It's official: Hastings is getting a new church. Crossroads Church, which has locations in Woodbury, Cottage Grove and Eagan, is adding a fourth location here.

Crossroads recently signed a lease on the vacant space adjacent to Coborn's on Hastings' south side, and with Hastings resident Tim Stanley on board to serve as its pastor, plans are on track for an opening later this year.

Adding the new location is a project many months in the making. Rev. Phil Print, Crossroad Church's lead pastor, said that they were originally considering two different communities.

"We at the time were looking at expansion either this way (Hastings) or in Stillwater," he said.

And there were a few factors that tipped the scales in Hastings' favor. First was Stanley. Print said that Crossroads, when looking to add a new location, first looks for the right leader and then looks for the right space. One of the church staff members had met with Stanley over coffee and recommended he be considered as a potential leader. When Print met with Stanley, the choice was an obvious one. Print said he saw Stanley's passion, not only for sharing God's message, but also for the Hastings community and its people.

"His heart for this area was the key factor," Print said.

Stanley resigned his position as area director for Hastings Young Life to take on the new Crossroads location. Although he admits that it makes no sense on paper for him to leave Young Life, the opportunity to shift tracks with Crossroads was a chance to accomplish something he's been hoping to do for years.

"I just feel a calling to change platforms," Stanley said. "... I have an opportunity to create a reality for this town that I so desired."

He said that the work he'll be doing as the pastor at the Hastings Crossroads Church won't be that different from the work he's done at Young Life. It's just a new platform. Plus, he added, the leadership he leaves behind at Young Life is "incredible" and will be able to continue that mission without him.

With Stanley on board, Print said that the church leadership next started considering locations. There again, things seemed to fall just perfectly into place. Another Crossroads member mentioned that, if the church ever wanted to expand to Hastings, they might have a space available. Print said the offer was made right as the leadership was really starting to consider Hastings as a location. They looked at a few locations and ultimately settled on the former Dollar Tree location. The nearly 17,000-square-foot space was big enough for their needs, and there's plenty of room for parking - a concern that ruled out a couple other Hastings sites, Stanley said.

Print said that he expects the buildout inside the building to begin sometime in June, with construction lasting about three months. If all goes according to plan, the space could be ready to open sometime in October.

The building's location within Hastings was another positive. It is located in Crossroads Center, close by the crossroads of highways 61 and 316. Considering the church's name and mission, it was a perfect fit.

"We really want to be a church for people who are at a crossroads in their life," Print explained. "... It's a win, win, win, win, win for us."

Stanley said that the demographics of the area also fit nicely with the church's mission, as there are young families mixed with older, longtime residents all mixed together in that part of the city. Crossroads Church, he said, hopes to serve all types of people.

Another bonus was that the site is located well apart from other local churches. Print stressed that Crossroads is coming to Hastings not to compete with existing churches, but to offer a different sort of church experience for those who aren't already part of a congregation. He said when he launched Crossroads 25 years ago, he did it for people who have given up on church but haven't given up on God.

"That's who we exist for," he said, and they're bringing the same mentality to Hastings.

Print said he's excited to join the existing faith community in Hastings and to partner with other churches.

"We want to come in as friends, as companions," he said.

With the new lease signed, the church is now working on cleaning up and renovating their new interior space. They're still getting designs finalized, but Stanley said the concept is for a flexible, multi-use space that can change to fit various needs.

Those needs could range from children's classes and worship services to all sorts of community uses, like dance recitals, banquets and such.

"We want a building that serves the community," Stanley said.

He said he hopes that other organizations see the new church not just as a worship space but as a community space.

"It's there to be used," he said.