For nearly 12-years CrossHope Chapel was an informal, simpler expression of church, where one could encounter the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, engage others in authentic New Testament fellowship, and be encouraged through the verse-by-verse study of the Bible.
It was the open study of the Bible that was probably the mark of CrossHope Chapel as a church fellowship. Opening to a selected book of the Bible and reading chapter by chapter then discussing it as a group verse by verse was such a faith building experience.
As the pastor of the church, I filled a role on Sunday mornings that was more akin to being a teacher by facilitating the study, fielding the group’s questions, and making the application from each study to our lives today. There was no preaching down at CrossHope Chapel, because every gathering was relaxed and discipleship driven.
When you walked through the doors you would immediately notice that we had round tables, no pews or side by side chairs in a theater style format. Our meetings felt more like a Sunday School group or a gathering at someone’s home. Conversations and interaction was part of our time together, even during the teaching time I would encourage questions in real time.
CrossHope Chapel was a nondenominational church fellowship that began meeting on January 6, 2011, as a casual gathering on Sunday morning in a community room of the Ryan’s Restaurant on Rangeline Road near I-10 in Tillman’s Corner, Alabama. The manager allowed us to use the room at no cost if we ordered their buffet breakfast, which we did and enjoyed, but after several weeks we all seemed to have gotten our fill of that buffet.
We soon moved our meetings to my home in west Mobile, Alabama and after one year we leased a retail office space on Schillinger Road South. In 2016 we moved to a bigger location on Lifeline Court near the intersection of Airport Boulevard and Snow Road in west Mobile, Alabama, and remained there through our final gathering as a church.
Today, August 28, 2022 was our final gathering as CrossHope Chapel. Our season of church ministry has come to an end, mostly because of the COVID pandemic’s negative impact on our weekly attendance coupled with a calling on my heart to return back into hospital chaplaincy.
So this morning we gathered for the final time at Kravers Restaurant for a meal together, and it was most enjoyable and fitting that we ended our season of ministry just as we started — at a restaurant. It was good fellowship and great encouragement with members we haven’t seen in awhile, and it was good hearing our members share their plans for attending other area churches.
As early as 2019 I began to deal with a sense of restlessness that the Lord was calling me to another post beyond CrossHope Chapel. Initially, another church pastorate was what I was thinking, but even while working in a part-time capacity as a hospital chaplain, I didn’t connect the two until 2021 when the pandemic wiped out our regular church attendance and the hospital was asking for more of my time.
I believe the Lord used these circumstances to direct me to the pastoral mission field that He wanted me in, because the church ministry of CrossHope Chapel was a great joy for me. I will forever cherish the people and memory of those who found grace growing in Christ through our Chapel doors, and to you all I am “confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).