Getting to Know You: Todd Spain, Lead Pastor of Crossroads Church
Born and raised in Florence, South Carolina, Todd Spain attended Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri where he began his pastoral education.
He graduated with a degree in Youth Ministry, qualifying him to invest in and lead the youth of the congregation. Todd then moved to Abilene, Texas upon accepting his first ministry. During that time, he would pursue his masters degree online through Liberty University. In time and with much hard work and study, he earned a Master’s of Arts, Religion, and Biblical Church Ministry. In 2017, Todd Spain completed his education by earning a doctorate in Christian Leadership while serving in full time ministry as Lead Pastor.
As the Lead Pastor at Crossroads Church in Pelham, New Hampshire, Todd Spain spends his workdays counseling the members of his congregation and providing spiritual guidance. On Sundays, he conducts two church services, one at 8:45 am, and one at 10:45 am. Crossroads Church was established in 2001 with a mission to continually lead its congregation and members of the surrounding community to become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ.
When not actively preaching, Todd Spain likes to barbecue every chance he can. He also enjoys spending time at the beach and the ocean, including surfing and scuba diving. Beyond everything else, Todd loves spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
As a pastor, what do you currently do for your congregation?
My primary role is to lead and guide my congregation—not only to teach them what the bible says, but how to live it out on a daily basis. I spend my working hours trying to strengthen and support the people that I serve so they can live a God-fearing life.
What inspired you to become a pastor?
Truthfully, I never wanted to be a pastor. I wanted to work with teenagers. That inclination started from the impact that my soccer coach and youth pastor had on me. Their example inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others, so I went into the youth ministry thinking that would be my job until I retired. Then, as God began to work in my heart and call me away from it, I reluctantly became a pastor to adults. I kind of went in kicking and screaming because I love youth ministry. But I also love watching people meet Jesus, no matter their age. That’s the thrill of my life. I thoroughly enjoy introducing people to someone that loves them to the point where he gave his life for their sins and then forgave them. When people understand that they can have a personal relationship with God, it fires me up. I get more excited about that than anything. When I see marriages restored, lives put back together, family ties mended, and addicts set free, it reminds me why I do this.
What are the most important keys to living life as an example for your congregation?
We’re all human. So, we will all make mistakes. It’s not about perfection, but a pursuit of Jesus Christ. If you fall, get back up. If you sin, confess it, and move on. But understand that, number one, Jesus loves you as you are. Number two, he died for you and he rose again. And so, if you want to truly find life, you’ve got to find it in him. After all, he’s the only one to walk out of the tomb. Anyone that can do that is worth sticking with. He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” That’s what I teach all the time. If you want the life that God wants to give us, then it only comes through his Son. Many people go through life merely existing. What we’re trying to do is point them to Jesus and tell them that heeding his teachings is not about perfection, it’s about living a good life today. When you pursue Christ and his teachings genuinely, you start to identify with your local church, the community around you, and you discover an innate joy and inner peace in turbulent times.
What are the most valuable lessons that you have learned through your career as a pastor?
I think authenticity is one. People don’t want to follow someone who is fake. As a pastor, it’s important for people to see you struggle just like they do. They want to be guided by someone that’s going through hard times with them. That way, they don’t feel so alone. They want to know hope is real. Also, accountability is huge. So many pastors don’t seem to think they are accountable to anyone, but they are accountable—both to their congregation and to God. Another vital part of this job is fostering relationships. I need to maintain a strong relationship with my wife and with my friends. It is from those relationships that I derive strength. Craig Groeschel once said that every pastor needs a pastor. The last, and perhaps most important lesson to keep in mind is that being a pastor is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about longevity. You need time to be able to learn about the people you minister to, learn their names, learn about their families, their struggles, and their triumphs.
What advice would you give those aspiring to find success as a pastor?
Find a new career. I’m kidding! It simply comes down to what Jesus said. The whole issue of life is to love God and love your neighbor. I think a lot of pastors love God, but they don’t really like other people and that’s unfortunate. You’ve got to love people, as well. After all, you are there to serve them, not the other way around. That is where the fulfillment or success in this profession is found.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of being a pastor?
Anything barbecue related. It’s my love language. I enjoy following college football and Atlanta Braves baseball. I like anything related to the beach and the ocean, like scuba diving and surfing. I love spending time with my wife. And while some people think we lead a really exciting life, a big date for us is just taking a walk outside with one another. That’s enough for us. Up until I turned 50, I loved playing soccer. Time gets us all, sadly. I love my grandkids. They’re incredible.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
My wife is a principal, so I try to stick to her schedule. At 3 pm, I stop working without hesitation. I don’t really operate on a daily to-do list, but more of a running to-do list that accumulates over weeks and months. There are times when I require more time for meetings about church business, but those times are the exception rather than the rule. I think the most important part of maintaining a work/life balance is learning how to say “no.” I don’t need to be involved in everything, and most things don’t need my thumb print and will work just fine without my participation. I promised my wife and kids that I would be home every night, and that’s my number one priority. My first ministry is my wife and kids. If I lose them, then I’ve lost everything. So, I guard my family time closely.
What is a piece of technology that helps you in your day-to-day routine?
Two things; my iPad and my laptop, even though I’m not very technologically adept. I am grateful for the assistance of my staff and my son who helps me keep it working and backed up. I would be quite lost without it.
Who’s been a role model to you and why?
I have several. Professionally, there have been a lot of pastors along the way that have influenced me in wonderful ways, but truthfully, one of my great spiritual heroes is my mother. No matter what valleys she has to go through, her faith never waivers. She’s been a huge influence on my life. Personally, although he has since passed on, the soccer coach that I mentioned earlier in the interview was also a big influence. In addition to coaching soccer, he was also a pastor and one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. He really learned how to walk with the Lord. My wife is also a huge influence on me. She’s my rock, much like the Holy Spirit. I would not be able to do what I do without her.
What’s one piece of advice you’ve never forgotten?
My dad once said, “Don’t look forward to tomorrow so much that you miss out on today.” I have really tried following that advice with my kids, especially when my daughter was born. I wanted to really cherish the moments with her in my life instead of constantly looking forward to when she got bigger and could walk, ride a bike, and so on. We don’t get today back; once it’s over, it’s over. I think so many of us are looking forward to tomorrow that we miss out on the blessings of today. There are plenty of people in the world who ought to keep that in mind.
Getting to Know You: Todd Spain, Lead Pastor of Crossroads Church