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Crosspoint Church a leap of faith its pastors had to make

The three all had jobs elsewhere but felt God's calling for a new venture.

By JEAN JOHNSON
Published September 30, 2006


BROOKSVILLE - A banner hangs over the entrance that reads, "Where real life, real people and real faith intersect."

That sign and those words helped introduce Crosspoint Church, which began offering worship services Aug. 13 at Central High School. One hundred forty-eight worshipers attended that inaugural service.

Although that's an impressive number for a first-time appearance, Crosspoint's three pastors - Paul Castelli, Brad Klausman and Wayne Cordova - had laid some groundwork prior to the opening service.

They offered only one monthly worship service in May, June and July, Castelli said, "to get people to check us out. In between, we would do 'come-back nights,' offering a barbecue, a comedy night and a kids festival in one of the parks. The people got to know and recognize us and our leadership team in a laid-back environment, and it was very successful.

"We averaged about 140 people at those preview services and about 65 in the come-back weeks," said Castelli, 31.

Those numbers gave them the faith they needed, and when Crosspoint was launched, "we did so with a really good foundation of people," Castelli said.

Castelli, Klausman and Cordova met during their tenure at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach. Crosspoint is their first venture as pastors, and they are sharing the job.

After moving from New Orleans to Spring Hill in 2001, Castelli said, he had been praying about the next direction in which God would lead him and thought about the opportunities in Spring Hill - and everything began falling into place.

The Klausmans moved from Arkansas in January, and the Cordova family moved from West Palm Beach in July. The moves were definitely leaps of faith, considering they all had positions at other churches with good salaries.

Castelli was encouraged by the recent growth in Spring Hill and was happy to see many couples in attendance who were in their 30s with children and teens.

Worship services at Crosspoint are not the standard sermon delivered from the pulpit. It is presented more like a skit.

On a recent Sunday, Castelli and his wife, Anne, continued a series called "Marriage Mythbusters," acting out what life was like during the early part of their marriage.

Klausman, 35, is married and has two children. He felt so strongly about this call to his new life that he sold everything his family had to get to Spring Hill.

"We're having the time of our life," he said. "You've got to live boldly."

Describing how and who leads the worship services, Klausman said it depends on the topic.

"Paul is good for communication; I have a way with money, and Brad with romance. It's based on experience and what we're passionate about," he said.

Klausman added, "We couldn't do it without the wives; they are very involved. We're community-based and believe in the power of God in relationships and doing life together instead of standing up and saying (to the congregation), 'Thanks for coming,' and everybody goes home. I believe in life together, where people can come together and join together and pray for ourselves and lift each other up."

Klausman said the three pastors have been able to pay rent to the school, buy supplies and offer community events. They deliver lunch or dinner once a month to fire stations as way of giving back to the community.

"I always believe that churches, or the body of Christ, should have an open hand," he said. "We're called to bring joy and love to all people, not to stockpile money. We want people to see the love of Christ and will try to do things to show that love and not ask for anything in return."

Sunday worship begins and ends with songs accompanied by two guitarists, a drummer and one or two female singers. PowerPoint displays show the lyrics, inviting the congregation to participate.

"Music is one of the things we know people listen to," Castelli said, "and it's exciting to see how they respond to a live band."

Another exciting addition to the church is Crosspoint Kids, a ministry for children from infants to fifth-graders.

Crosspoint Kids meets during worship service, and the program is designed to allow children, with the assistance of teachers and helpers, to encounter God through innovative drama, stories, music and art.

On Sunday, there were between 30 and 35 children in attendance.

"It keeps growing by word of mouth," Klausman said, "with people inviting people and families inviting families. People show up because they believe we're here to show them the love of Christ. We want to be practical because Jesus is practical."

Sheryl and Ken Locke have been with Crosspoint since October and are part of a leadership team that was instrumental in making the church a reality.

Ken Locke worked on the monthly preview services and said he "felt the Lord was leading us to help Crosspoint get going."

His main responsibility is setting up the altar and stage and the three children's classrooms. He controls the lighting for the band and helps unload the trailer with the trappings needed for worship.

"It's the first time I'm doing a mobile church and helping to get it started," the Hernando High School teacher said. "It's a lot of work, but there are a lot of rewards. We have God's blessings and are moving in the right direction."

Sheryl Locke greets people at the entrance and sets up tables with programs and literature. Son Gregory Locke, 14, helps out with the sound equipment and lighting and runs the laptop so everyone can see what's on the screen.

Arriving at 8 a.m., daughter Stephanie Locke, 17, assists with the children's ministry and sometimes helps teach.

"This is the first time I'm stepping into the pastor role of a church," said Cordova, 29. "We used to spend much of our time calling each other and sharing frustration with what the modern church is not doing in the community.

"We wanted to do church the way it was meant to be done, with focus on meeting practical needs, so after several years of whining and crying, we decided to do something about it."

All three pastors felt a calling and decided, "Why not do it together?" Cordova said.

"That's what moved us from where we were to Spring Hill," he said.

"I'm awed and humbled by the fact that God let me do this, and I can't get over the feeling that I'm involved in something that is way bigger than myself and believe that God wants us to do this in Hernando County," Cordova said. "I don't want it to be the kind of church where people come to, but the kind where people go out to the community. It's about outside the walls, not inside."

Klausman's wife, Sabrena, said: "It's not very often in life where you get an opportunity to take that big risk as an adventure, and that's what we decided to do. We didn't want to live life and at the end say we lived safe. We don't want to live safe; we want to live on the edge."