When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens
We have often heard the saying, “When God closes a door, He opens another.” This phrase is most often used by Christians referring to new opportunities or reflecting on God’s last assignment while awaiting His next one.
But in this case, it’s an actual door—double glass doors, to be exact—doors that opened Sunday after Sunday for 16 years as Crossroads Community Church. Planter and founding pastor Don Hughes, says, “We have had a vibrant ministry here with attendance as high as 125. As a matter of fact, the church had also hosted a Hispanic church that met in its facility. But when numbers gradually declined, Hughes and church leaders consulted with their SBC of Virginia regional missionary, Steve Bradshaw. They discovered through a Mapping Center demographic study that their Jerusalem community had changed. “As much as we tried different ways of outreach to new people,” says Hughes, “we were not connecting with our neighborhood.”
“I remember sitting and sharing with church leadership several options for moving forward,” Bradshaw recalls. “They could become a satellite location of another larger church; they could plant a new church within a church; they could revitalize by re-launching; they could receive help from a neighboring healthy church; or, they could disband and allow the facility to be used by another church.” After prayerful consideration, the church voted to dissolve. Based on their constitution and bylaws, in case of dissolution, the property was to be deeded to the SBC of Virginia for the continuation of Gospel work.
Crossroads Community Church closed its doors on December 31, 2017. Just two weeks later on Sunday, January 14, 2018, those double glass doors opened to 118 Hispanic believers.
Behind the scenes, SBCV church planting strategist Larry Black had been assisting Iglesia Bautista Conexión to find a permanent building close to its demographic base.
“We had been meeting in temporary spaces and had relocated several times,” says Pastor Fernando Mangieri. “We had been praying that God would provide a permanent home closer to where our members live and where we could reach more Hispanics.”
Iglesia Bautista Conexión had the support of its partner church, Parkway Baptist Church in Moseley, VA, where Conexión had been meeting. As a matter of fact, “Pastor Fernando was considered part of the family and shared office space with our staff,” says Derek Futrell, lead pastor at Parkway. “We loved having them as part of our church family, and we welcomed them to the use of our building. We are going to miss them at Parkway.”
At a lunch gathering with all three churches represented, it was announced that Parkway Baptist Church was willing to pay off Crossroads Community Church’s small remaining mortgage debt so that Iglesia Bautista Conexión could have a move-in ready building for worship, discipleship, and as a Church Planting Center. Pastor Fernando has planted multiple churches in the Richmond area, and now that Iglesia Bautista Conexión has its own building, this church will be a catalyst to plant more Hispanic churches in the region and beyond.
You see, when God closed the doors of Crossroads Community Church, He literally opened the doors of Iglesia Bautista Conexión!