4yrs – 4th grade

Allyson Wolfe and Small Group

This Little Light of Mine

By | 4yrs - 4th grade, Crossings KIDS, Stories, Volunteer, Women

Allyson Wolfe and Small GroupMany know this children’s song by heart from their childhood or from their children serenading them for hours after learning it in church. For Children’s Ministry volunteer, Allyson Wolfe, it has become a theme song for her life with Christ.

Allyson came to Crossings Community Church at the Belle Isle location when she was in 4th grade. Her family began attending the church at the invitation of a friend. They had attended another church but as she puts it, “we were excited to get a free donut but didn’t feel connected.” When they came to Crossings, they immediately felt like they were part of a family. The church and the people in it made such an impact on her that Allyson still recalls her Sunday School teachers by name, memories of playing a snowman in the Christmas program, and many other experiences.

Early on, Allyson knew that she wanted to work with children. This lead her to a career in Education. She moved to Texas with her first job and stayed there for eight years. In an effort to be closer to family, she moved back to Oklahoma. When she returned, she came back to Crossings. Her family was still attending there along with the people that had become her extended family. Going somewhere else did not seem like an option. She was amazed at the growth in the church since she had moved but could not picture going anywhere else. It took some time for her to find her place, but God had already gone before her to prepare a place for her to be involved.

After teaching two years in Oklahoma, circumstances led Allyson to seek a job in another field. This was not an easy decision for her as her heart was in teaching. Through prayer and the Lord’s leading, Allyson accepted a job as a land tech for an oil company. While she was grateful for this opportunity, she found that she missed working with children. She volunteered at the church in other areas but knew she was being called to serve the children of Crossings. After prayer and seeking, God provided the opportunity for her to volunteer as a teacher in the preschool area of the church – a position Allyson will describe as one that “fills her bucket.”

When asked what verse she would choose to describe her time volunteering with children, Allyson chose Mark 5:14-16:

We are the light of the world, glowing in the night for all to see. Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.

Explaining how these verses relate to her volunteering with kids, Allyson stated, “They (preschoolers) let their lights shine bright for all to see. They love Jesus endlessly! They are a light in my life and one of my good deeds for all to see. I praise Him for sending me the light of four year olds.”

Even as Allyson found her place to volunteer, God’s plan for her involvement in Crossings didn’t stop there. While volunteering, she met another young lady that introduced her to a group of like-minded Godly single women. Through small group study, the Centered class, and social gatherings, this group continues to challenge Allyson to dig deeper in God’s Word and reflect on her relationship with Christ every day.

Whether listening to her preschoolers sing about shining their light for Jesus, studying with her small group, or listening to the latest sermon series, at Crossings, Allyson finds the encouragement to shine her light for the Lord as she lives her life for Him.

“This Little Light of Mine” originally published by Sheila Urton, Crossings Volunteer Writing Team


Knights in the Service of the Spirit

By | 4yrs - 4th grade, about us & resources, adults, children & students, Stories, Volunteer

CCC KISS WeekOver the 14-year history of Crossings Christian School, volunteers have worked tirelessly in support of the mission to develop Christ-centered servant leaders. Our students have learned by example and are truly living out this mission every day.

Being Christ-Centered Leaders

Last year, the CCS Student Council introduced K.I.S.S. Week (Knights in the Service of the Spirit), an annual event which dedicates a week to living out our mission of Christ-centered servant leadership by reaching into our community—volunteering our time and resources to others. Students participated in over 1,683 hours of service during the inaugural K.I.S.S. Week and have set a goal to serve over 2000 hours in 2014.

Service opportunities will include volunteering at the Regional Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity—lending support to these ministries that meet the most basic needs. Others will spend time with patients at local cancer centers and nursing homes, allowing students the opportunity to provide prayer and emotional support.

Heeding Their Calls

Still other CCS students will live out Christ-centered servant leadership while working with children at local elementary schools and animals at equestrian riding centers.

CCS students are also proving that service to others is a task we are called to do daily. Two CCS siblings, a kindergartner and first grader, recently hosted a coat drive. The coats they collected will be cleaned and distributed to those in need.

Going the Extra Mile

Not long ago, a group of middle school girls went the extra mile while serving at a local food bank: when a father, who had fallen on hard times, was unable to carry the groceries on his own, the girls accompanied him to the bus stop and waited for his bus to arrive—in spite of the snow and sub-zero temperatures.

It is evident God is using the students of Crossings Christian School to continue His mission of serving others.

Developing students into Christ-centered servant leaders is part of our mission statement at Crossings Christian School. Student Council is the perfect forum for this process to develop. It has been a blessing to me, as Student Council Sponsor, to see the presence of Christ weaving through the minds of students as they make decisions and plan events for our school. They are learning the value of working hard and serving through leadership. As we know, Christ is our ultimate example of servant leadership, and as we keep our eyes on Him, it serves as a great reminder of what we should do and how we should carry ourselves. Our student leaders have risen to the call to lead our school through teamwork, sacrifice, and compassion.

