Crosslands sounds like a wonderfully creative name for a company owned by a Christ follower. But owner Jeff Durbon isn’t taking credit. As he tells the story, he and a previous partner used the name Crosslands to reflect their desire to have a multi-state construction company.
“When we started the company, we wanted a professional sounding name. And we wanted to build ‘across the lands,’” explained Jeff. “It wasn’t spiritual at all.”
It was later in his business and personal life that his perspective would change, adding new meaning to the company name.
“God knew ahead of time what was going to happen. I just chalk it up to God’s sense of humor,” he said. “It used to be about land; now it’s about the cross.”
The primacy of prayer
You’ve probably dined in some of the spaces built by Crosslands, as they focus on mid-range commercial projects, including many well-known casual eateries across the West.
Construction can be a cut-throat industry with success riding on razor-thin margins and a fickle economy. But the 21-year-old company is hitting high notes; they expect to top $19 million in sales this year with a projected $25 million for next year.
The numbers can be dazzling, but for Durbon, it all comes down to one principle – stewardship.
“Growing up in Oklahoma, we always had stewardship campaigns,” he said. “But it took me decades to figure out that stewardship was more than just giving money. I have to be a good steward of all that God has given me – time, talents, and treasures.
“It’s more than ‘more.’ If we treat our clients and employees well and give ourselves to prayer, the money piece will work itself out,” he said.
The booms and busts of construction are well documented, but Durbon isn’t concerned. “Even if we lose money on a project, or in a year, or in a season, we do all we can to be in a ‘righteous position,’ and that sets us up for success.”
By Durbon’s definition, being in a “righteous position” is following terms and conditions, adhering to contracts and scopes of work and treating everyone with respect. Those who fail are the ones who don’t follow principles, who chase after money at any cost. “Failure in this line of work is self-induced.”
Durbon doesn’t just pray to prosper and succeed. Sometimes he prays the bad situations out.
“We’ve had bad clients, bad jobs, and bad employees. I just pray that God takes them out of my life, that he removes the obstacles – and he does.”
He also prays that God brings him the right projects, employees and subcontractors.
“I’m not a preacher, but prayer and kindness change people – they change situations.”
Creating a godly niche
So, what makes Crosslands different? This is a question that Jeff wrestles with daily.
“We want to create an environment and a service so remarkable that it causes our clients, subcontractors, and employees to notice that something is different.”
“We generate work based on relationships,” he explains. The company does very little marketing. They don’t attend trade shows or produce slick brochures, and they admit their website is a work in progress.
“I used to sweat finding the next big job, but I gave that up. I had faith, but not courage to live in the faith,” he said. “The phrase ‘Let it go’ didn’t start with a Disney movie. It started with God, and I’m trying to follow Him every day.”
He lives and works by Philippians 4:6. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Durbon adds with conviction, “And count your blessings – name them one by one.”
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This post was published December 21, 2016
David Rupert is a Golden-based writer who has more than 2,000 articles on faith, culture and vocation published in a variety of publications. He is the community editor for the Denver Institute blog. Most recently he was content editor at the High Calling, helping Christians connect their faith to the workplace. He regularly writes for Patheos.