Connecting People to Their God-Given Purpose
Randy and Melissa Swearengin have been serving at CrossBridge Church in Marshfield, Missouri, for five years and have seen God work in many ways. CrossBridge began as a church-plant started by retired truck driver Allen Greenfield and his wife, Carol. Luther Rice has played a huge role in equipping many of those who minister at the now 10-year-old church. We praise God for how He has answered many prayers and provided everything necessary to fulfill the church’s mission of connecting people to their God-given purpose.
Randy Swearengin, Senior Pastor of CrossBridge, is a graduate of Luther Rice, having earned his Bachelor of Arts in Religion this past May. Melissa Swearengin, Director of Christian Education at the church, is also a graduate of Luther Rice University (LRU). She has earned multiple degrees from LRU, including a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, Master of Christian Studies, Master of Divinity, and a Doctor of Ministry this past May. Several other key staff members are Luther Rice students or graduates as well.
CrossBridge has a dynamic local and international missions outreach, including: a women’s ministry that focuses on missions and assists a homeless shelter; a men’s ministry heavily involved in mentoring other men; an active children’s ministry that frequently carries out missions activities appropriate to their grade-level; and a thriving youth ministry that takes mission trips to help refurbish houses for needy families. Josh James is the Youth and Music Minister and a graduate of Luther Rice. He earned his Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling in 2012. James utilizes his counseling education regularly as he often advises youth and works with their families. The church has taken international mission trips to Honduras and financially supports career missionaries overseas.
Another Luther Rice graduate at CrossBridge Church is Associate Pastor Tristan Crotinger, who graduated from LRU in 2013 with his Bachelor of Arts in Religion degree. As a teacher at the church, Tristan has been instrumental in discipleship, as his classes are very detailed. His wife, Jaime, is involved in helping the church’s mission team and counseling. She graduated from LRU with her Bachelor of Arts in Religion and her Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling in 2013.
As a newly married young couple, LRU students John and Pashia Rasmussen have been active in helping area churches in need of supply ministers. They will also be teaching a class this summer at CrossBridge.
One of the most unique ministries at CrossBridge Church is the lay counseling center. The center is celebrating its fourth year and growing bigger throughout our entire area. The center is a fully funded ministry of the church—never charging anyone for services. It is seen as a ministry opportunity for the community and to point people to salvation and God’s Word for their healing. Dr. Ron Cobb, LRU Counseling Degree Program Coordinator, has been instrumental in the Center’s success. He has provided training for the counselors and always offers support and advice when asked. Another LRU student, Rex Childress (currently completing his Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling) is the counseling center’s director. At this time, there are 12 trained lay counselors and more are in training this summer.
Childress was amazed when God allow him to lead one of the area’s largest drug dealers to Christ as a result of the one-on-one counseling through the Bible. The church also had the privilege of counseling those affected by the 2011 Joplin tornado and working with Samaritan’s Purse. The Swearengin’s minister though crisis and premarital counseling, providing healing for marriages and families. They also continue discipling others, walking with people through what Cobb calls “soul care.” God has used this lay counseling center to help fulfill the command shared in 1 Thess. 5:14, to “admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with everyone.”
Luther Rice is excited about the work that is being done by its graduates at CrossBridge Church. The training gained at Luther Rice through the Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling degree is being used to touch many lives through a few obedient servants in Marshfield, Missouri. The Swearengin’s are quick to give God all the glory for what has been accomplished because it is only possible through God and the power of the Holy Spirit.