By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Two large congregations in Lee County are preparing to move into new facilities.
NorthStar Church will hold the first services in its new building Aug. 14, and Cross Pointe Ministries hopes to do the same within a month.
“This is another step in the door to the future,” said the Rev. Terry Ledbetter, pastor of NorthStar, a Southern Baptist congregation in Saltillo that will move into a 40,000-square-foot building on Bauhaus Drive.
That building is more than twice the size of the church’s current facility, located about a mile south of the new site on Old Highway 45.
Cross Pointe is almost doubling its space as well. Members of the nondenominational church will move worship from the current 12,000-square-foot facility on North Eason Boulevard into a 21,000-square-foot space next door.
Volunteer labor helped both congregations keep costs down.
NorthStar benefited from hundreds of hours of what Ledbetter called “sweat equity.” It was given by church members as well as by out-of-state volunteers who hooked up with the church through the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Ledbetter estimated NorthStar received as much as $750,000 in free labor from fellow Christians. The church paid $1.3 million to build the facility.
Cross Pointe members donated their time and talents as well, and according to the Rev. Kevin Rea, the congregation will owe $1.2 million when they move into the new space.
NorthStar started in 2005 with 18 members. In May the church added a third service to accommodate swelling membership, and on Sunday 650 attended worship. Seventy-five percent of NorthStar’s new space is dedicated to children’s classrooms and missions activities.
“We have a vision of reaching young families, and this space reflects that,” said Ledbetter.
Since 2004, Cross Pointe has become one of the area’s most racially integrated congregations, and on Sunday 570 jammed into its two services. The church will combine the two services into one 10 a.m. service when it moves into the new space.
The new facilities will help Cross Pointe make room for its weekly trauma and counseling ministry. Last Tuesday more than 80 seeking help with everything from alcohol and drug addictions to depression and anxiety attended.