Category

adults

Sharing The Volunteer Experience

By | adults, children & students, I'm New, Sermons, Volunteer

Love for Crossings

When Tyler and Brittany Grubbs say that they have a love for Crossings that is all their own, they mean it. Tyler has attended Crossings since birth, and Brittany has attended since fourth grade. They’re one of the few couples who can say they met their spouse at Crossings, and one of even fewer couples who can say they met in elementary school.

We just loved the community Crossings provided, especially in high school.

Growing up in the church, Tyler and Brittany were both active participants in the student ministry. “We just loved the community that it provided, especially in high school,” Tyler says. “When we were students, we did not have Facebook, text messaging, or things like that. We always looked forward to seeing our friends at church,” he explains.

Some of the couple’s favorite memories as participants in the student ministry include volleyball nights, movie nights, and of course the group trips. “In high school, we both went on a mission trip to Mexico and came back dating, so that was definitely a benefit,” Brittany laughs.

Sharing the Volunteer Experience

The couple credits their experience in the student ministry to the many volunteers that invested in their lives. This led them to have a strong desire to give back. “From a young age, Crossings poured into our lives, and from that we have a love of Crossings that is our own. It meant so much to us we wanted to give that experience to others,” Tyler says.

Tyler and Brittany interned with the student ministry and then proceeded to serve as small group coaches for five years. They both had the amazing opportunity to go through each year of high school with the same group of students. “It is so rewarding to watch a student grow and develop spiritually over the course of four years,” Brittany explains. “You really do take on a big brother or sister role when you volunteer as a small group coach,” she adds.

Today, they continue to give back to the Church by leading a community group for young married couples. “Participating in and leading a community group has been such a blessing. It’s so great to be able to walk through the same stages of life with a group of great people,” Brittany says. The couple firmly believes participating in a community group is a wonderful way to get to know more people and to break down the size of the Church into a smaller, more intimate group.

Willingness to be the Hands and Feet

Their community group meets once a week, rotating between different locations. “Our group is amazing. We usually start around six o’clock, and some people end up staying until almost midnight. We just really enjoy hanging out together. I love that people show up each week. It is very come as you are, even if you’re just in workout clothes,” Tyler says.

Sometimes the group focuses on discussing Sunday’s sermon, and sometimes they do a study. “The great thing about leading a community group is that you really don’t have to be a scholar. We have great resources from the Church,” Tyler says.

Volunteering truly enables you to be the Hands and the Feet and to serve the Lord. You have the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives. It is truly good to serve.”

Brittany adds, “You just need to have a willingness to share with other people the things that are going on in your life. You’re there to help make the group a comfortable place and a support system for everyone.”

Tyler and Brittany had their first child last summer, yet somehow even with a baby and their many other commitments, they still find time to volunteer. “We love giving back to Crossings, as it has given so much to us,” the couple explains. “Volunteering truly enables you to be the Hands and the Feet and to serve the Lord. You have the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives. It is truly good to serve.”

Ushering in Community

By | adults, Blended Traditional, children & students, I'm New, Stories, Volunteer

Tim Eisel When people feel connected to the church, God does amazing things…and it is through stories like Tim’s we see the fruit of what He is doing through all of our volunteers here at Crossings on a weekly basis.

All too often, when people hear the word “volunteer,” they shy away—and understandably so!

• How am I going to find the time?

• Am I going to fit into the ministry well?

• What happens when I’m ready to serve in another way?

These questions have crossed the Volunteer Central desk numerous times. If you have ever considered volunteering, but are nervous about taking the next steps and becoming a part of the “I Am Crossings” ministry, you are not alone. Tim Eisel was just like you. He had a lot of those same questions too, but he took the leap of faith… and today we tell his “I Am Crossings” story.

It all began with Children’s Ministry

Tim and his wife, Kristi, walked into the doors of Belle Isle Community Church in early 1999 and were there only six months before it was time to open the doors to the brand new Crossings Community Church. I learned so much about God during my Bible study and preparation to teach those kids.

“I taught 4th grade boys Sunday school in the beginning … and helped come up with some of the games we played before the children went to their classes. I learned so much about God during my Bible study and preparation to teach those kids,” Tim shared.

Tim went on to share how much having the community of men around him for him to learn from and get to know really impacted him. We at Crossings are all about community. Our desire is that whether you are sitting in a service, getting a cup of coffee, or serving in a ministry, you feel connected. For Tim, he found great connection through teaching in many ways.

The remarkable part about Tim’s story is that he is a perfect example of someone who sought out different opportunities to serve others while being here at Crossings. A volunteer position isn’t a lifetime contract! It is a fun opportunity, and when you feel ready to try something else, you can!

“I had a lot of fun teaching 4th grade Sunday school, but after about 4 or 5 years, I decided to try something else. I got involved as an usher in the Sanctuary service, and I have been there ever since,” he said.

