Crossings sets records, renews missions focus

Originally published at Western Recorder –

Louisville—Crossings 2015 was not only a banner year for decisions and attendance, but this year even the camp staff found a renewed focus on missions.

This summer Crossings partnered with the International Mission Board to raise funds to send and support Latin American missionaries in their home countries. They raised $240,000 for the IMB partnership.

“Our theme this summer was ‘Proclaim,’ in the context of proclaiming the gospel. The IMB partnership was just a continual reminder to our staff of the urgency of proclaiming the gospel wherever you live and internationally,” said David Melber, president of Crossings.

“Day in and day out, looking at missions through the context of the Bible, and having that before our staff on an ongoing basis forces us all to evaluate how we’re living out our lives.” Melber explained. “Are we passionate about proclaiming the gospel in every aspect of our lives?

“I think that the Lord still uses this strange temporary environment called camp to pull not only students but also adults out of our daily distractions to be focused on God’s word, and to realize that He has us on this earth for a reason, and that’s to be His ambassadors and proclaim the gospel,” Melber added.

In addition to the money raised for IMB, Crossings 2015 saw 849 salvation decisions among the 13,166 campers who attended.

Pre-registration for Crossings 2016 already surpasses this summer’s total by 200 campers. The theme will be “Identity.”

This summer was unique for Crossings because not only did they participate in international missions, but they also had a mission field come to them. First Baptist Church of Mayfield had just returned from a mission trip to a Native American reservation in Arizona and brought back about 10 students with them for camp.

“It was the first time many of them had even set foot off the reservation, so you can imagine the wide eyes as they thought, ‘What are we getting into?’” Scott Bidwell, director of Jonathan Creek, said.

He continued, “It was a really neat opportunity to get to share the gospel in a place that can be dark, to share the gospel with folks in a completely different context than what they’re used to.”

Seth York, program coordinator at Cedarmore, was encouraged by his interaction with the staff, primarily college students who spent their summer break working at camp.

“We get the campers for just five days, but for the people who live and work on the properties, we get these college students for two months, and we get to see them process some really significant life decisions. They will almost certainly be sharing the gospel every single day,” York said.

“You get to help these college students work through and walk through many of the implications of making gospel decisions and the impact it has on our lives,” York said. “It just gives them a broader view of what we’re called to do as followers of Christ. We get to train these college students who will then go to their college campuses and be missionaries.”

Bidwell added, “’Proclaim’ is more than just a theme for the summer. We exist to proclaim the gospel. It’s becoming more than a mission statement. We’re starting to see people actually live that out in their lives.

“You see our summer staff that is going overseas. You see some that are going to some very difficult places to take the gospel,” Bidwell said. “To me, that’s an encouraging thing.”

“The Lord doesn’t use camp for camp’s sake. He uses it because His word is being proclaimed, lives are being changed and students and adults are going back different than they were before,” Melber concluded. (WR)