In 2002, Gordon Deuel wrapped up an event in Lakeville and recalls driving through the two small communities of Elko and New Market on his way home. He was curious; something was drawing him here.
Later, Pastor Gordon returned to the area fasting and praying. After talking to residents, he felt a calling by God to serve the community. In 2006, the Deuels moved to Elko New Market.
The following years were spent serving Little Prairie United Methodist Church and Heritage United Methodist Church. Small groups gatherings in Elko New Market led to regular weekly worship beginning on Easter Sunday in 2015. It was at that time that Pastor Gordon started working full-time with Crossroads Church and Melissa Deuel received her pastoral license to serve part-time. In 2018, Crossroads Church Elko New Market took a step of faith and officially become an independent daughter church of Lakeville’s Crossroads Church.
What has been your most significant success in pastoring Crossroads Church?
The Crossroads Church mantra is “Where Faith and Life Meet.” Our ministries help people connect faith with daily life. There is no greater success than to see a life that has been changed. These moments have been highlighted through adult baptisms, sharing testimonies, “TED Talk” services (where our members share stories), and walking with others as they take steps to get help – such as entering a treatment program.
You’ve partnered with other organizations in the area. How has this helped the church and community?
The various faith communities strengthen our area. Whether it is St. Nicholas, Christiana, Tapestry or Crossroads, we all bring value to the community and encourage people in their faith. We are all working to expand the Kingdom of God.
Participating in events like Fire Rescue Days, the Easter Egg Hunt and Halloween Party gives us a chance to partner with other organizations and churches to truly build up the community. By building relationships with one another, we work toward similar goals.
I’m also honored to have worked with former Police Chief Steve Mortenson to develop the chaplain program and to serve as the city’s police chaplain. My father was a police officer. This background created a passion for reaching those who help others. While my primary duty is to our local officers, I’m also called upon to assist with community members going through difficult times or to be there for families when they find out a loved one was killed.
Crossroads Church has many events taking place throughout the year. What advice do you have for business owners for getting the word out?
“If you build it, they will come” only works in the movie Field of Dreams. We can’t expect people to come simply because we are here. Business and organizational leaders must continually get out into the community, build connections, make contacts, and have a consistent presence.
It also helps to let people know what’s coming up next… have something to invite people to.
What challenges have you had to overcome and how can other business owners learn from your actions?
Starting a new faith community helped me to see how “faithless” I could be as a pastor. When serving an existing church, I knew every Sunday someone would be there because “that is what they did.” There was a rich history already established in the community. But in starting a new church, we were utterly dependent upon God. I’m so humbled by God working in ways I never could have expected.
In business, it can be scary to step into the unknown, but our faith and conviction will help guide us through the unknown.
The second big takeaway learned as a new church start is that we needed to act our age and our size. Early in the life of our church, there were many difficult conversations about great ideas. During those discussions, we needed to step back and be clear about our vision and direction. What works in one church may not be practical for our church. We needed to be realistic about our expectations and goals – taking one step at a time.
Remember to act your age and size.
How do you most benefit from your Chamber membership?
I’ve always enjoyed being a part of the Elko New Market community and a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Joining the Chamber board has enhanced my experiences. Not only has it helped me stay informed about what is happening around here, but it has also given me a chance to get involved and help shape things for which I have a passion. Being a part of the Chamber of Commerce has provided countless opportunities to network with other businesses and build meaningful relationships and partnerships.