—Jill Bailey, Student Council Sponsor

“Knights in the Service of the Spirit” originally published in the Spring 2014 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

By | 4yrs - 4th grade, about us & resources, adults, Local Missions, Missions, Stories, Volunteer

Learning to Love Reading

The purpose of the Missions & Outreach Ministry at Crossings is to train and equip ordinary people to go and do extraordinary things in the name of Jesus so that all might see, hear and experience God’s love in tangible ways. Crossings volunteers are doing just that at Eugene Field Elementary, where students and teachers alike are feeling the love of Jesus on a daily basis. It all started in 2004 when Crossings began what would become an annual clean-up day at Eugene Field. Crossings volunteers helped clean, paint, organize and prepare the school to start a new year. The relationship with the school has since grown to the point that Crossings volunteers are now in the school each day as teacher partners and reading assessors, and they help organize an annual Christmas backpack giveaway and participate in Literacy Night, an event designed to create an interest in reading for students and their parents.

The Crossings Book Club, which has seen a 200 percent increase in volunteers, enables the volunteers to read to groups and individuals in a more relaxed, personal setting. Last year, the Book Club helped 32 students improve their reading proficiency and comprehension. This year, 63 kids are involved in Book Club, and plans are in place to expand the program to reach even more children. “It’s not our goal to teach,” said Ginger Johnson, a volunteer who is credited with helping to pioneer and lead the Book Club. “The teachers at Eugene Field do a marvelous job of teaching. Our goal is to help the kids learn to enjoy reading and learn to have a love of reading. It’s thrilling, and it’s fun. Our little part of the partnership is to try to instill a love of reading.”

As a result of Book Club, the school has seen an increased interest in reading among its students, as well as improved reading scores. “Most of our first graders improved at least a year, if not a year-and-a-half, in their reading level,” said Principal Paige Bressman. “Having that one-on-one time and small group time with someone other than their teacher has really helped our students. Each of our second graders give up one recess each week to participate in the Book Club, and nobody complains. They want to go to Book Club. They want to read the story and to get that book, and they love spending time in the reading rooms with the volunteers.”

Feeling God’s Love

The Crossings volunteers enjoy Book Club as well – 21 volunteers are currently involved. The group includes volunteers of all ages, from grandparents and retired teachers to college students. Regardless of age, Johnson says all the volunteers receive a heart-warming experience from reading to the children. “I am so full when I come down the stairs after being with these kids,” said Johnson. “It’s great when the kids see us in the hallway, and their eyes light up. The fact that children get excited about reading means so much…If we can engage the kids and their family and help to create an environment that values reading, and makes reading a part of the DNA of this school, then we feel like we have really had a great investment in the future of these students.”

Two years ago, Johnson led a group of Crossings volunteers who met with a group of Eugene Field teachers and administrators to discuss additional ways Crossings could help in the school. The teachers and administrators expressed concerns about reading, as the majority of students speak English as a second language. And many of the Eugene Field parents can’t read to their children in English. From this meeting, Book Club was born. “Last year, Eugene Field retained only three students for reading deficiencies,” said Pam Millington, Pastor of Missions & Outreach Ministries at Crossings. “The year before Book Club, eleven students were retained. That improvement in reading has been specifically attributed to the success of Book Club.”

But Millington says Crossings’ relationship with the school is about much more than reading. It’s about allowing those in the school to see, hear and experience God’s love in tangible ways. The Eugene Field volunteers chose Matthew 5:14-16 as their inspirational passage: ‘You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ “We want people to understand that our church has volunteers who are shining the light of Jesus every single day in that school,” said Millington. “Each year our relationship continues to grow and get deeper. It went from being a once-a-year campus clean-up effort to now, where we have people in the school every single day. We really do life together with the teachers and the students at Eugene Field.”

Being His Light

For Johnson, a longtime Crossings member who once served as Director of the Nursery Ministry, Book Club has become a passion. “Crossings makes it so easy to find your niche or area of passion,” she said. “We have such a strong Volunteer Ministry. A few years ago, I was looking for a new area to serve and through the Missions Ministry, I got involved as a teacher partner. I did that for one year, and I ended up working with one little sixth grader on her reading. My heart just broke because she was just really struggling with her reading. But I realized then just how vital reading is. In a broader sense, I think we are all called to serve,” added Johnson. “We don’t preach the gospel here in the school with our mouths, but Christ tells us ‘you will know that they are My disciples by the love they show each other,’ and that’s just what we feel here . . . we are the light in the community. We are the city on the hill. We can take Jesus with us in all kinds of places.”

Bressman has also seen that Crossings’ impact in her school has reached far beyond reading scores. “We don’t go a day without having Crossings volunteers in this building. The volunteers allow the kids to see that people outside of this building care about them. It allows them to see that people outside of this building are willing to help them – they are not alone, and it may not be as bad as they think some mornings when they come to school. Because when the kids get to school each morning, there are always smiles in the hallways for them. I think the volunteers get as much out of it as the kids do. The teachers love it. The kids love it. The volunteers love it. I don’t know that we would know how to function if we didn’t have Crossings volunteers in the building because they just do so many wonderful things for us.”

It’s just ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the name of Jesus.

“Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things” originally published by John McLemore, Crossings Volunteer Writing Team Member