Contemporary Lutheran church opens in Lakewood

Crosspoint Lutheran Church, opening this weekend in Lakewood, may wear the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod label, but the look is definitely one of contemporary styling.

The Missouri Synod I grew up in was all steeples and pipe organs and conservative tradition. Crosspoint, on the other hand, will worship in a strip mall. Guitars and drums rule, small groups will be emphasized and a coffee shop and “community living room” will be open on weekdays.

Supported by the synod’s “New Starts...New Believers” campaign, Crosspoint is actually a daughter church to Prince of Peace Lutheran in Palatine.

The Rev. John Scott, who has served two years as Palatine’s outreach pastor, did most of the legwork for the Lakewood plant and becomes head pastor there.

“It was our goal to find a place where we could set up shop and be a church in the area,” Scott said. “We looked at schools, renting theaters ... but we felt that having a 24/7 presence in the neighborhood was much more important than having a weekend presence.”

So the church completely renovated three retail units next to Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in an upscale strip mall at the corner of Ackman Road and Redtail Drive. The worship area seats 150, but that’s not the only gem in this new space.

Along with the coffee shop, the church offers gathering areas where groups can meet and where the laptop workforce can set up, taking advantage of free Wi-Fi and printing capabilities.

“We didn’t want to use our space just for church,” Scott said. “We wanted the community to be able to have gathering spaces.”

Scott said the neighborhood is heavily populated with young families, but there aren’t a lot of places nearby for mothers, for example, to meet for playdates with other moms and their kids. Crosspoint would like to fill that void, and even provides a glass-walled playroom so moms can talk comfortably and still keep an eye on the action.

All kinds of groups can use the facilities, which also feature a kitchenette with self-serve, donation-based coffee and snacks. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Scott said the Sunday morning focus is on families, especially people who may have “given up” on the churches they grew up in.

“The point is to reach people who haven’t connected with church and haven’t connected with Christ before,” he said, “to have an experience every week where you can feel comfortable meeting God and learning he is right there with you. That God is real, and he actually cares about me.”

To that end, Crosspoint will incorporate multimedia into weekly worship “because people are visual learners,” Scott said.

He’ll have a unique theme each week as a basis for the sermon, the Crosspoint Kids message and take-home fliers with ideas for families to implement lessons at home.

“The hope is that everyone in the family is getting experience learning the point at least four or five times per week, so they can get something out of it,” he said.

Junior and senior high schoolers will join with neighboring Lutheran churches for youth group, and, starting in the fall, adults will be encouraged to join small groups for their own spiritual growth.

Crosspoint launches at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 8.

“Our style is one that’s going to be very comfortable,” Scott said. “People who haven’t been to a church in a long time or haven’t been to church (at all) should feel right at home.”

New pastor at St. Hugh: Congratulations to the Rev. Marion Kyger Phipps, newly installed rector at St. Hugh of Lincoln Episcopal Church in Elgin.Phipps had been serving as assistant rector at St. Hugh of Lincoln until Father Tom Atamian#146;s retirement last year. She transitioned to a role as priest in charge and was called to officially become rector at the recommendation of the search committee in February.Ÿ #147;In the Spirit#148; covers churches and synagogues in the Fox Valley area; contact to submit information or ideas for upcoming columns.