When you leave the interstate and drive through rural America, small towns dot the landscape. In most of them, small churches, schools, and grain elevators and silos anchor the town. Behind the Norman Rockwell facade though, small towns in rural America are facing an increase in drug use and poverty. Randy Henshaw has seen the challenges and decided to bring the gospel to rural Illinois. Under the leadership of Crossroads Church in Monticello, Illinois, Randy began taking steps to plant a church in Bement, Illinois, and he’s just beginning a bigger mission to reach out to small towns in his area.
Bement, a town of about 1,700 people, is situated between Champaign and Decatur, both cities of about 80,000 people. When Crossroads Church in Monticello wanted to reach out to its surrounding communities, they turned to Randy, a former educator in Monticello. After he accepted the invitation to plant a church in Bement, he and his family moved there and began hosting a Wednesday night gathering. When the gathering grew to 20 people, they launched a Sunday morning service in October 2015. Since then, Crossroads Church Bement has grown to over 60 people. Randy describes their purpose as “a church for those who don’t like church.” He laughs and says, “that’s like trying to start a coffee shop for people who don’t like coffee.”
Crossroads is reaching out to unchurched people. One group in Bement that Randy hopes to reach is teens and young adults, 85% of whom do not attend a church. His vision also extends to other communities like Bement under the leadership of Crossroads Church in Monticello. They envision planting 5 more churches in other rural communities by 2025!