Crossings activity center dedicated in honor of Melber

Originally published in Western Recorder –

Bagdad—The activities center at Cedarmore Camp and Conference Center was officially dedicated in honor of David Melber, former president of Crossings Ministries, on May 12.

Melber, now part of the North American Mission Board Send Relief team, cut the ribbon. “This building dedication is something that has caused a whole lot of different emotions. It is very unexpected, very humbling, and leaves me a little bit speechless,” Melber said.

“We were more or less for 16 years involved with Crossings. All six of our kids came to faith in Christ in a large part because of the gospel that they heard preached through this ministry,” he continued. “In one of our international partnerships, I visited an international orphanage for the first time in my life, which led us to start the adoption process, and we have three internationally adopted kids now.”

He added, “It’s just woven into our family in a lot of ways.”

In addition to Melber cutting the ribbon, Jeff Dalrymple, Crossings’ current president, offered words of welcome, followed by messages from Kevin Ezell, president of NAMB, and Randy Stinson, dean of the School of Church Ministries at Southern Seminary. Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, offered the dedicatory prayer.

The multipurpose center will be used as a common area for campers to build relationships, a place for indoor activities to take place on rainy days, and a meeting place for retreats. In addition, it will house a General Store for campers to buy various items, Crossings apparel, or a cup of coffee or a latte.

The idea for, and completion of, the center came about “rather quickly,” Randall Breland, communications specialist for Crossings, shared. “At the end of the summer, we had a weather event that brought a few days of rain and even cut the power. The kids loved it and asked us, ‘When are you going to turn the electricity off again?’” he said.

“While we appreciated their tremendous attitude, it became clear to us that we needed a safe indoor option for our visitors and for our activities.” Breland said that ground was broken on Oct. 2, 2016, and from “concept to completion” the project took about 10 months.

“We are excited to add a brand-new public, indoor, multipurpose space to ensure we provide an excellent experience for all of our guests,” he said.

The building was dedicated to Melber to “honor and remember what the Lord did through and for Crossings through David Melber’s excellent leadership from 2003-2015,” Breland said.

“While Christian summer camp ministries were in decline in the early 2000s, David Melber believed that a future remained,” Breland continued. “He understood students’ need for a distraction-free, gospel-rich environment. Melber’s focus on the gospel, missions, relationships, the local church, and excellence live on as the heartbeat of this ministry.”

Because of the tremendous foundation that Melber has given the ministry, it is befitting to name the activities center at Cedarmore after him, Breland said.

Chitwood echoed his sentiment. “Everyone who knows anything about Crossings knows about David Melber. His hard work and determination helped grow Kentucky Baptist camps exponentially. Building upon the foundation he helped to lay, those camps will host more than 15,000 kids this summer.

“It’s appropriate that many of those kids will have gospel conversations in a building bearing the Melber name,” Chitwood said. (WR)