

This Church falls squarely in the "Purpose-Driven" "Emergent Church" category. As such, there is quite a bit of theology that falls in-line with "mainstream" Protestant Christianity, and also, quite a bit that could be considered controversial, and even heretical by many standards.

The Church's Statement of Faith reads like almost any other Protestant denomination's Statement of Faith. (Link to their statement in PDF format, sorry, it's all they offer.) The statement covers:

  • Biblical inerrancy
  • The Trinity
  • Virgin birth and identity of Jesus as fully God, and fully Man
  • Man created in God's image, separated by sin, original sin
  • Jesus' death as a substitutionary payment for our sins
  • The coming personal, visible return of Christ
  • Salvation by Grace through Faith in Jesus
  • bodily resurrection of the just and unjust, eternal joy of the saved, enternal, conscious punishment of the unsaved
  • Indwelling of the Holy Spirit for the saved
  • Baptism by immersion for believers as a sign of obedience (not as necessary for salvation)
  • Participants in the Lord's Supper should be believers, in good fellowship with Christ
  • The Universal Church - all believers

They also list "The Code" (also a PDF link), which makes it very clear that they are intensely focused on evangelism, using any means possible to reach the lost.

Rather than listing all the bullet points, here are a few that stand out:

  1. We are united under the visionary. The Crossing is built on the vision God gave Pastor Eric. We aggressively defend our unity and his vision.

  2. We are an invasion force, not a fortress. We invade our city with Christ; we don't hide from the city and condemn people. We are always missional.

  3. We are all about the numbers. Every number is a life influenced. We unapologetically set goals and measure progress so God can influence more lives or His kingdom.

Note: This next section could clearly be simply the opinions of disgruntled ex-members. It's included to answer the "Are their beliefs in-line with mainstream Protestant Christianity. I've cited sources, but cannot vouch for their reliability, having no first-hand experience myself.

Going beyond their own website, we start to see some statements by ex-Church members that would because for concern in more conservative mainstream Christianity.

From http://apprising.org/2011/07/29/eric-dykstra-and-the-crossing-church/

Putting untrained, struggling people in a leadership position. Most Churches consider Godly living, and strong personal testimony to be a requirement for eligibility in a leadership position. This Church appears to take a different approach, encouraging people that are "not qualified" to become leaders in the hopes that this will strengthen their walk with the Lord.

In July 2009, my wife and I were in counsel with “Pastor” Bruce Rauma. We were going through a lot of stressful personal things, and I was still grieving my Mother’s death that had happened in May of 2009. Bruce called a meeting with us to meet him at the Church and told us that he thought we should become Small Group leaders.

I explained to Bruce that we were not ready to shepherd people, as we were broken ourselves. He said “no” that we were ready, and that running a group would help us with our own problems. So we became Small Group leaders. There was no training, no interview of our backgrounds, nothing. Then we were recruited to by “Pastor” Chris to leave the Elk River Campus and plant the Zimmerman Campus.

Allowing non-believers to be Pastors:

There was a young man named Jeremy who was on our FIT team. He was a seeker who started going to The Crossing. One week he took me aside and told me that he was planning on moving to Florida and did not think that he “buys” into this Jesus thing.

The following week, he was running around telling everyone that he was now going to become the next “campus pastor”. I asked my leader what was going on, and how that it Biblical, he said that Eric thinks that Jeremy H. needs to be challenged to push him along in faith.

The above practice seems to be in line with the philosophy of Alan Hirsch:

we need to reframe evangelism within the context of discipleship…even “the Twelve” (and “the Seventy”) were all what we would call “pre-conversion disciples.” (source)

The Church is also, apparently, very harsh to those who choose to leave the fold. (source)

As for the history, it appears that the main Pastor, Eric Dykstra, was "given a vision by God" to start the Church. (See point 1 in "The Code" above.) This is a theme that seems to be quite common in the Emergent Church as well.

Currently, the Church operates in four different campuses, all near Minneapolis Minnesota.

Other, completely unrelated Churches go by the name "The Crossing" and seem to be similar in many respects - boilerplate statement of faith, but with strong indication that they fall squarely into the definition of "The Emergent Church".

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