The Crossing Church (Minnesota)

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The Crossing Church
45°26′33.3″N 93°35′40.7″W / 45.442583°N 93.594639°W / 45.442583; -93.594639Coordinates: 45°26′33.3″N 93°35′40.7″W / 45.442583°N 93.594639°W / 45.442583; -93.594639
Location Elk River, Minnesota
Country USA
Former name(s) The Crossing at Woodland Fellowship
Founder(s) Pastors Eric and Kelly Dykstra
Pastor(s) Eric Dykstra, Kelly Dykstra
Music group(s) Crossing Creative

The Crossing is a Christian church based in Elk River, Minnesota. As an outreach church, The Crossing exists to "help as many people as [they] can cross the line of faith and follow Jesus.".[1] Sermons are based on biblical principles and taught in one- to twenty-week teaching series.[2] Multiple services are offered at five different locations: Elk River, St. Cloud, Zimmerman and St. Michael, and live-streamed at The church is known for its music; along with well-known Christian songs, Crossing Creative has produced two albums and often plays covers of popular secular songs aligned with their sermons.[3]

Values and Beliefs[edit]

Lead Pastor Eric Dykstra stated that The Crossing is "always, only about Jesus,"[4] and focuses on reaching out to people who normally feel uncomfortable or un-welcomed at traditional churches. The church seeks to "embrace culture rather than disengage from reach more people in an attempt to introduce them to Jesus".[5] The church’s website states that they "maintain a traditional theological position." The Crossing’s Statement of Faith is available on its website, as well as its code of values.[6]


2004 - Eric and Kelly Dykstra were sent by Grace Fellowship Church in Brooklyn Park, MN to lead an Elk River church plant, Woodland Fellowship. At the 2004 Sherburne County Fair the church was renamed to "The Crossing at Woodland Fellowship", based on the votes of fair-goers. Dykstra replanted the church with this vision: "To thrill believers with spiritual truths of an awe-inspiring God and to move seekers one step closer to a real relationship with Jesus." In October, The Crossing at Woodland Fellowship held its first Grand Opening at Marcus Theatres’ Elk River Cinema.[7]

2005 - The Crossing adopted Celebrate Recovery, a 12-step faith-based recovery group that welcomed people struggling with "hurts, habits, and hang-ups".[8]

2009 - The first permanent location of The Crossing at Woodland Fellowship was purchased across the street from Elk River High School. The church’s name was abbreviated to "The Crossing," and plans were initiated to expand the church into neighboring cities. In October, The Crossing’s first satellite campus was launched at Westwood Elementary in Zimmerman, Minnesota.

2010 - In February, The Crossing committed to fully support an orphanage in Haiti after the January earthquake that left the country devastated. In June, the first THRILL+MOVE Conference was held at the Elk River Campus. The new Big Lake Campus launched in September at a bar called The Friendly Buffalo in Big Lake, Minnesota. The church made local news when it gave away four pairs of Vikings season tickets on the opening weekend of its series "First & Goal." [9]

2011 - The Grand Opening of The Crossing’s third satellite location occurred in January 2011, when worshippers gathered in January at the Princeton Party House in Princeton, Minnesota. In April, The Crossing made local news again when it gave away 3D televisions and Nintendo 3DS video game systems to new visitors on Easter weekend. 6,000 people attended 11 services at four campuses, followed by nearly 900 professions of faith. A permanent location was purchased for the Zimmerman Campus in May. In June, The Crossing hosted its second THRILL+MOVE Conference.

2012 - In April, The Crossing started its longest series yet. The twenty-week series, "What Christians Believe About:", promised to tackle the most difficult questions that believers and non-believers alike have about the basics of Christianity. In November, The Princeton Campus merged with the Zimmerman Campus.

2013 - The Crossing changed its tagline from "church for people who don’t do church" to "Guilt free. Grace full."

2014 - In February, The Elk River Campus's remodel and expansion opened, providing greater lobby space, a larger auditorium, and more parking.

2015 - The St. Cloud Campus launched in February.[10] A new building for the Haitian orphanage that The Crossing supports, Compassion for All, was completed.

2016 - In January, the church celebrated the launch of the St. Michael Campus in the newly opened St. Michael Cinema. In July, they held their first-ever "Summer at the Movies" series, and launched Wednesday night Cabin Services to provide a church service for weekend travelers.

Ministries and Outreach[edit]

The Crossing College[edit]

The Crossing College began in 2013 to provide an opportunity for people to grow in their faith and gain the knowledge and tools to live out their calling. The Crossing College offers opportunities in Biblical and Theological Studies, Leadership and Ministry Training, Personal Development and Spiritual Formation, and Internship through two programs: a Diploma in Biblical Studies or an associate degree in Church Leadership and Ministry. The Crossing College is accredited through the Transword Accrediting Commission International (TACI).[11]


In 2010, Pastor Kelly Dykstra started TWIRL, the first women’s ministry at The Crossing. According to the church’s website, "The purpose of TWIRL is to thrill the women of The Crossing (and their friends) with the truth of their unique design from God, and to move them to TWIRL – with open arms, generous hearts, and meaningful friendships that together will change the world." Through TWIRL, the women of The Crossing joined together to support the A21 Campaign to help abolish human trafficking and the sex slave trade. They have also raised money for various local and global initiatives.[12]

Free Grace Recovery[edit]

