Pastor Philip Abode and his wife, Rondalyn, have been passionate about helping people grow in their relationship with the Lord ever since they committed their lives to Him during their college years at the University of Tulsa. Shortly after graduation, Philip and Rondalyn moved to Dallas, TX to attend Dallas Theological Seminary in preparation for helping start Crossover Bible Church.
After Philip completed a Masters in Christian Education, Rondalyn and he moved back to Tulsa in the summer of 2005 to start the work that God had called them to. Philip and Rondalyn always wanted to be a part of a church whose impact in the community went beyond Sunday mornings. Philip began to see how that might become a reality the first season he coached a 3rd grade tackle football team. Being able to connect with the families and help the kids deal with areas of need in their lives opened Philip’s eyes to the huge access that youth sports gave him into families’ lives in his community. This eye-opening experience transformed Philip’s perspective on what it would take to truly make an impact in his community.
Justin Pickard and his wife, Leah, were both impacted in high school by short-term mission trips to a Christian Community Development organization in inner city St. Louis. Along the way, they were introduced to the writings of John Perkins, a civil rights leader, pastor, and founder of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). After graduating from the University of Tulsa in 2005, Justin and Leah decided to put Perkins’ 3rs (Relocation, Reconciliation, and Redistribution) into practice. They began to open their home on Saturday morning to pray for North Tulsa and share a neighborhood breakfast.
Through a common interest in community gardening, the Pickards met Rufus and Demalda Newsome of Newsome Community Farms and began to learn about the health and food disparities in North Tulsa. As a result, they began a community garden in Brady Heights on an abandoned lot where the City had recently torn down a burned-out house. Gardening was still a challenge due to a gang that operated on the block, but through the consistent presence of neighbors, and vigilant calling of the police, eventually the gang moved out.
As Justin, Leah, and their children continued to develop relationships with their neighbors, they longed to have a church in the community where they could invite neighbors and work alongside. In the beginning of 2010, a mutual friend introduced Justin to Philip Abode, Pastor of Crossover Bible Church. After Justin and Leah began attending Crossover, Justin met with Pastor Philip and found out that he too had been impacted by the CCDA and had plans for what would eventually become Crossover Community Impact.
Justin holds a bachelors degree from the University of Tulsa and received his Master of Urban Planning from Harvard University where he focused on community development and housing.