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Elk River Church’s Practices Stirs Controversy

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(credit: CBS) Liz Collin
At 15 years old, Liz Collin made her broadcast debut covering...
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ELK RIVER, Minn. (WCCO) – On Friday night, dozens of families are expected to discuss how they believe a church in the north metro has too much control.

On its website, The Crossing in Elk River states it is “A church for people who don’t do church.”

But, many families said becoming a member comes at too high a cost.

Eric Dykstra and his wife Kelly lead The Crossing in Elk River along with three satellite locations.

The church is known for its unconventional approach to weekly worship. What started as 40 members six years ago has now grown to more than 2,000.

Katie Kennedy blames the church for taking her son away. She said she started going to the church with her 18-year-old son to support him playing music during the services.

“Down in the pit of my stomach I knew something was terribly wrong in this place. He gave up his life, his parents, his siblings, his music to follow Eric Dykstra,” Kennedy said.

In just a few months, Kennedy’s 18-year-old son quit college, moved out and got married to another church member. Kennedy said it all came at the urging of the lead pastors.

“I didn’t get concerned until I started seeing these changes in my son that weren’t my son,” Kennedy said.

Tracey and Jeremy Rogahn parted ways with The Crossing shortly after they were married in the church. They said they were told they were sinning against God if they didn’t donate a certain amount of money and that volunteers who didn’t agree with Dykstra’s teachings were asked to leave. They also said the Dykstra’s told church members not to talk to them again after leaving the church.

“My thought was this is not in the Bible,” Jeremy Rogahn said. “My thought was this was becoming a cult,” he said.

While no one from The Crossing would talk to WCCO-TV on camera on Wednesday, Kelly Dykstra did respond to a list of e-mailed questions to say they are not a cult, they follow Jesus and “That anytime an organization does something differently it becomes suspect.”

She also wrote, “No one is ever asked to leave The Crossing Church for disagreeing with Pastor Eric’s teaching.”

Katie Kennedy doesn’t buy it. She started a blog and said she has heard from dozens of other families who want The Crossing closed.

Kelly Dykstra said the Kennedy’s allegations about her son are a family issue and they are praying it will be resolved.  Kelly said Eric teaches Conservative Baptist Theology at The Crossing and in another statement said, “The Crossing is made up of normal, jacked-up people trying to serve Jesus and follow the Bible the best way we know how.”

People concerned with The Crossing’s teachings will meet at Elk River High School at 6:30 p.m. Friday. People attending are asked to use Door H.

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