Longtime pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church moves on
Jan. 10, 2018 at 4 a.m.
After 20 years of serving Crossroads Baptist Church in Marshall, Pastor David Rice says it is difficult to be moving on.
"It's been an incredible journey," Rice said of his time serving Harrison County, as he prepares to leave his position. "I absolutely never could have imagined the Lord would do what he's done here in Crossroads."
He will be leaving for Brookwood Baptist in Shreveport at the end of the month.
Of Crossroads, Rice said the physical evidence of change is undeniable as the church has grown both in its size and attendance, but adds he believes the changes go beyond what can be measured.
"The best part is Crossroads has become an influential part of the faith community in Harrison County," Rice said. "That is what is most exciting to me. We were one of the founding churches of Mission Marshall … and we have participated in leading various Vacation Bible Schools in various area churches. Beyond Harrison County, Crossroads has been involved in various mission partnerships during the past 19 years, every year going on a mission trip. We have been as far as Ethiopia and we are presently partnering with a ministry in Peru. Those are the unimaginable things God has done."
Rice said he always tried to be sensitive to what God's plan is and said he believes it is time to move on.
"There were several contributing factors (in the decision to leave)," Rice said. "There are seasons in ministry and some factors in those seasons. Stage of life is one of those factors. Both of our kids are out of high school and our daughter is graduating from college. That began a process of evaluating where we were.
"The Lord just made it clear to us that we needed to be sensitive to where he wanted us to serve," he added. Our prayer through the whole thing was, 'We will mess this up if left to us' … we kept trusting as doors opened up it was God doing that. We want to serve him where he wants us to serve."
Rice said he was first called to the ministry at a young age when he first noticed the seasons of life changing.
"I was 19 years old and, there's no way else to say it: I was at a crossroads," Rice said. "I was finishing up TJC … everything was up in the air. Sitting in the back of the last service at Youth Camp, the pastor asked me, 'What does God want to do with your life?'
"I had never really prayed that before, (but) the Lord made it clear right then - it wasn't a spoken word but he made such an impression on me that I will be doing this until I die. That was the moment I knew God wanted me to be a minister."
Rice began his call to the ministry serving as a youth minister from 1991 until 1998. He then served at three different Texas churches and another in Colorado Springs. In 1998, Rice said a desire to be closer to family caused him to apply for the vacant pastoral position at Crossroads.
The transition from youth minister to pastor was a learning curve, Rice remembers, recalling his answer to one of his congregants when they asked what he was going to do at Crossroads.
"I said, 'I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do; I've never been a pastor before,'" Rice said. "But the Lord gave me an answer at that moment, that has become a mantra of mine. I told them, 'I love to preach and teach God's word. I love people and I love to build relationships. I will love you and I will preach God's word and we will see what else happens.'"
His last Sunday will be Jan. 21. A reception will follow from 2 to 4 p.m. Rice said there was no interim pastor, but various preachers within the area will deliver the message until one is selected.