It’s all about the people

Today, if you walk up to the north side of the balcony in the Sanctuary, you will see that Tim Eisel has found his niche. He is not just an usher there, but he has cultivated a strong community between all of the attendees who sit in his section.

“I miss my section when I have to miss a Sunday,” Tim states. Over the years, Tim’s joy for his volunteer job has shown in many ways, but specifically in the way in which he cares for those he comes into contact. He shared with us that some of his favorite moments as an usher so far have been the ones when people tell him how they need prayer or share with him an exciting thing going on in their life. Tim is an example of a hard-working husband and dad who makes time to give back and gets humbling opportunities to see God working in and through the church because of it.

Blessed by serving

Every human is broken in some way, but everyone can serve and give back to the church.

When asked why he serves, Tim shared: “Every human is broken in some way, but everyone can serve and give back to the church. If someone has real concern about the time commitment, I would tell him or her it is so worth it. I only serve an hour a week and get so much blessing out of it.”

Keri Whitson

To Serve and Protect

By | adults, Clinic, Stories, Volunteer, Worship

Keri Whitson
Often surrounded by some of the worst circumstances in society, Oklahoma City Police Officer Keri Whitson was at an all-time low emotionally. Discovering Crossings provided Keri with a sense of connection and belonging. Today, serving others has taken on a whole new meaning in her life.

Finding Her Way

I first experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in 1999. I did not grow up in church but had attended some with friends in high school. I believed in God but had never accepted Jesus into my heart. In the fall of 1999, I was experiencing some difficult times at work. I am an Oklahoma City police officer, and I often see the worst in society and deal with people who generally are not happy to see me. I was sad, confused, and a little lost. I even thought of leaving my job. I began experiencing a feeling, a presence, that I never had before. I immediately knew what I needed in my life. I was led to a small Methodist church and met with the pastor. I broke down in tears and asked him to pray for me. He did, and I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior that day. I was baptized several weeks later.

God is great! He saved me when it was my job to save others.

For several years, I was dedicated to reading my Bible and participating in Bible studies at church. Steve and I got married, and we soon discovered we needed a bigger church with more opportunities to serve. For years, we searched for a church where we felt like we belonged and could get plugged in. I felt myself drifting away from God. One Sunday afternoon, while eating lunch, we began discussing church. I explained to Steve that I was not enjoying where we were currently attending and wanted to try yet another church. Steve felt the same. We both thought of Crossings and agreed to give it a try. On a Sunday morning in December 2010, we attended the 9:30 Sanctuary service. I was hooked immediately! I felt God’s presence and instantly knew I belonged. We have been attending ever since.

We participated in the Connecting with Crossingsclass soon after where we met David and Xuan Gibson. They helped us find a Sunday School class, and we have never been happier.

Committed to Faith

Since that time, I have felt a greater need to serve and show my love for Jesus Christ. I am always looking for ways to volunteer around the church and at the clinic. I am more committed than ever to studying God’s Word, and I love attending Monday morning Women’s Bible Study. I am so committed to my faith and love of God that I wanted to be baptized again. In May, I was baptized again by my friend, David Gibson. I am so thankful for my church family. I have made so many dear friends who are always by my side, willing to listen and pray for me.

Needless to say, I did not leave my job. I have faithfully served the citizens of Oklahoma City for over 15 years.

“To Serve and Protect” originally published by Keri Whitson, Crossings member, in the Fall 2012 edition of Crossings magazine.

Stephanie and Chico Rogers

Giving Generously

By | about us & resources, adults, Help & Support, I'm New, media center, Missions, Stories, Volunteer, Worship

Stephanie and Chico Rogers

Interview by Cheri Weaver, Pastor of Volunteer Ministry

In what areas of Crossings have you been generous to volunteer your time and God- given talents?

Stephanie: I began volunteering in Children’s Ministry by decorating for special events. Our family has helped with the Fall Festival for many years, and this past spring, we served on the disaster relief team in Moore. Next, we look forward to helping build a Habitat for Humanity house with Crossings.

Where have you seen generosity displayed at Crossings?

Stephanie: People get so excited to pick up backpacks to fill for the children in our inner-city partner schools. I mean, you have to stand in line to get a backpack, and then the church runs out! Last year, when we saw all the backpacks filled and returned, the enormous pile was stunning. When we think about Wednesday night dinner, we think, “Without the volunteers, dinner wouldn’t happen.” It takes a lot of people.

Chico: Before I began attending Crossings, I knew it had a reputation of generosity in the community. The church gives to those who are in need, and it is incredible.

Explain how the Lord is personally speaking to you now to lead in Volunteer Ministry.

Chico: Our family has been very blessed, and we are fortunate. This was the perfect time to come across volunteer opportunities, and we are ready to give back. We know God wants us to participate at Crossings, and we want our children to understand we are not supposed to just collect items and give money, but we need to give our time as well. It takes more than your checkbook, and in fact, it is harder to pull up your sleeves than write a check. We need both.

The development of a Volunteer Ministry will help people understand where to go and get a jump start to become involved in the life of the church through volunteering. This came at a great time—It is God’s timing. I’ve been thinking about where I could plug in; helping other people find a place to volunteer is the perfect fit for me.

How does the Lord bless you through volunteering?

Stephanie: I’ve enjoyed all the people I’ve met through volunteering. It makes this large church feel small, and I’ve met a lot of really nice people. In volunteering there is meaning, and it makes me feel like I’m making a difference in the lives of others. I want to make a contribution!

Chico: We don’t want to depend on others. We want to be involved and use our talents and time. There is more to church than worship, and volunteering helps me develop a better relationship with God.

If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:8)

“Giving Generously” originally published by Cheri Weaver, Pastor of Volunteer Ministry, in the Winter 2013 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Need + Love & Action = Generosity

Need + Love and Action = Generosity

By | about us & resources, adults, children & students, Crossings Students, Missions, Stories, Volunteer

Need + Love & Action = Generosity
By Melissa Hiett, Pastor of High School Girls

Jesus-Generosity

Generosity can come in many forms, but the greatest is what I call “Jesus-Generosity.” This looks different from any other type of benevolence because it doesn’t give to feel good nor does it give just
to be kind. It gives to love. Anyone can be generous, but as Christians we must desire to give like Jesus did. In the Gospel of John, Jesus performs His first miraculous sign in an unexpected act of generosity. The well-known story of Jesus turning water into wine is an interesting example of seeing a need and acting upon it. Jesus walked away from the wedding without any of the wedding guests knowing about this miracle. When I think of what it looks like to be generous like Jesus, I think of this equation: Need + Love & Action = Generosity.

Last Christmas, Crossings High School Ministry found ourselves in a similar situation. We were not at a wedding and we didn’t do anything miraculous, but we saw a need and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet that need. Something extraordinary happens when you get a group of high school students together and give them a challenge straight from the heart. If you allow them to love on someone in need and bring a smile to a face, they will rise to the occasion every time. So that is exactly what we did. HSM has been consistently involved in partnering with a local organization called The Genesis Project—a place for young boys who are in the foster care program but can’t be placed into a home because of abuse. Each year, HSM hosts a Christmas party for the children, as well as visiting the Genesis House on occasion just to play and spend time with the boys. We also try to take them on a field trip to the Zoo or Science Museum each year.

Accepting the Challenge

While visiting last year, we discovered a need we couldn’t ignore. We noticed the boys were taking turns riding bikes that were in terrible shape. You see, these boys don’t have the privilege of going to a public school or spending the night at a friend’s house; they spend all of their time at the Genesis House—and playing outside is the highlight of their week. We wanted to make that highlight just a little bit brighter for them. We wanted them to play and laugh and have fun outside just like every little boy should. After talking to the Genesis House staff, we discovered that many of the boys had asked for bikes for Christmas!

We rallied our students and challenged them to raise enough money to purchase every boy a new bike and helmet. Then we got to see our students rise above our challenge! We needed 16 bikes to fulfill the Christmas wish. After just a few weeks of collecting funds, we had enough money to purchase 20 bikes and helmets! This allowed the Genesis House to store new bikes for incoming boys who would be entering their program. Like Jesus, our students were able to walk away knowing they had met a need with none of the boys knowing who had delivered the bikes. Our students felt wonderful about being able to do such a thing, but by no means did the feelings drive them to give. The students were compelled by a great desire to fill a need, which was birthed out of love for those boys. HSM delivered much more than bikes that day!

Finding A Need

It wasn’t about the money or the gift; it was about seeing a need and acting upon it. It was about being bighearted and putting other people’s needs before our own. It was about striving to be just a little bit more like Jesus Christ and remembering the words He spoke in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In HSM, we can now count this verse to be tried and true! May you find yourself with eyes like Christ looking out at a world full of need, with a heart that desires to be like our Lord. What need do you see?

Need + Love & Action = Generosity.

“Need + Love & Action = Generosity” originally published by Melissa Hiett, Pastor of High School Girls, in the Winter 2013 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Doing the Possible

Doing the Possible

By | adults, children & students, Crossings Students, Missions, Stories, Volunteer

Doing the PossibleWritten by Donnie Peslis, Pastor of Middle School Ministry

Giving Back

When Crossings Middle School Ministry (MSM) isn’t sumo wrestling, eating pizza, or learning about the Lord, we love to give back! For three days, students head out into the heart of the city to make a difference through acts of service on MSM’s Spring Break Mission project.