Free Grace Recovery is a 12-step, faith-based recovery group that "gives people a safe place to find freedom from anything: from past pain and present struggles to hard-core addictions." Hundreds of people in the Elk River area, including many teenagers, have found freedom from all kinds of addictions through the CR program.[13]

Compassion For All Orphanage[edit]

The Crossing fully sponsors Compassion for All orphanage in Haiti, through C3 Global and Hunger Relief International. Since it first took up the orphanage in 2010, teams from The Crossing have visited several times to encourage, bring supplies, and assist in repairing the facilities. The building the 33 children were living in was condemned, so The Crossing organized fundraisers to collect enough money to purchase land and construct a new building. Fundraisers have also been organized at the church to provide the children with a clean water source, a much-needed propane stove, and a roof.[14]

Local Outreach[edit]

Since it first began in 2004, The Crossing has reached out to its surrounding communities in a variety of ways. An ad the church printed in a local paper stated, "not only do we want to see life change within the church, we want to see people’s lives being changed in a positive way in our communities and throughout the world." Outreach events have included food and clothing drives, packaging meals at Feed My Starving Children, hosting community 5Ks for various causes, and many others.

Published works[edit]


Grace on Tap[edit]

Pastor Eric Dykstra released his first book, Grace on Tap, in Fall of 2013. The book explains how God's approval does not depend on behavior; God's grace is free and unlimited for followers of Jesus.[15]

The People Mover[edit]

Pastor Kelly Dykstra's book, The People Mover, was released in May 2015. The People Mover describes an "effortless faith" that occurs when you choose to let God carry you through life instead of relying solely on your own efforts.[16]

Unhooked and Untangled[edit]

Pastor Eric Dykstra and Pastor Bruce Rauma of WOW Church of the Nazarene co-wrote Unhooked & Untangled: A Guide to Finding Freedom from your Vices, Addictions, and Bad Habits in June 2014. Unhooked and Untangled is a practical, step-by-step guide to breaking addictions and walking into the "full and satisfying life that God has for you." [17]


Grace is Life[edit]

Crossing Creative's first full-length album, Grace is Life, rose from the desire to express gratitude for all God was doing in the life of The Crossing. It contains music that attempts to "resonate with our culture and the good news of God's grace".[18]

Found My Worth[edit]

The songs on Crossing Creative's second album are meant to encourage worshippers while reminding them that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is what determines each individual's value.[19]


In September 2010, The Crossing opened its second satellite campus in a bar. An article in the West Sherburne Tribune dispersed rumors that alcohol was served in the service.[20]

In February 2011, Pastor Eric Dykstra was criticized for purchasing a car and a house after a church building campaign. This campaign was typical of nonprofit capital campaigns, and was titled "The Code of the Samurai." The people of The Crossing were challenged to give above and beyond to make it possible to expand the Elk River Campus and to eventually open additional Crossing campuses across Minnesota. Church members, including the Dykstras[citation needed], donated large amounts of money to the church, and raised pledges that totaled three million dollars to finance the vision. When asked about the purchases he’d made after the campaign was finished, Dykstra explained that he and his family had moved because "2,000 plus people knew exactly where we lived...we had people stopping over at the house constantly to the point where I actually had less peace at my house than I did at the workplace." He added that because they lived further from work and from their three children’s schools, they needed the 2000 Chevy truck as their second vehicle.[21]

In September 2011, the church was accused of having too much control of its members; former attenders voiced fears that the church was becoming a cult. Pastor Kelly Dykstra responded by saying that The Crossing follows Jesus, but "anytime an organization does something differently it becomes suspect." Pastor Eric Dykstra claimed that he had been misquoted and that he simply "follows Jesus and teaches the Bible [in a way that] ordinary, beer-drinking, McDonalds-eating, average people" can understand and relate to.[22]


Minnesota Iowa Baptist Conference [23]

C3 Global

The Champions Network[24]


  1. ^ "About Us". The Crossing Church. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "Core Values Converge MIBC". Minnesota Iowa Baptist Conference. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Retrieved 6 January 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Dykstra, Eric. "The Crossing Church Story". The Crossing Church. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Edwards, Jennifer (2010-11-11). "See the church without the steeple". West Sherburne Tribune. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  6. ^ Retrieved 13 January 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Our Story". The Crossing Church. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Crossing Recovery Info". The Crossing Church. 
  9. ^ Dykstra, Kelly. "The Crossing Church Giving Away Free Vikings Season Tickets.". High Heels & Duct Tape. Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "Local 411 - Crossing Church Grand Opening Thursday". MIX 94.9 FM. 
  11. ^ "Academics". The Crossing College. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  12. ^ "TWIRL". The Crossing Church. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  13. ^ "The Crossing Celebrates 7 Years in Elk River". Ad. Star News. 2011-10-22. 
  14. ^ "Haiti". Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  15. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "The People Mover Book Summary". Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  17. ^ "Unhooked and Untangled Book Summary". Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  18. ^ "Album - Grace is Life". Crossing Creative. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  19. ^ "Album - Found My Worth". Crossing Creative. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  20. ^ Edwards, Jennifer (2010-11-11). "See the church without the steeple". West Sherburne Tribune. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  21. ^ Collins, Liz. "Pastor Addresses Controversy at the Crossing". Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  22. ^ Collins, Liz. "Elk River Church’s Practices Stir Controversy". CBS Minnesota. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  23. ^ "The Crossing Church - Elk River". Minnesota Iowa Baptist Conference. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  24. ^ Retrieved 13 January 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)