CrossRoads Baptist Church was originally named Daytona Beach Baptist Church. With most of our members residing outside the boundaries of Daytona Beach, the name Daytona Beach Baptist misrepresented who we really are. We were often confused with First Baptist of Daytona Beach, and believed our own distinct identity was long overdue. As we expand in the future, the less “location limiting” name of CrossRoads Baptist Church will better serve us.
The name change went into effect in October, 2005. This change was an important event in the church’s history, and we are enjoying all the benefits that were hoped for. But, as you will discover as you read our history, both when it was known as Daytona Beach Baptist or now as CrossRoads, there have been many events that have significantly impacted the church’s rich history. And, as you will see on the following pages, the ministry of this church has significantly impacted our community and the world for the cause of Christ.
Daytona Beach Baptist Church was started with a vision in the heart of a man named John Strutz. He was influenced to consider starting a church in Daytona Beach by his home pastor, Dr. Bob Engle, pastor of Berea Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Bro. Strutz had previously pastored in Texas for a couple of years. At age 28, with Dr. Engle’s blessing, Bro. Strutz moved to Daytona Beach in 1965. He began to aggressively knock on doors, inviting people to church, as well as advertising the new church in the local newspaper.
The church rented the Community Center building of Winston Park subdivision, which was on the corner of Clearwater Road and Nova Road, north of Beville Road. Within 1½ years, Pastor Strutz had formed a solid nucleus of members. The church bought a strategic piece of property at 910 Beville Road and built a church building on the new site which would seat approximately 200 people. This acquisition of land and the construction of the church building was made possible through a $90,000 church bond program, engineered primarily by John Strutz. The church never received any financial help from other churches. It was self-standing from the beginning. At one point, Pastor Strutz even sold his home and used the equity to provide for his living expenses so the church could continue.
John Strutz resigned as pastor in December of 1967 with the church attendance built up to an average of 90 people. When he retired, he and his wife Lorraine, and daughter Jasmine, resided in Austin, TX. After a long health battle, John Strutz went home to be with the Lord in 2004. Our current pastor, Dan Proctor, was present at Bro. Strutz’s funeral in Austin, Texas, to honor his memory.
In the interim between Pastor Strutz and the new pastor, the church declined in attendance to approximately 30-40 people. In February, 1968, the church called Dennis Wheeler as pastor. He had previously pastored for 10 years in Miami, Florida.
During Pastor Wheeler’s first year at Daytona Beach Baptist Church, the church encountered some internal division. This came to a head in December, 1968, with a historic vote of 15 to 13 in favor of supporting Pastor Wheeler and his ministry. From this point, the church began to grow again. When Pastor Wheeler resigned in July, 1969, the church was again experiencing highs of 80-100 worshippers on Sunday morning. He is now retired and resides in Taylors, South Carolina.
Pastor Wheeler was instrumental in bringing in the new pastor, Lewis Ferrell. He had been assistant pastor for Dr. Ron Schaffer at Bethany Baptist Church in Melbourne, Florida.
Pastor Ferrell came with no salary; Dr. Ron Schaffer gave the Ferrells $50 per week to survive. Once again, the church’s attendance had dwindled to an average of 30-40 people. The church was financially strapped and ready to close its doors. Daytona Beach Baptist Church was Lewis Ferrell’s first pastorate, and his wife, Laura Nell, was the church secretary. Within a short time, under Pastor Ferrell’s leadership, church growth exploded! The Lord opened the door for a television ministry. “Your Bible & Today” aired daily on one local channel and twice per week on another channel. It was also heard every Sunday morning on W.E.L.E. radio and the text was published weekly in “The Green Sheet.”
When the Ferrell’s left Daytona Beach Baptist Church, attendance was at approximately 200. More than 200 people had made professions of faith while Lewis Ferrell was pastor. They left in October, 1971, and Lewis Ferrell became pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. He went home to be with the Lord on November 18, 1997. Laura Nell spent several years as the church secretary for Berachah Baptist Church, in Middletown, Ohio, where her son, Lamar, is pastor. She is currently actively involved in a missions ministry in Kenya. It has been the joy of our church to support Laura Nell as one of our missionaries.
Anthony Price became Daytona Beach Baptist Church’s next pastor in December, 1971, and would serve in that capacity for the next decade, bringing stability to a young church. He had been the pastor at New Testament Baptist Church in Pelion, South Carolina. When the Prices first arrived, church attendance was back down to 60-70 people, but under Pastor Price’s leadership the church experienced tremendous growth.
With only the church building, Sunday School was held by placing little dividers down the sides in the auditorium to create classrooms. In 1973 a two-story school building was constructed, then a gymnasium was constructed, and in 1980 the church auditorium was expanded.
One notable employee under Pastor Tony Price was Dr. Randolph W. Price who was the school principal, bus director, and an assistant pastor in 1977 and 1978. Dr. Price helped Pastor Price grow the church through special bus promotions. They experienced a high attendance one Sunday of approximately 830. Dr. Price returned to our ministry in 1994 as our school principal. To facilitate expanding the school through twelfth grade, Dr. Price moved the school to a property on Williamson Blvd., and it is no longer a CrossRoads ministry.
Also, Pastor Tony hired Clifton Thompson in January, 1972, to be the church’s first Assistant Pastor. Bro. Cliff served under Pastor Price, and later under Pastor Dannie Webster, until October, 1987. Pastor Tony Price and his family moved the last Sunday in November, 1981, to Cocoa Beach, Florida, where he became pastor of Bethel Bible Baptist Church.
Dannie Webster, his wife Freddie, and their three children, Deniece, Angela, and Daniel came to Daytona Beach from Temple Baptist Church in Fort Myers, Florida, where Bro. Dannie had pastored for nine years. Bro. Dannie was voted in as the pastor of Daytona Beach Baptist Church in November of 1981, with a 100% vote of confidence from its members. In the early 1980’s the church experienced difficulty with inadequate parking at the Beville Road site. Pastor Webster’s greatest accomplishment was moving Daytona Beach Baptist Church from Beville Road, where it had operated for 25 years, to its current location. While driving on Clyde Morris Boulevard with other church members, they spotted the property on which our current church and school stand. After some investigation and negotiations, with full church agreement, the property was purchased. Groundbreaking was in early 1990, with the first service held in the current educational building in November, 1990. Two Sunday morning worship services were held in the Fellowship Hall of that building, which seated approximately 225 people.
In November, 1991, the congregation agreed to forge ahead with construction of the church building. The 700-seat sanctuary was finished in January, 1994. Pastor Webster resigned soon after the new sanctuary was occupied.
Pastor Webster had hired Dan Proctor in June, 1989, as assistant pastor. When Pastor Webster resigned, Pastor Dan acted as interim pastor until he was voted in as pastor on March 6, 1994. Pastor Dan was only twenty-seven when he took on the pastorate, yet God has used him in a mighty way. Although Pastor Dan inherited the heavy debt from the building programs, missionary outreach was made a top priority. While our missions budget has been able to increase from approximately $30,000 annually to over $270,000, supporting over 80 missions projects, God allowed the church to retire its entire 3.5 million dollar debt in only eight years! Pastor Dan spearheaded the first debt retirement program in 1995, and through the sacrificial giving of God’s people, on May 1, 2002, we made the final payment and became debt free!
God has blessed the ministry under Pastor Dan’s leadership in many different ways. As attendance grew from around 300 at Sunday morning services to over 700, two services became necessary. The first Sunday with two services was October 4, 1998. Attendance now averages over 1100, with highs of 1700! As church attendance grew, Sunday School attendance grew, and on April 8, 2001 we expanded to two Sunday School hours on Sunday mornings. Our classes are called L.I.F.E. Groups. We now have three L.I.F.E. Group hours to accommodate growth.
More important than any other growth enjoyed by the church is the spiritual growth. Since 1994, we have seen hundreds of people believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and multitudes have participated in and completed the Bible study growth groups. We have men and their families preparing to go to the mission field, including our former assistant pastor, Bill Daab, who will be on the mission field of the Middle Eastern countries. Euler Falcao and his family are missionaries to Brazil, they were sent out from our church and are now busy in the Lord’s harvest on their foreign mission fields. Numerous families have been sent out from the church to engage in full-time ministry, and many individuals and families are in Bible College, preparing for full-time ministry. Most of Pastor Dan’s pastoral staff and church staff are men and women who surrendered for full-time Christian service right here at CrossRoads!
A significant aspect of our church’s history was brought “full circle” in October, 2002. After many phone calls, Pastor Dan located the founding pastor of Daytona Beach Baptist Church, John Strutz. The church flew Bro. Strutz and his family to Daytona Beach to honor them in the Sunday services on October 27, 2002. It was an awesome celebration for the church and a privilege to meet the humble gentleman who God used to start this church. Little did John Strutz know the far-reaching effects and the impact on eternity his obedience to the Lord would have on countless lives in Daytona Beach and throughout the world.
The following year, in October 2003, the church held a special service with every former pastor, except Lewis Ferrell who is home with the Lord, in attendance with their families. Pastor Ferrell’s wife was able to attend and participate as all of the pastors were honored for their roles in the heritage of this church. 1 Timothy 5:17 – “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” We honored those who came before us, and we thank God for their labor of love that is now called CrossRoads.
As related in the prologue, Daytona Beach Baptist Church became CrossRoads Baptist Church in 2005. We are no longer confused with any other church or ministry, and we are no longer limited by a location-based name. The transition went smoothly, and CrossRoads is recognized in the community as “a church for others,” carrying on the reputation garnered as Daytona Beach Baptist, and for the outreach ministries that have been developed and implemented in the recent past.
Building and hosting a Walk Through Bethlehem was a vision of our former Assistant Pastor Tommy Thompson in the summer of 2003, and by the Christmas season that year the massive undertaking was a reality. This free gift to the community is reconstructed every year, and has drawn thousands and thousands of people to our property. The sights, sounds (and smells) of the real Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth come alive with over 300 participants in costume, hundreds more behind the scenes or greeting and serving the public, live animals, and an evangelistic script. Souls have been saved, Christians renewed, and several families have joined our church family as a direct result of this outreach.
New outreach ministries also abound. GriefShare, a support group for those who have been abused, one for those who have survived breast cancer, a M.O.M.S. support group, a prison ministry, certified Biblical counseling, and a three-year Bible Institute program are all available, free of charge.
At CrossRoads, Pastor Dan preaches and teaches the Bible, without compromise. A high percentage of members return every Wednesday and Sunday evening to learn more about their Christian walk through Pastor Dan’s practical application of God’s Word to everyday life. The love and support the members show one toward another and their excitement about missions and outreach projects are strong testimonies of the spiritual growth seen in the church under his leadership. As he has yielded himself to the grace of Christ in him, Pastor Dan has led into the twenty-first century, and we are confident that God will continue to use this ministry to save souls, conform Christians to the image of His Son, and bring Him glory.
Christ, working through Pastor Dan Proctor, through all those who have been on his pastoral and support staffs, our volunteers, and our membership past and present, has allowed us to build on the foundation created by our predecessors. As we look to the future, we are excited to serve Him and our community here at CrossRoads, “a church for others.”