What is Cross America?

We are glad you asked!

The Cross America ministry and the facility are the only ones of their kind in the United States.  We are a Great Commission movement, a community and event center, and simply a positive environment and destination for you, your friends, and groups to visit.

First and foremost, Cross America is a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-denominational organization with a huge goal of spreading the Gospel to every home in America.

And then He [Jesus] told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15, New Living Translation).

This Great Commission is the driving force behind Cross America’s mission statement to send a Cross and Path to Salvation to Every Home in America.

We are not a church, but we do desire to reach people with the Gospel and fill churches where our crosses have reached.

How are we planning to reach every home in America with the Gospel? The answer is simple: Cross America will send a small aluminum pocket cross and a plan to salvation to every household in every zip code in the United States.

It is an enormous goal, but with the help of volunteers nationwide, we know that we can achieve this vision.

Join the movement to fulfill the Great Commission. If you package one cross, it could mean the difference in someone’s salvation and eternity.

What happens at the Cross America Community Center building?

Cross America is a community of people who gather for many purposes.  Fellowship, concerts, small group studies, parties, events, and business meetings are just a few!  Visit us to tour the many event and meeting spaces in our 23,000-square-foot facility.    We have several different amenities:

  • A full coffee shop, gift shop, and café (Doubting Thomas)
  • A 410-seat auditorium with audio, video, and lighting.
  • One of a kind replica tomb with a moveable stone with an interactive video telling the salvation story of Jesus
  • Four conference rooms equipped with 70-inch TVs and 4×8 whiteboards.
  • A community podcasting studio
  • A 120-seat event center with a full catering kitchen for carry-ins and catering events
  • Multiple outdoor seating areas are open daily
  • Laptop bar, fireplace, and comfortable furniture settings
  • Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the facility
  • Non-Profit ‘incubator’ offices housing several ministries.
All conference rooms must be scheduled and a donation towards the greater mission of Cross America is suggested. Parties and events utilizing conference rooms, the event center, and the auditorium have a separate rental schedule. Please contact us with the form HERE to request a quote on all facility areas.

How did Cross America get started?

[KOKOMO TOWNE POST  | Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing | Photographer / Jason Graves December 2021]

For several years, Terry Merrell says he felt a clear, strong calling from God to go out and complete the Great Commission of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The idea was to send a cross and message of salvation to every home in America. To him it sounded like a crazy idea. He wondered if it would be possible, how he would begin, and if it would truly make a difference.

Those questions plagued him at first. However, he says the Holy Spirit encourages people to go tell others, not to convert others. Ultimately, Merrell simply couldn’t shake the feeling that this task is what he was called to do. When he asked his wife Nieta her opinion, she said, “If you feel led to do this, you should.”

With his wife’s unwavering support, he stopped worrying about what others might think. Once Merrell surrendered in complete obedience, he says God surrounded him and Nieta with others who shared their passion and vision.

We discovered there was a great thirst for people who want to carry out the Great Commission,” Merrell says. “Not everyone can be a missionary and go overseas, but there are so many people who want to do something and make a difference.”

The Merrells founded Cross America Community Center in March of 2018. When it opened the staff initially bought 20,000 cards and crosses, thinking that would last a couple of months. In two days they ran out.

We thought maybe we could package 2,000 a week,” Merrell says. “Now, three years later, we package 2,700 crosses a day.”

Most encouraging of all is that even as the newness of the mission has waned, enthusiasm for it continues to grow.

People like to do the work of God by using their hands,” Merrell says. “Packaging crosses can be done even if you are 90 years old, in a wheelchair and only have the use of one hand.”

The crosses, which are made out of aluminum, have the Romans 10:9 scripture reference from the Bible engraved on the back of them. The passage runs as follows, according to the New International Version of the Bible: “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Merrell found a man in Oregon to make the crosses, and upon receiving the first batch, Merrell looked at the invoice and divided the total dollar amount by the number of crosses to see how much they paid for each one. The amount came to 10.9 cents each. A retired machinist from Burlington, Indiana, currently makes the crosses for half that price, saving millions of dollars over the life of the mission.

The cards, which open into the shape of a cross, share the salvation message. On the outside, they say, “People you don’t even know have prayed for you,” as before the packages are sent out, they are prayed over. The card also includes Cross America’s email address, and the team invites recipients to reach out with any questions they may have.

