History2018-11-16T21:01:23+00:00

Generations of Faith

“God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” Exodus 3:15

Cross Lutheran Church & School was founded in 1881 by a group of 15 families, many who remain a part of the congregation today. While we have seen many changes in our church, our mission remains the same—to make mature disciples of Christ. We can only imagine how astonished and proud the original founders would be at the size of today’s church and school, especially since Cross Lutheran is rooted in such simple beginnings.







Cross Lutheran Church & School was founded in 1881 by a group of 15 families, many who remain a part of the congregation today. While we have seen many changes in our church, our mission remains the same—to make mature disciples of Christ. We can only imagine how astonished and proud the original founders would be at the size of today’s church and school, especially since Cross Lutheran is rooted in such simple beginnings.







Our History

Our first building was a small, 24 by 36-foot structure that served as both the church and school. Over the first few months, Cross’ pastoral care was provided by Pastor John Strieter of Aurora. In December 1881, Pastor John Rabe accepted the call and became our first resident pastor and teacher. He served in both positions for nearly four decades.

After 15 years of service, the congregation had outgrown the original house of worship and began work on a new church. They constructed a new, 36 by 60-foot building which was dedicated on August 30, 1896. This served as the church and school until 1929; a two-room brick schoolhouse was added to the property. In 1947, the church was remodeled, the exterior brick veneered, the steeple covered with copper, new stained glass windows to replace the old and a balcony constructed with a seating capacity of 66.

Throughout the years, we have continued to expand to accommodate our growing congregation. Presently, the church has over 1,100 people committed to discipleship, a fully accredited school with 300 students from preschool to grade eight, and an enrollment of 189 in the children’s Sunday School. As we continue to grow and share the word of Christ.

Our Founders

Friedrich Behrens
Christ Kollmann
Wilhelm Thanepohn
Heinrich Wilkening
Friedrich Dhuse
Wilhelm Wollenweber
August Hage
William Kollmann
Fred Hage
Ernest Ahrens
Henry Ahrens
William Freise
Henry Hotopp
August Wilkening
Karl Siebert

Our Growth

1881: Original church built and served as school
1896: New church and school building constructed
1896: Monday night services added
1927: First congregational meeting in English conducted
1929: Two room brick schoolhouse was built
1931: New school building constructed
1948: Church building extensively remodeled
1967: Gym, classrooms and offices added to school
1980: Large addition of classrooms added to school’s south side
1991: Dedication of the new church and school
1995: Saturday night service began
1999: New gym, classrooms, library, computer labs, offices and auditorium space constructed
2000: First full time youth minister added to staff
2002: Sunday 9:30 a.m. service added
2004: North campus site on Mill Road in Bristol purchased
2006: Thrift shop launched
2011: Thrift shop building purchased
2013: First Spanish service at Iglesia Luterana in Plano
2016: First full time children’s minster added to staff

Celebrating 135 years of ministry is a true blessing. “Who’s got it better than us? Nobody!” (Romans 8:31,37). The average “life-cycle” of a church is 80 years, or three generations of believers. How did we get to 135? First, God’s grace and mercy. Cross has done things by-the-book and done things in an unorthodox manner which, without the grace of God, should have failed.

There is no earthly recipe to longevity except for the second thing, prayer. Cross is and has been a praying congregation! Prayer allows God to hear us but, more importantly, it helps keep us open to hearing His will.

Third, Bible based teaching, families and decision making. Cross has remained rooted in God’s word through thick and thin, oftentimes ignoring conventional wisdom in order to follow where God is leading, rather than man (Psalm 118:8, Ephesians 4:11-14).

How do we have another 135 years? A similar recipe would help a lot. Praying for mercy and grace from God, while remaining rooted in His word and following His direction. That is why we are focusing on making disciples of the next generation. Not just the next generation age wise, but also the next generation of believers, young or old. Current believers coming alongside unbelievers in everyday life and circumstances. Listening, loving, serving, mentoring others so that all people would call on the name of the Lord and be saved.

The idea of teaching the next generation is nothing new—in fact it is very old. Its age is the reason so many are ready to abandon the past but, it’s age is also the reason we must never forget. In Exodus 3:15 God reminds us through Moses at the burning bush that He is the God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is also the God of our descendants, generation after generation. Praise God for His faithfulness and may the Holy Spirit continue to lead us as we share the good news of Jesus until the Lord returns!

God Blessings,
Rev. Erik Gauss