About Our Pastor:
Penny and I both grew up in homes with alcoholic fathers. I thrust myself into sports and Penny used her love for people and animals to escape. We met in High School and married after Penny graduated (I was starting my junior year of college) in 1980.
I graduated with a degree in business and started two companies; we made a lot of green. Our goal was to be rich and retire by the age of forty (we would have made it but God messed everything up…ha ha).
We have been in full-time ministry since 1986. For the first eighteen years, we traveled throughout the United States as evangelists and into many foreign countries. We had a blast!
In 2000, God deposited a dream in our hearts to plant a unique church in Mobile, Alabama. We carried that dream for four years and then in August of 2004 that dream became a reality as we gave birth to Cross River Church. Now, we get to live out the dream every day!
We have two amazing daughters; Shree’ who is married to Josh & Chelsee’ who is married to Danny. They have blessed us with six incredible grandkids! I know now why they call them grand. They call us PaPa & NeNe
Our passions are simple: God, Family, People, & of course Alabama Football!
How It All Got Started:
Living in Mobile, Alabama, we didn’t necessarily feel from the beginning that this area needed a new church. We DID, however, feel like it needed a church that is different. So, in August 2004, we held our “Grand Opening” at Elsie Collier Elementary School and began Sunday Worship Experiences for the first time.
Though having church services in an elementary school was a little out of the norm and at times, difficult, the school was perfect in many ways because of the mission of our church. From the start, Cross River Church has sought to be a safe place primarily for those disconnected from Christ and the Church; maybe even turned off on church and organized religion, and looking for something different. From the first day, all of our efforts focused on being a “Church for Everyone.”
During our first year, we saw God change dozens and dozens of lives while Cross River Church grew to over 200 in attendance. In fact, we began to realize that we were quickly outgrowing the facilities available at Elsie Collier. So, on our first anniversary, we made a risky decision to move a few miles to Baker High School into the Concert Auditorium.
At the High School, we began to have even greater influence on our community, especially in regards to the students in our area. God was also changing the lives of families…families that had been previously disconnected in many ways. We continued to grow in our influence in the community, but we felt like we would reach a lid at some point, until we were able to purchase property and move on to a permanent worship campus. In early 2006, Cross River purchased an old television studio on Zeigler Circle East near the fairgrounds and began renovations.
On February 4, 2007 (Super Bowl Sunday) Cross River moved into our new home and resided there for over 6 years as we grew and saw God do so many wonderful things in our church family!
In the middle of the night on July 4, 2013, the hot water heater exploded and our church caught fire! After the fire, we had services at Wynnsong 16 Theater on Schillinger Road for about 10 months until we found a more permanent location a couple miles down the road where we called home for the next 3 years.
After years of prayer and searching, we found our permanent home at 2070 Schillinger Road South (beside Pete’s Party Castle). We were able to purchase the building and begin renovations. We had our first service on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017.