Brief History of Crossroads World Outreach Center
February 1943 – September 2008
Crossroads World Outreach Center had a very humble beginning. In the early 1940’s there was a small group of people in Columbia who did not have convenient access to a Pentecostal Holiness Church and they began to pray about this. They began to meet in homes or storefront buildings and worshipped God wherever they could find a place to do so.
On February 7, 1943, at 4:00 PM on Gist Street in Columbia, SC, T. O. Evans, South Carolina Conference Superintendent, met with that small group of people and organized a church. Present that day with T. O. Evans were Pastor Charlie Bell, Pastor Lila Medlin (assigned as Pastor) and Pastor Ruth Kirby Goude. Pastor Goude served as Mrs. Medlin’s assistant.
The charter members were: Grace Galloway, Rilla McPherson, Jewel Wathford, Ila Hutto and Agnes Neese. Shortly thereafter the following joined: Rachel Chavis, Flossie Chavis Sharpe, Lila Medlin and Willard Neese. This small group of people began having their services in that small building on Gist Street and God blessed their efforts. Soon they obtained the use of a building on Williams Street and took the name Riverside Pentecostal Holiness Church. The church began to grow as others joined them. Pastor Lila Medlin continued to serve as pastor with Pastor Goude as her associate until 1947.
In 1947 Pastor Jack Q. Sharpe, a very young man, became pastor as the people continued to worship in the shot-gun type building. God continued to bless them with more members, and in 1948 it became necessary to relocate. The congregation moved to 315 Erie Street. Pastor Sharpe continued to pastor until 1953.
In 1953 Pastor Bernard Knight was assigned as pastor and soon another change of locations was made. In that same year property was purchased on Park Street which would become the new home for this church family for more than thirty years.
On January 1, 1954, construction was begun on the new sanctuary on Park Street led by the tireless efforts of Pastor Bernard Knight. On March 14, 1954, the first service was held in the new sanctuary. The church name was changed to Park Street Pentecostal Holiness Church.
In 1957 Pastor Lila Medlin returned as pastor and served until 1958 when Pastor W. C. Player was assigned and served until 1960.
In 1960 Pastor M. L. Moore was assigned as pastor and served until 1964.
In July, 1964, Pastor George Hawkins was assigned as pastor and continued to provide leadership to the church for seventeen years. During this time the First Lady, Mrs. Myrtis Hawkins, passed away unexpectedly. Pastor Hawkins later married Janette Broach. During his tenure Pastor Hawkins led the church in purchasing bonds and giving sacrificially so that on May 23, 1976, all financial obligations against the church were met, so that the church could then say, “We owe no man anything but love.”
In July, 1981, Pastor R. F. Causey, Jr., was assigned as pastor. The idea of relocating began to be discussed, and in July, 1984, the church received an offer for the facilities and the church body voted to sell the property. A search began to find property and have plans drawn for a new building. In January of 1985, five acres of property were purchased on Emanuel Church Road in the Three Fountains area, and an architect was contracted to design and draw plans for the new building. In May, 1985, the congregation met in the wooded area of the new property for ground breaking ceremonies. Construction began in November, 1985. During construction the congregation had to move from the church at Park Street to a temporary location. They moved to an office building on Highway #1 in West Columbia which was modified to accommodate their need. They worshipped there for eight months until June 29, 1986, when construction was completed and the congregation had their first service in the new structure. A new name was selected for the church: Three Fountains Pentecostal Holiness Church. Several years later, on December 20, 1995, the church held its first activity, a Christmas banquet, in its newly erected Family Activity Center which had been built directly behind the church. Pastor Causey provided leadership to the church for nearly 19 years.
On June 28, 2000, Dr. Jesse D. Simmons was appointed as Pastor. The church’s Mission Statement became: “Glorifying God…Exalting Christ…Loving Others…Sharing Truth to the Ends of the Earth.” On November 4, 2001, the name of the church was changed to Crossroads World Outreach Center (CWOC). In May of 2002, the First Lady, Lady Lois Simmons, passed away after a two-year struggle with cancer. Pastor Simmons later married Alfreda Flowers. Under Pastor Simmons’ leadership, many missions endeavors have taken place. Churches were built in Belize, Central America; Los Algodones, Mexico; and Hermosillo, Mexico. Members have also been on missions trips for prayer, ministry, or missions training to Panama, Israel, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Peru. They also participated in home missions efforts to help hurricane victims in Punta Gorda, Florida, and on the Gulf Coast. In April 2005 the church began supporting its first foreign missionary, Thomas Franks, who completed two six-month terms in Israel and Jericho and trips as an IPHC SOWer to West Africa, Europe, and Panama. Since December 2007, the church has been supporting its own full time missionary to South Africa, Ginger Simmons. On Easter Sunday 2008 the church liquidated the remaining debt on the church property. Once again, “We owe no man anything but love.”
On April 2, 2008, Victoria Holt was assigned on staff as CWOC’s Youth Pastor.
CWOC member, Ashlyn Holland, went on a missions trip to Lima, Peru, from June 18-24, 2008. She made the trip with Rhonda Bauer and Jimmy and Katie Cook from Life Springs Worship Center. This group ministered in the morning hours with prayer, Bible lessons, and Bible crafts in the schools in the poorest communities in the area. In the afternoons, they went into the communities and visited and prayed with the adults. They also helped with giving out food.
Pastor Simmons gave his farewell message to CWOC on September 28, 2008, then served as Interim Pastor until November 2, 2008, when Tim Hodge was sworn in as Senior Pastor.
WE STAND WHEN WE SING
Then some Levites stood and praised the LORD . . . with a very loud voice. 2 Chronicles 20:19 (NIV)
They were to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. I Chronicles 23:30 (NIV)
WE CLAP OUR HANDS
O, Clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph and songs of joy! Psalm 47:1 (AMP)
WE LIFT OUR HANDS
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:4 (NIV)
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and praise the Lord. Psalm 134:2 (NIV)
I want men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands . . . . I Timothy 2:8 (NIV)
My friends, be eager to prophesy . . . . I Corinthians 14:39 (CEV)
WE AUDIBLY PRAISE GOD
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Psalm 103:1 (KJV)
I will praise the LORD at all times: I will constantly speak His praises. Psalm 34:1 (NLT)
WE PRAY AND SING IN ENGLISH AND IN UNKNOWN TONGUES
If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the Spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. I Corinthians 14:14-15 (KJ21)
WE SING CHORUSES AS WELL AS HYMNS
Sing the words and tunes of the psalms and hymns when you are together. Ephesians 5:18-19 (TJB)
Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use His words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. Colossians 3:16a (NLT)
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS ARE A PART OF THE WORSHIP
Alleluia! Praise God in his Temple on earth . . . Praise Him with blasts of the trumpet, praise Him with lyre and harp, praise Him with drums and dancing, praise Him with strings and reeds, praise Him with clashing cymbals, praise Him with clanging cymbals! Psalm 150:1-6 (TJB)
WE HAVE THIS TYPE OF WORSHIP
The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it. Philippians 3:3 (MSG)
WE SPEAK IN TONGUES AND INTERPRET THE TONGUES
Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. I Corinthians 14:39 (NIV)
Each person is given something to do that shows who God is . . . The variety is wonderful: wise counsel, . . . healing the sick, . . . tongues, interpretation of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG)