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Menasha, WI 54952

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Copyright 2014-2017 by Crossroads Foursquare Church. All rights reserved.

The History of Crossroads/Appleton Foursquare Gospel Church

Mike and Beth Norton, ordained Foursquare ministers, returned to the U.S. from missionary work in Zambia in April of 1989. They spent some time with family in Rhinelander while debating whether to start a church or go in some other direction, asking the Lord to lead them. They thought maybe the district supervisor would call and offer them an available church.

Click images to enlarge

Beth Norton, June of 1991

Around July of that year, Pastor Mike realized there wouldn't be a call. He and Beth decided to look around, so they drove down to the Fox River Valley area. Though Mike really liked Oshkosh because of its proximity to lots of water, it was in Appleton where he felt the Lord's peace, he told Beth.

They contacted the district supervisor to request support and were offered what was customary for such endeavors: $1,200 per month for one year, then $100 less each month for the second year, reaching zero at the end of that year. The Rhinelander church provided $500 per month for two years, a blessing the Nortons probably couldn't have managed without.

Mike and Beth rented a duplex on Jonathan Drive in August of '89. The kids, Nate (16 years old) and Shalomie (13 years old), expressed sadness that they had no friends. Pastor Mike pointed them to Scripture, which says that to find friends one must show oneself friendly. Then the family prayed for friends.

The Lord sent Deana Jones to be Shalomie's friend. Deana wanted to go to camp in Waupaca, so Nortons paid for her to go. In the process, Deana found Jesus as her Savior, and became the Nortons' first convert, a thrilling event for the family!

Shalomie brought another friend, a neighbor girl, to the first service the Nortons held. While her parents wouldn't let her come back, she was the first attendee of the new church outside of the Norton family. Shalomie was the new church 's greatest evangelist.

Jefferson School Era, 1990

Pastor Mike ran an ad on the back of the local shopper newspaper that made an impact. He bought a fourth of a page, black and red print that stood out, explaining what Foursquare meant and including an article. As it turned out, families cut it out and put it on their refrigerators. As time passed, these people showed up. A couple asked when there would be services, and Pastor Mike explained that they were holding church every Sunday at 10:00 as a family. Anyone else who wished to attend was welcome. People started coming, and one Sunday they hosted 20 or 30. Parking became a problem, and since Pastor Mike did not wish to offend neighbors, he began to search for a meeting place.

Kids of Jefferson School Era

The church found a new home at Jefferson School in November or early December of 1989. The people who started coming blessed the church by taking on children's ministry and other essential needs. Daniel and Audrey White were two of those. Mike and Linda Huff, having just received the Lord, began attending at that time. The people of the church had a sweet spirit.

During the Jefferson period, Mike and Karen Van Cuyk heard about the Foursquare church through a Bible study they were attending. They left the church to which they had belonged for 20 years and joined the Foursquare congregation.

Ira and Doris Bruch - in loving memory

After meeting for about a year at Jefferson School, Pastor Mike heard that the YMCA was a great place to hold services. Another church already met there, but they had purchased a new facility and would be leaving. Pastor Mike visited the Y and asked to be put on a list. He was informed that there was no competition! In autumn of '90, the congregation made move and remained there until '93, when they purchased a building. During the Y period, Mike Huff and Mike Van Cuyk began leading worship, and the Bruchs family joined the church.

Just as the Foursquare group began looking for a place of their own, the Seventh Day Adventist church on Capitol Drive decided to sell their building. They wanted very badly to sell to the Foursquare group, but those in authority over the church felt they should negotiate the price. Pastor Mike considered the asking price a steal and recommended buying, because negotiating wouldn't be well received. His superiors insisted that Pastor Mike negotiate. He did so apologetically, but the building went to another buyer.

In autumn of 1993, Jim and Rose Bartman, members of the Foursquare congregation, invited Pastor Mike to an all-night prayer meeting at a church on Lindbergh Street in Appleton, where Jim's sister attended. Later, Pastor Surna from that church called, saying that they were disbanding the church and their building would be available. Because they were a nonprofit, they couldn't make money on the transaction, but they had charitable purposes lined up for the money from the purchase. They asked $65,000 for the building. Pastor Mike acknowledged that this was a great price, but requested that he bring a few people to examine the building first, to ascertain that the foundation was sound. The pastor was agreeable and the building proved very solid.

Financing was arranged and the Foursquare group bought the building and moved in. They discovered that the furnaces needed replacing, but God provided a miracle so that all the money was provided without any borrowing.

Flat top and beginnings of new roof

The flat roof was a problem, tending to crack and leak. Though Pastor Mike was intending to leave, he decided to make certain the roof was fixed first, because someone else might not recognize the need. The church council agreed, and Pastor Mike asked the Rhinelander church for help.

Inside view of all those trusses

Rhinelander's provision was amazing and wonderful. A work crew of 20-plus men came down and accomplished the project with help from the congregation. On the morning of the first service, Pastor Mike and a man from Rhinelander tackled the final tasks at 5:00 a.m. and finished in time for the service. It was a cold and rainy August Sunday, and the pews had been taken out for refinishing, so the congregation brought lawn chairs and bundled up for that first service.

During that time, Mike Huff and Mike Van Cuyk became more involved leading worship with training from Beth Norton. They were obviously gifted in this area and were able to run with it. The two of them and Wolfgang Seibler all were mentored under Pastor Norton. All three have a call on their lives and still are active in ministry.

The Nortons resigned from the church in August and moved to another state in October of '97.

The church originally was called Valley Foursquare Gospel Church, because the church body regarded it as a Fox Valley ministry. The Foursquare organization calls it Appleton Foursquare Gospel Church to this day, even though it's now in Menasha, and this is its legal name. Pastor Mike loved the name Chapel of Praise, so that name was brought to a vote by the council and became the name shortly before he left in '97.

"Chapel" comes from the Old French "chapele," which is derived from the Late Latin "chappella." That term is a diminutive of "cappa," meaning cloak. It originally denoted the sanctuary where the cloak of St. Martin of Tours was kept as a relic. Pastor Mike said, "Chapel means to clothe, originally having to do with a man whose robe was put in a building where people would go to pray. Clothe thyself with praise in the place the Lord will dwell."

Crossroads Foursquare Church, Lindbergh Street, Appleton

Pastor Patrick followed Mike Norton as the new Chapel of Praise pastor. The name was changed to Crossroads because the church was seen as a place for people at a crossroads, looking for a change of direction. The new pastor's time of service in the church was brief, as he and the church were not a good fit.

Mike Huff became the senior pastor in 1999. Prior to that, he had been a youth pastor at Crossroads for seven years. He was thankful to have had an interim between himself and Mike Norton as senior pastor, because the time wasn't right for him when the Norton's left.

Pastor Mike Huff leading worshipMembers of the Lindbergh Street congregationMembers of the Lindbergh Street congregation

Mike Norton had exposed the Huffs to youth camps, where God first started working in their hearts. They quickly saw the value and importance of reaching the next generation.

Worship with the kids

Mike has always had a favor and call on his life for youth and children's ministries, and this became a passion in Linda's life as well. Through them, U-Turn, a youth/children's ministry and community outreach, was born at the Lindbergh location. Because parents dropped off their kids, the Huffs were able to establish contact with the parents. They were included and became excited about the ministry.

God also used this time to build leaders. Pastor Carol Thompson became a blessing to the church at just the right time for the Huffs personally and also for the congregation. She brought spiritual gifts to the body and one-on-one healing to several members of the church. Her passion for children was passed to Shalomie Norton when God called Carol out.

The overall vision of the church was church planting, and a "baby" was born in Juneau, WI, pastored by Crossroads members Curt and Janet Zeise.

Worship at Crossroads has always been multi-generational. Mike Huff's heart was to have members explore their gifts in music and worship, and he always involved children, youth, and even 80-year-old accordion players (Bob Coley, you are missed!). Many people have been touched and moved into a deeper relationship with the Lord because of that encouragement.

While Mike Huff was pastoring, there were strong women's and men's ministries, led by Mary Butz-Lewis and Curt Zeise, respectively. The forefront of these groups was accountability to one another in the Body of Christ and mutual edification. Each year, large groups from both ministries traveled to ladies' and men's retreats in Rhinelander, expecting God to give them exactly what they needed to continue growing. The congregation believed that fellowshipping with the larger Body of Christ was valuable, and Mike Huff and Mike Van Cuyk led worship together at retreats in Rhinelander for ten years.

The Crossroads congregation remained in the Lindbergh St. building for several years, until Pastor Mike Huff felt a larger building was needed because there was no way to expand parking at the Lindbergh location. A search began, and the group found the London St., Menasha property, owned by Sonshine Ministries next door. The owners had always dreamed that this building would someday become a church. It had housed Lamers Dairy and a number of other entities over the years. Bill and Doris Steinberg, owners of the property, were very kind and offered Crossroads a considerable discount, which allowed the church's representatives to have the down payment needed. The congregation came together to pray about it, and a sufficient number of people were willing to proceed.

The initial goal was for space for 300 people. After that, the church would focus on church planting.

Original London Street building, west side

Many volunteers were needed to refurbish the building. Construction took four or five months. Claude Foster, whom Mike Huff knew well, became the general contractor for the project. He did much of the work himself, along with some other folks. Many congregation members gave of their time and skills, including Dave Froland, who did the layout and electrical set-up.

