A Relationship Of Trust; An Environment Of Grace

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Gordon Hauptman, pastor of the Crossroads Payson Foursquare Church, said his congregation is unique in the community because of the way they emphasize relationships.

"We are called to have a relationship with our Creator. That does not alleviate us from the responsibility to have relationships with [other human beings]. The two relationships mirror each other," said Hauptman. "The things that we strive for are relationships of trust in an environment of grace."

By doing this, Hauptman and his followers embrace human imperfection.

Crossroads tries to integrate every individual into meaningful roles in the congregation.

The church sponsors a group called the the Overcomers. A number of adults with developmental disabilities participate in the Overcomers class where they learn to be integrative and productive members of the church.

Members of the Overcomers of all ages are brought to Sunday or Thursday services by parents and caregivers, and attend classes taught by volunteers.

Parishioners Mark and Jennie Smith were instrumental in developing this special Sunday school about six months ago. Three of the Smiths' eight adopted children were part of a similar class at a church they attended in California.

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Crossroads pastor Gordon Hauptman and his followers embrace human imperfection.

"They are taught the same lessons the rest of us learn, maybe with a little bit simpler language and a little more repetition. Much of their learning is done through song. They are excellent members of the congregation," said Smith.

The lesson learned one Sunday in the Overcomers class was the "Fruits of the Spirit."

"One of those fruits is joy," said Laura Hauptman, teacher and pastor's wife.

"We let them pop balloons after the lesson and as they were popping them they started giggling and repeating, ‘Joy. Joy. Jesus. Joy.'"

The Overcomers also make crafts and learn to become greeters and ushers.

According to Pastor Hauptman you can see the value that Christ places on the individual through the gospels.

It is one thing to have a concept; it is another to accomplish it and evaluate its effectiveness.

Crossroads also facilitates relationships within its Life Groups -- small gatherings in members' homes that address life issues, for example, young families or divorce.

"We believe heartfelt life-changing connection occurs when you share with another person what the Lord is doing in your life," said Pastor Hauptman.

These small groups work on becoming self-focused. To do this, they must purposefully and intentionally invite people in from outside.

Leaders are encouraged to address this challenge by inspiring existing members and keeping the group fresh with new people.

Pastor Hauptman is also active in the Payson Christian Ministerial Fellowship.

"Anything that goes on with a community mindset, we just love to be a part of," he said.

Pastor Hauptman feels it is important for all churches to come together for the good of the community.

Jennie Smith, along with some other people from different churches, will be talking to the fellowship about a monthly community-wide fellowship night for disabled adults.

Services are held at 114 E. Cedar Lane Sunday at 10 a.m. and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m.

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