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The first 25

our story

Over twenty-five years ago, a 28 year-old pastor and his young family were appointed to Cape Girardeau to plant a new United Methodist church. There were no people and no buildings. But, there was a dream. No one knew what to expect. No one had an idea of what God was about to do.

Today, La Croix is a dynamic, Christ-centered church averaging nearly 2,200 in weekly attendance. How does a church go from nothing to 2,200 in two short decades? Now, that’s a story…

In June 1988, Pastor Ron Watts arrived in Cape Girardeau. With the help of over 100 volunteers from area United Methodist churches, over a five week period, more than 26,000 phone calls were made inviting the unchurched to the first worship service. La Croix’s first worship celebration was held on October 2, 1988, in the old West Park 4 Cine with 210 in attendance! With our slogan being about “new beginnings,” it was an awesome fresh start.

Committed to the mission of bringing and including people in Christ’s Kingdom, La Croix’ passion was the driving force in the early theatre years. La Croix quickly became known as a different kind of church, due to our focus on communicating the ancient faith in a contemporary way. Our defining characteristic was contemporary worship with relevant, down-to-earth preaching. Each year, La Croix grew and nearly fifty percent of those joining were new believers!

The theatre days…

While adults worshipped in one theatre, a nursery and a children’s church were set up in two of the others. With our average age being below 30, we met our goal of reaching a new generation of worshippers.

For seven years we met in the theatre, pouring our lives and resources into people and ministry. Each week, volunteers showed up to set up equipment, which was torn down immediately after services to clear space for the moviegoers. Over time, the entire theatre was being used for classrooms, even the popcorn and film rooms.

All about small groups…

With a goal of discipleship, small groups began to define La Croix, which fortunately did not require more space! The goal is transformation and leading people to full devotion to Christ. The first two groups began in 1990 and today there are 80+ groups for adults along with additional groups for children and youth.

Time to grow…

Committed to keeping our emphasis on people and ministry, we delayed building plans for as long as possible. Our members clearly understood that the church isn’t a building; it’s people. In 1995 the time came for La Croix to have its own place. Our first service in our own building was held in July 1995.

What followed was a period of remarkable growth. A second worship celebration had started while still in the theatre and by the time we moved into the new building, it was already too small with over 400 in attendance! We immediately had to start planning to add on.

An addition was added in the fall of 1997 for our children’s and youth ministries. And the church kept growing... The end result: a new 900-seat worship center, which was ready for us to move in by the winter of 2005. For the first time since we started this journey, we found ourselves with room to grow.

Just a second…

Room to grow for adults, that is. But with more adults, comes more children and with more children, comes the need for more space, which was part of the plan all along. In 2007, we started the construction of The Reign Forest, our new children’s ministry center and we opened its doors on August 9, 2008.

God has relentlessly used our church to reach out to the unchurched and countless lives have been changed by Jesus Christ.

La Croix turned 25 in the fall of 2013 and it was time to dream again...

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