Inside of London Street building before transformation

Jack Jansen brought his crew and donated labor to finish the ceilings and walls. Mike Huff's brother Terry laid the carpeting and floor tile. The insulation was done professionally. Bob Feavel, who was not affiliated with the church, volunteered many hours putting on siding.

The City of Menasha wanted a mostly masonry building, but they changed the rules to accommodate what Crossroads could do; ultimately, the renovation was a major improvement to the neighborhood.

Original London Street building, south side

The windows on the south side of the sanctuary occupy the spaces of two former garage ports, where trucks were loaded and unloaded when the building was Lamers Dairy. The north side of the sanctuary had been cold storage.

The old floor had to be ground down and leveled prior to installing the carpeting. Storage closets became bathrooms and the church offices occupy the old office space of the building.

Rob Pulda oversaw, designed, and did much of the work for sound and technical equipment. He directed Dave in the audio/visual wiring.

Church member Peggy Schimel did the decorating. Dave and Craig Langkau have since done some remodeling, especially the platform area.

Bill, from the Sonshine Center, helped purchase all the chairs at an auction held when Integrity church moved. He was knowledgeable about the auction system and bought the entire lot of 500 chairs for around $2.50 to $3.00 per chair, then resold the extras.

Some of the London Street work crew

The most consistent workers from the congregation were Mike Huff, Dave Froland, Craig Langkau, Jeff Bushman, and some people who are no longer with the church.

A large ramp leading to the cold storage area on the south side of the building had to be removed. Retired equipment and parts were sold to raise money. Tom Bloy painted all the metal doors with a wood graining technique.

Newly built sanctuary at London Street

The platform was expanded a few times before the carpeting went in, but could still be larger, as it fills up fast.

Bill Steinberg had used the area where the children's room is, as his workshop. He loved woodworking and had created the cabinets that were moved from other parts of the building to the kitchen.

The Crossroads congregation has occupied the London Street building since Easter, 2008.

Sound booth at London Street, Rob demonstrating

When Mike Huff began having serious health issues, Mike Van Cuyk pursued ordination and the Lord opened the way for him. Though employed full time, he helped Mike Huff with pastoral responsibilities when Mike Huff could no longer carry it alone.

Mike Van Cuyk had always sensed that the Lord had set aside worship as a significant blessing at Crossroads. There was always an abundance of musicians in the church, considering its size. Mike and Beth Norton said that their ministry had always been blessed with musicians and that overflowed to the congregation. It seemed to Mike Van Cuyk that there were often very powerful worship services during which people would be healed. Mike Van Cuyk's heart always leaned toward healing and freedom for the gifts of the Spirit to move.

More members of the congregation

During one especially sweet time of worship, when the Lord's presence was strong, a woman with a shoulder problem said she had been healed. She had raised both arms in worship and it suddenly dawned on her that her shoulder was no longer hurting.

Mike Van Cuyk's heart was not to have someone standing up front proclaiming healings, as there's a tendency for the focus to be on that person. Rather, manifestations of the Lord's presence and healing should be normal during worship, because the concentration is focusing on the Lord. Mike saw that there were more than the average number of incidences like this during the worship services. Sincere worship was the church's forte. "This church is not strong in presentation and excellence," he said, "but it is strong in worship, and the Lord enables the church to be more than it is in the natural."

For example, in his own life the Lord enabled Mike to play piano. He had tried with great struggle to teach himself to read music and to play. Then one day, as he sat at the piano, the Lord placed into him the understanding and ability to play. Sixty days later, he was leading worship as a pianist.

Larry and Joel roasting  corn

Worship is Crossroads' niche. The congregation enjoys very powerful worship times when the presence of the Lord is very strong and the gifts of the Spirit move freely. The people enter into true worship, getting beyond the flesh. Those times are always special to Mike Van Cuyk.

The Lord has continued to provide an abundance -- almost an overabundance -- of musicians, especially considering the size of the church. Mike Van Cuyk has always felt that the main prophetic bend of the church is worship, and healing during worship. No person is ever the focus.

Pastor Mike NortonPastor Mike Huff

Due to Mike Huff's health needs, and the needs of the Crossroads congregation, Mike Norton returned as an interim pastor on Easter of 2012, and was made the official pastor of the church in 2013. Mike Huff continues to serve as assistant pastor. Building on what has been established over the years through each official pastor's ministry, the pastoral staff strives to keep a sense of continuity.

Crossroads celebrates its 25 year anniversary in August of 2014.

Final editor: Kathi Bloy; contributions by: Mike and Beth Norton, Mike and Linda Huff, Mike Van Cuyk, Dave Froland.

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"The mission of Crossroads Foursquare Church is to fulfill the great commission by
                                  recognizing the godly authority that has been given to us to make
                                                        disciples of all nations."

History of Crossroads Foursquare Church