In 1995, founder Rick Bates was the lead programmer on a project to broker excess chemicals and materials on the Internet. This innovative work used an Oracle database to produce dynamic web pages and resulted in a demonstration before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. This project not only highlighted the commercial capabilities of this new medium, but also became the seed of an idea to create an online directory for the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ.
Development began in the Fall of 1996 and by Christmas, the new site was ready for launch. The name chosen for this new ministry was ChurchLink, but when the time came to purchase a domain, ChurchLink was not available. In a development that served to further cement the focus of this new ministry, CrossLink was selected as the new name for this organization — the Cross at the center linking churches, ministers, ministries, colleges, and missionaries. On December 31, 1996 the new ministry came to life on the Internet as www.crosslink.org.
CrossLink quickly grew into one of the largest and most viewed Christian sites on the Internet. In 1998, CrossLink became the parent ministry for the Ministry Employment Network, connecting prospective ministers to ministry opportunities worldwide. In 2000, CrossLink began to leverage its investment in web resources by offering a variety of web hosting and technical services. In 2004, CrossLink opened its online Book and Music store and in 2008 CrossLink Publishing was launched to provide quality Christian books and study materials to the Christian community. A follow-on response to requests from authors resulted in the creation of New Harbor Press in 2014. This subsidy imprint of CrossLink Publishing allows new authors the opportunity to bring a book to market with distribution through Ingram Distributors at a cost well below self-publishing.
With experience as the Director of eCommerce Development for Gateway Computers and as a Group Engineering Manager for Intuit, Inc., Rick Bates continues to be the senior systems engineer and site developer. CrossLink’s business model is to provide world-class web services without relying on financial support from churches. That work continues today, and is always enriched by the prayers and encouragement of God’s people. God bless.