May - 22 - 2019

Dear Church Family,

I’ve had many people ask, “Do you wish you would’ve retired prior to this pandemic?” My answer without hesitation is simple: NO!

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not “into” pandemics. But I do know that God does His best work in the midst of crisis. That’s why I’m grateful to be still leading and collaborating with our Elders and Directional Leadership Team as we pray and plan for the future.

After much of the above (praying and planning), here are 4 moves we are making:

ONE, we will re-open our building in stages. When we get the green light, we will carefully hold public services. We are not going to disregard public safety or defy our governor. We will start small, encouraging home watch parties, and hosting smaller (yet-to-be-determined) “outside our buildings” and “inside our buildings” gatherings.

TWO, we continue a full online worship experience. Our Crossroads survey and many national surveys of church-going people showed that even when our buildings open, the majority of you will opt for watching in the safety of your home for a while longer. For that reason and more (the biggest being every single person far from God we’re trying to reach is online), online church is here to stay.

THIRD, we will reduce our 2020-2021 budget by 10%. Why? It’s reality. Churches and parachurches in our country are planning anywhere from a 10-30% reduction in income for the next year. Since you, our investors, have been so generous (THANK YOU!), we’re being guardedly optimistic and forecasting only a 10% reduction. What does that mean?

A. We will cut $400,000 from our $4,300,000 budget which ends on May 31.

B. Since much of our budget is fixed costs, staff will be significantly affected. In fact, 15 of our 43 staff members will be negatively impacted by COVID-19. 7 staff members will be laid off, the rest will take pay cuts (including the Directional Leadership Team) or have their hours reduced.

These staff decisions are extremely painful. Our leadership team feels the weight of this, and we grieve the loss of these staff members from our team. We haven’t had to lay off staff since 2008-2009…and I hope we never have to do it again.

FOURTH, we will delay the opening of our Cottage Grove Campus for several months. This is a tough one, but multi-site churches like Crossroads are taking this step (due to the survey results). Since in-building demand will be low for months, and since the Cottage Grove Campus is only 3 miles from the Woodbury Campus, this move makes sense. As a Cottage Grove resident, I am grateful that I can get to the Hastings Campus in 15 minutes or the Woodbury Campus in 6 minutes. I am also hopeful that all our campuses will fully re-open some day.

A lot of changes. And with change comes some pain.

What’s not changing is our mission. Our mission is not to hold gatherings inside buildings for thousands of people on the weekend. Our mission is to see more people in more places meet and be changed by Jesus. Buildings will always be part of our methodology, but the future will be a combination of physical and digital ministries (my new word is “phy-gital”). I never want Crossroads to be a “Blockbuster in a Netflix world”. Therefore, we will stay laser-focused on our mission and hold everything else loosely.

Please know that every single move we’re making has been bathed in prayer and the result of weeks of discussion. God is still on His throne. We will get through this crisis, and we will continue to pray, “God use ‘this’ until you choose to remove it”.

Lastly, know that I am grateful for your partnership, prayers, and understanding,

Pastor Phil

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