By Bonnie Mentel

The Crossing Church, led by Pastor Greg Dumas, has one vision with multiple locations in the Tampa area. Their newer, satellite location is known as the SouthShore campus. It is located in Ruskin and ministers to the people in that area through a live streamed message from their central location in Tampa.

Pastor Hector Rivera, Campus Pastor, oversees the campus and provides pastoral care to the entire congregation. Growth has doubled in the recent months and now the SouthShore Campus is seeing a weekly attendance of 500-600 people.

“Along with our Lead Pastor, Greg Dumas, we have a heart for Ruskin, Apollo Beach, Riverview, and Sun City. We’re going to impact our community and get connected to the community. Christ didn’t lead by leaving everyone behind him, He led by coming beside them,” Rivera said.

One way that The Crossing Church has connected to the community is through “Shoes for Tampa Bay.” The project was started by a 6-year-old girl named Emma who had received new shoes for school. She saw the need for others in her school to have new shoes and began collecting donations. She ended up collecting 500 pairs.

“We took on the vision from her and every year it keeps growing. Now we’ve raised over 4,000 pairs of shoes. We’ve connected with the Hillsborough County School Board, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Storm, Lightning. We’re going into Ruskin Elementary and we’re trying to get into Wimauma Elementary to get kids shoes,” he said.

The next big outreach event, “Baptism Blowout” will be Sunday, April 17 from 3–6 p.m. at Crossing’s main campus, located at 10130 Tuscany Ridge Dr., Tampa.

“We started four to five years ago. What we do is grab four to five big, inflatable pools and we baptize 300-500 people in one day, in three hours. Last year we had 350-plus people. I’m talking about people on the spot jumping into the pool. We walk them through it. We make sure that they’ve received Christ as Lord and Savior. It’s just an amazing, exciting event. We have people come through an orientation to truly understand the importance of the true essence of Baptism. We do this ahead of time, through an online presentation, and it’s there in the sanctuary,” Rivera said.

Children who wish to be baptized are required to attend a baptism class on Sunday, April 10. Classes are available at both the Ruskin and Tampa campuses. Adults are able to view the “Why Baptism?” video found online.
The event’s family atmosphere will include food trucks and bounce houses. Live music will be performed by Seth and Nirva, local songwriters and singers who are in the process of debuting their collaborative album, I Need You. The event is expected to draw a crowd of 1,000.

Rivera said that they have 100 volunteers from the church participating.

After the event, participants will receive a phone call with information on how to get involved in the church and an email with a certificate of baptism.

Registration for Baptism Blowout 2016 can be found at www.wearecrossing.com/events. Contact Crossing Church at 626-0783 or info@crossingonline.org.

The website states, “We believe that baptism is an outward demonstration of an inward change as found in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. The old life has passed away and a new life has begun!”