A Simple Faith Church is taking a giant step of faith — and moving to a new location at Chapel of Crosspoint.
“The upcoming move will be our fourth move in six years,” Ronnie McBrayer, pastor of Simple Faith, told The Sun. “We began in a living room … then moved to a former bank lobby. When that was converted to a beach store, selling flip flops, T-shirts, and $20 sunscreen, we moved to a vacant storefront next to the WaterColor Publix.”
After the rent went up, and a liquor store eyed their “sanctuary,” Simple Faith moved to Celebration Hall at Santa Rosa Beach, where they have been about two years.
“This location has been superb, but its space limitation has become an issue,” said McBrayer, who writes a weekly column in The Walton Sun. “So, we have been looking for a long-term solution for some time.”
McBrayer and Crosspoint’s pastor, Charles Wilson, breakfast together regularly, but rarely talk shop.
“Charles, along with Crosspoint’s leadership, knew we were searching for a long-term solution as far as gathering space was concerned,” McBrayer said. “They graciously and enthusiastically extended an invitation to use their facility beginning the first Sunday of August.”
Wilson, a pastor for 42 years, has been affiliated with Crosspoint for eight years, and is now the senior pastor.
"We are thrilled to be in a position to offer Simple Faith a 'more permanent' location," Wilson told The Sun. "Individuals from both congregations have known each other, and some have been friends, for years."
Members of Simple Faith are eager for the move and the church will be able to have ministries during the week and upgrade space for children’s church.
When Simple Faith began, they wanted to create a safe space where people could simply ‘Worship God, Follow Jesus, and Serve Others.’
That has become the church’s mission and motto.
“We chose to emphasize this mission at the expense of other things, such as buildings, organizational marathons, labor-draining programs, or marketing campaigns,” McBrayer said. “And we chose to open our doors to those who might not be able to find a faith community somewhere else — not that what others are doing is wrong, but because some people are so beat up, beat down, exhausted or damaged that they just can’t ‘fit’ in some other places.”
With its unique approach, and often "appearing chaotic or even irreverent to some," Simple Faith is comfortable with their reputation.
“We know we don’t always do things that are expected or usual, and we are ragged around the edges,” McBrayer said. “We’re comfortable with that so long as those who have no other faith community with which to engage feel welcome.”
Can two congregations exist in one building? McBrayer believes it happens all the time.
“Any time a church makes the transition to two Sunday morning services, two congregations are created,” he said. “Further, this is an arrangement that Crosspoint has experience with — the Lutheran congregation met at Crosspoint for the longest time before moving to their own location.”
Both pastors agree this is not a merger of two congregations.
"These two groups will remain autonomous of each other, each maintaining their own unique identities — I believe it is an outstanding act of cooperation and partnership," McBrayer said.
"However, we will have many opportunities to partner together for events, some programming, study programs, etc. and especially in the area of benevolence to the local community," Wilson added."