With this post we will be beginning the occasional spotlight of long time members of Crossway Church whose life stories may not be well known but are worthy of being shared. This post was written by Paul Schwarz who also conducted the interview.
Spend any time around Richard and Lois Sensenig and you’ll encounter two people whose hearts have been captured by the gospel. They can’t recount the stories of their conversion to faith in Christ without being brought to tears. And like you’d expect from a couple that on New Year’s Day will have been married for 54 years, they have a way of finishing each other’s sentences as they tell their stories.
Richard and Lois met in 1953 at a social at Lois’ church while he was working near Chambersburg at a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. “It was infatuation at first sight,” Richard recalls. “When everybody went around the room and introduced themselves later, I made sure I met her.” The Sensenigs both came from church backgrounds; according to Lois, though, “We weren’t saved, but we thought we were.” Richard wasn’t even sure he believed God existed, saying that “whatever faith I had, I lost [in college].”
In 1974, Lois began to experience a spiritual hunger that wasn’t being fed in the context of her church, where the gospel wasn’t being taught faithfully. Through the influence of some genuine believers there who held prayer meetings, Lois began seeing the power of answered prayer, which opened her heart to the realization that Christ alone had paid the penalty for her sin.
“He thought I was crazy,” says Lois about Richard’s initial response to her changing life. Within a year, however, when facing a particularly stressful work responsibility, Richard asked Lois to pray for him. “Within a minute [of that request],” he says, “I had what I now categorize as a conversion experience.”
The process of growing together in Christian maturity eventually brought them, in 1978, to the house church in Lancaster that later evolved into what became CrossWay. This was despite the fact that “Lois was 43 and I was 46,” Richard observes, “and everyone else in the church was 25.”
That didn’t matter to them, though, because they sought accountability, deep fellowship and sound teaching. “I need the protection and covering that God provides through His leaders,” Richard confesses. “There have been times when pastors have come to us with major issues so as to help adjust us.” Lois adds, “I see us getting deeper and deeper in doctrine and in finding our identity in the cross.”
For the last 30 years, Crossway Church has had the honor of receiving God’s love and care through the Sensenigs. Their warm and inviting home seems to always be open for gatherings. Whether it’s hosting Care Group meetings or throwing bridal showers, celebrating special times with church families or conducting meaningful counseling sessions, they open their home and pour out their lives again and again. One very fruitful tradition they’ve established is their annual Christmas party for people who are new to the church. Each year they scour the regular attenders of Crossway and invite them into their home for an evening of getting acquainted. They are always reaching out, and God has certainly blessed them with a gift of unwavering hospitality and boundless energy.
Richard and Lois have four grown children: Eugene, Regina (Siegrist), Beth and Geoff. They also have 17 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, each of whom they love and adore.