Merrell learned about Every Door Direct Mail from the post office. It enables nonprofits to send items, for very little cost, to every zip code in America without having entire addresses.

As the team has disseminated the crosses, they have realized a 1% success rate, which, in a numbers world, sounds less than ideal. However, success can be defined in different ways. Merrell and his team do not consider recipients mere numbers.

If you package 100 crosses and one person’s life is affected by it, that’s a big deal,” he says.

Every week they learn that this mission is, in fact, impacting lives. For instance, they got a call from a man who said he was on the verge of suicide, but he asked God for a sign to reveal that he was real, and that day he received a cross in the mail. Another family shared how their son had accepted Christ into his life after getting a cross in the mail. He was later involved in a fatal motorcycle accident and in his wallet was the cross, bent from the crash. His family was comforted by the knowledge that their son carried the cross with him and had it on him when he died.

In addition, a wife recently wrote to say her husband had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“After two hard months of endless nights and tears, my 7- and 9-year-olds both accepted Christ into their heart after receiving a cross in the mail,” she wrote. Their father was dying, but the mother says he felt peace knowing that one day he would be reunited with his girls in heaven.

Merrell’s team gets feedback from those who invite Christ into their hearts, and they hear from atheists as well.

They may tell us that they are offended to have received a cross in the mail, but we respond back and oftentimes we end up corresponding several different times, which is something that would never happen with a nonbeliever out on the street,” Merrell says. “Usually we end up agreeing to disagree, but we don’t judge them. In fact, we find that often something has happened in their past that has turned them sour, and you realize that had that happened to you, you would probably feel the same.”

Merrell notes that regardless of the interaction, the people at Cross America ask the recipient to keep the cross, even if they tuck it away in a drawer.

We feel that down the road someday, they may reach for that cross,” he says.

Meet the team at Cross America

Crystal Sanburn

Crystal Sanburn

Executive Director
Mona White

Mona White

Cafe Director
Jonathan Eller

Jonathan Eller

Board Member | Treasurer
Matt Williams

Matt Williams

Board Member | At Large
Barb Tranbarger

Barb Tranbarger

Board Advisor
Jennifer Bingaman

Jennifer Bingaman

Marketing Director
Terry Merrell

Terry Merrell

Board Member | Chairman
Nieta Merrell

Nieta Merrell

Board Member | Secretary

What We Believe

1.  Scripture
We believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God.  Given that truth, we believe it to be our duty to carefully study what it says and apply it as the supreme and final authority on all matters of faith and life.
2 Timothy 3:16-17,  Psalm 119:9-11,  2 Peter 1:20-21

2.  The Triune God
We believe that there is one God eternally existing in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit equal in nature but differing in roles and functions.
Matthew 3:16-17,  Matthew 28:19

3.  Jesus Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ is God; that He was born on earth as man; that He lived a sinless life; that He died on the cross for our sins; that He literally rose from the dead; and lives today ready and able to forgive those who trust in Him.
John 3:16,  1 Corinthians 15:3-41 Peter 3:18

4.  Man and Sin
We believe that man was originally created by God and in His own image, but that Adam sinned, marring that creation and separating us from God.  We believe that man today is born with a sinful nature and is destined to be eternally lost without salvation through faith in Christ.
Romans 5:12,  Psalm 51:5,  Jeremiah 17:9

5.  Grace
We believe that salvation for every sinner comes solely by the grace of God through faith placed in Jesus Christ.  We believe that Christ paid the complete penalty for the sins of every man by His death on the cross.  We also believe that all who accept His payment for their sins are adopted into the family of God and given new life in Him.
Romans 5:6-11,  Romans 10:9

6.  Salvation
We believe that the gift of salvation is available to all.  Romans 10:11-13.  We believe that all who are saved are kept by the power of God and the eternal love of the Father.  We also believe that it is the duty of all who are saved to be faithful to their salvation, making Jesus both Savior and Lord.
Romans 8:29-39,  Colossians 1:21-23

7.  Marriage
We believe that marriage is an honorable state, instituted and ordained by God, as set forth in the Bible, as the lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife.
Genesis 2:21-24,  Hebrews 13:4,  Mark 10:6-9

Board Faith Statement