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Crosspoint United Methodist Church Promotes Education in the Congo

GBHEM
February 1, 2016

Inspired by the recession, one congregation builds churches and gives Bibles and bikes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

At the beginning of the recession in 2008, Crosspoint United Methodist Church in the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference began accepting donations for those less fortunate. During a time when the prevailing sentiment was to be less generous with money, Crosspoint’s congregation was encouraged and compelled to give more. Inspired by Henry Blackaby who once wrote, “Find out where the Lord is at work and join him there,” they started to find ways to help in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and promote global education.

“I have always had a hunger to be a global Christian. God called me to preach in the local church, but He also called me to have a heart for the world,” said Rurel Ausley, lead pastor at Crosspoint United Methodist Church in Niceville, Florida. “At the time of the recession, we cast the vision that if we were hurting – and we were – then how much more were our brothers and sisters in Christ hurting throughout the world?”

Crosspoint worked with the North Katanga Annual Conference in the DRC to train pastors and lay leaders with the International Leadership Institute. They also initiated and funded many other projects, including the building of water wells in Zambia, a community center for missionaries in Iraq, sponsoring seminary students in the DRC and Colombia, and helping human trafficking ministries.

Over the years, Crosspoint members have formed lasting relationships with the people of the North Katanga Annual Conference, including a strong bond with Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda, leader of the North Katanga Episcopal Area. Wanting his congregation to take their support to the next level, Ausley asked Bishop Ntambo about his key priorities and needs. The Bishop expressed his goal to build over 50 churches and parsonages. It was an ambitious feat, but the difference these new buildings could make would be monumental.

Inspired by the opportunity to make a lasting impact with a larger project, the church leadership at Crosspoint began accepting donations for Bishop Ntambo’s churches. In 2013 and 2014 the church’s Advent offering was designated for building churches in the DRC. Eventually, Crosspoint was able to send enough funds for the construction of 30 new churches and two parsonages.

In the summer of 2015, after 16 of the churches had been completed, Bishop Ntambo invited Ausley to come see the results of the donations and help dedicate the churches. “We traveled by truck, motorcycle and plane to reach far away villages that were difficult to visit,” Ausley said.

Today, ten more churches are in construction and all of the churches have experienced exponential growth with their new buildings.

Crosspoint also helped build the chapel for Kabongo Methodist University in the DRC, an effort that Higher Education and Ministry has supported in partnership with the university’s president, Dr. Kimba Evariste. The Rev. Dr. Kim Cape, general secretary at Higher Education and Ministry, visited Kabongo Methodist University in October 2015 and saw firsthand the important work that Crosspoint has accomplished there.

In November 2015 Dr. Evariste met with the staff of Higher Education and Ministry in Nashville, TN. The staff agreed to fund the transfer of professors to Kabongo Methodist University for the 2016 academic year. Higher Education and Ministry continues to work in tandem with Crosspoint and Kabongo Methodist University to further the education of students in the DRC. Dr. Cape views this collaboration as a strong example of how agencies of The United Methodist Church can also work with local churches, pastors and Annual Conferences on similar projects.

In addition to these building projects, Crosspoint partnered with the Bikes and Bibles ministry to send 485 bicycles and Bibles to pastors throughout the DRC. “For a pastor, a bicycle multiplies his effectiveness – it is his livelihood as well as his ambulance,” explains Ausley. The Bibles presented were in the Kiluba language and are often too expensive for a pastor in the DRC to buy.  

“To see what God is doing there was exciting,” said Ausley. “To see what Crosspoint is doing in partnership with Him there, is exhilarating.” As one of the fastest growing United Methodist churches, Crosspoint United Methodist Church looks forward to continuing their relationship with Higher Education and Ministry and the North Katanga Annual Conference to promote and support a global church.
 

Rurel Ausley is the lead pastor at Crosspoint United Methodist Church in Niceville, Florida. Crosspoint has been recognized as one of the fastest growing United Methodist churches, with over 1,000 in worship attendance.

To learn more about the North Katanga Annual Conference and Bishop Ntambo Nkulu, visit: http://www.northkatangaumc.org/