By LOIS KINDLE
The Crossing Church SouthShore campus will have a new home next spring with the opening of a 41,000-square-foot building on 12 acres in Ruskin.
“This is part of lead pastor Greg Dumas’ vision for five campuses in the Tampa Bay area that’s been on our hearts,” said the Rev. Hector Rivera, SouthShore campus pastor for the past 3 years. “Our goal is to add one every year.”
Presently The Crossing has two campuses, one at 10130 Tuscany Ridge Drive, Tampa, and the other in rented space at the Sun Point Shopping Center, 3058 E. College Ave., Ruskin. The new standalone building will further The Crossing’s passion of building relationships with the community and bringing new members into its fold.
Each campus is congregationally owned, Rivera said.
“We believe that while our church must grow larger, it must grow smaller at the same time,” he said.
The Crossing accomplishes this through the formation of small “life groups” whose members, like disciples, commune with others, build relationships and share their love of God and faith journeys.
It’s through these groups and The Crossing’s strong focus on community involvement that the SouthShore campus continues to grow, Rivera said.
The nondenominational, Bible-based church came to South Shore five years ago and held its first year of services at Lennard High School. Ever since, the congregation has attended Sunday worship at the shopping center location. Its faithful have tripled in number, and weekly attendance is 650.
“We wanted our own location, and the Lord provided land just down the street. We purchased it within the past year and have paid for it in full.”
Folks travelling on College Avenue lately have seen bulldozers hard at work clearing and leveling the large parcel of land to make way for construction. If all goes as planned, the new satellite church at 2409 E. College Ave. should open on Easter Sunday next year. The cost of the entire project, including land, is $5 million, Rivera said.
The new sanctuary, which will seat more than 800 people, has been designed to include a larger, 20-foot stage for the campus’ onsite band and The Crossing’s live, streamed services given each week by one member of its teaching team that includes seven ministers.
The beauty of this, Rivera said, is it affords him as SouthShore campus pastor to have more time to interact with his congregation, greet new attendees, visit folks in hospitals, perform weddings and get out to be involved in the community.
“I get to stay healthy, and do life with my Crossing family,” he said. “It’s the most rewarding job I could ever have. I get to do what God brought me here for, to love His people.”
The new building will also include spaces for its various ministries, a café, and a patio for weddings, receptions and other celebrations.
Sunday services at The Crossing Church SouthShore campus are at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m. A 12:30 p.m. service is currently under consideration.