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By JUDITH LACY
A place for many: Crossroads pastor Bevan Smith with the Palmerston North
church's new auditorium.
Photo: LEILANI HATCH NOT STUCK IN THE PAST
It is a myth Christianity is dying, Crossroads pastor Bevan Smith says.
Christianity is, in fact, going ''ballistic'' around the world.
''It's growing and thriving because it's real and people realise just how
much having a relationship with Jesus Christ can help them and how
important that is for life.''
It is the largest religion in the world and is growing exponentially in
''The growth is not so strong here in New Zealand but we are still holding
Most cities in New Zealand have growing churches and Palmerston North
is fortunate to have a number in healthy situations, Mr Smith said.
Crossroads is growing because it is family and community-oriented with a
contemporary worship style.
''We are a church that seeks to be contemporary and relevant to modern
day life. We don't want to be a church that is stuck in the past and where
people are expected to enter a time warp to come to church.''
Worship is lead by a band and Bible teaching is relevant to modern life, Mr
Mr Smith has been at Crossroads for five years and was a pastor in
Masterton before that.
But it's not
APalmerston North church
which offers a place for you
is building a 650-seat audi-
torium to cater for a growing con-
When Crossroads, formerly
Queen Street Bible Chapel, moved
to its Church St site in 1997
members were rattling around ,
pastor Bevan Smith said.
Then it had 250-300 parishioners,
now about 800.
Its existing auditorium seats 300
to 350 people and is pretty full most
This, despite Crossroads adding
an extra Sunday morning service to
cater for the growing congregation.
The auditorium will have a
sloping floor and a cafe, offices and
mothers room attached.
The cafe will initially be for our
people to hang out when they come
together on Sunday , but could later
be open to the public if there is
Being open during the week could
complement Crossroads other com-
munity activities such as the early
childhood centre and Mainly Music
The project has a budget of $2
million with most of the money
coming from the churchgoers and a
little bit of help from the bank , Mr
Central Energy Trust has provid-
ing funding for some electrical work.
Work is expected to be finished by
the end of the year.
The former Tony s Tyre Shop on
the corner of Church and McGiffert
streets, more recently leased to the
YMCA, and buildings which housed
two secondhand shops have been
demolished to create carparking.
The old tyre shop was originally
the home of wholesale manufactur-
ing company Superior Upholstery.
One of its partners was Denis
Turnbull senior. His son, also Denis,
who did his apprenticeship at
Superior Upholstery, now owns
The former home of Budgethelp@
Crossroads has been sold and
New premises have been built for
the preloved clothing shop in
McGiffert St. The early childhood
centre s playground has already
The new auditorium is being built
on top of existing carparking.
Future plans are for a second,
smaller auditorium and more office
space. At present staff are sharing
offices. Budgethelp@Crossroads has
moved into the existing office block
temporarily, Mr Smith said.
He said the church feels its
growth is inhibited by the size of its
The demand for space has been
obvious for five years.
The existing worship space will be
used for children s programmes
which are bursting at the seams .
The project is not just about
Crossroads or a building, a point
reflected in the title of the develop-
ment s brochure for the congre-
gation, More Than Bricks & Mortar,
Mr Smith said.
It is about offering services to the
community and spreading the mess-
age of Jesus Christ. Being able to
cater for more people means the
church can extend its ministries.
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