Working with local organizations in the downtown area such as Water4, The Spero Project, Regional Food Bank, City Rescue Mission, and many more, students are shown first-hand that mission trips don’t just mean going overseas. These projects also help show students the different ways in which they can serve—from stocking shelves at the food pantry to cleaning to building relationships with those who just need to talk to someone.

Last year, the MSM staff and three (very brave) parent volunteers joined our 40 students on this awesome adventure in the downtown OKC area. Xuan Gibson, mother of now eighth grader Kali, joined MSM as a volunteer and loved seeing the kids in their element.

I enjoyed seeing the kids have fun; seeing how they just jumped right in and didn’t have to be asked was great.

While the goal of the trip is to minister to the students and those we serve, the trip also had an unexpected impact on her. “We went to a place called The Refuge in downtown Oklahoma City. A family who decided to sell everything and move to the area to minister started the organization. It was incredible seeing people with such courage and faith right here in our own backyard. It really showed all of us how big God is.”

As MSM continues to serve, our hope is that you would join us in prayer over this journey. Pray God works in the hearts of the students going, and they are shown the impact serving others can make. These students are seeking to make an impact locally in the name of the Lord, but we pray the impact is made far beyond just their work. Pray with us that these students “doing the possible” will allow God to do the impossible in our community.

“Doing the Possible” originally published by Donnie Peslis, Pastor of Middle School Ministry, in the Winter 2013 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Shingleton Family

Being Transparent

By | about us & resources, adults, Stories, Volunteer

Shingleton Family

Written by Rachel Shingleton, Crossings Member

Getting Real About Marriage

When Ron Mahn and Shari Murphy approached Simon and me about helping them in the Becoming One class, we wrestled with it a bit. Being asked to participate somehow suggests you’ve got it all together or that you’re an expert at something. (Insert photo of me doubling over in laughter here.) And while we can unequivocally say we hardly have everything together, we both feel passionately about getting real about marriage.

Simon and I were married in 2005. When I look at our happy faces smiling back from our wedding photos, I often think how I want to say to those two people, “You have no idea what’s coming!” The first four years of our marriage were a crazy roller coaster of chronic illness, a premature baby, death of family members, serious surgeries, and a total career change for my husband. In other words, any expectations I might have had on what our lives were going to look like were completely blown away. Within nine months of being married, I was diagnosed with a serious chronic illness, ulcerative colitis, at the age of 25. That whole “in sickness and in health” part of our vows was about to get real.

Shattered Expectations

At the height of my illness, I was taking 21 pills a day to manage my disease. My expectations for early marriage had completely gone down the tubes. I struggled enormously with guilt over being sick all the time and worried that I was unfairly burdening my new husband with something he hadn’t signed up for. I was struggling to manage my stress, which only exacerbated the crazy cycle, and on top of the health issues, I was also newly pregnant. Jude was born in October 2007 at 33 weeks of pregnancy, and I quickly spiraled downwards with postpartum depression. I felt like my world had completely fallen apart. The turning point for us was getting help through an amazing family counselor and doing the hard emotional work of therapy.

Answered Prayers

Within a few years, my disease was completely out of control. I had run out of options with medication, and my only choice was to have my colon removed. In December 2009, I had my first of two surgeries at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota—a total leap of faith. We were scared to death, neither one of us knowing what to expect or if my quality of life would really be improved. Three months later, we went back for the second surgery in what turned out to be a victorious return to the Mayo Clinic. In the three months since that initial surgery, I began to feel what it was like to be healthy again; my life was given back to me. I had been sick for so long that I had forgotten what it was like to feel good. Through trial by fire, I was healed of my disease. I went from 21 pills a day to zero pills, which still amazes me now four years later.

In the years since that surgery, God has blessed our lives in untold ways. I wouldn’t trade those trials from our early marriage for anything; we’ve learned that we truly can do hard things.

Learning to Be Transparent

I think we can boil down our M.O. as a couple to this: we believe strongly in the power of transparency. There are far too many people who go through hard experiences thinking, “No one ever told me it would be like this.” I was one of them! It’s paralyzing, alienating, and really lonely. But odds are, you’re not the only person who’s ever experienced your particular hardship. And I refuse to keep the lid on the hard things of my life just because they’re not pretty or they’re hard to talk about. Everybody’s got issues.

And that’s what I really love about serving in the Becoming One class. There’s a generosity through transparency that is happening in this class—it’s blowing the lid off any myths about marriage and helping couples prepare for their lives together. It’s the willingness to say, “I can be honest and real about this with you because I know there’s a benefit to it.” Simon and I are honored to be a part of it, and I can’t wait to see what grows out of this.

“Being Transparent” originally published in the Winter 2013 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Crossings Members Stacy and Kyle Williams

A Servant’s Heart

By | about us & resources, adults, children & students, Contemporary, Help & Support, Stories, Volunteer, Women

Crossings Members Stacy and Kyle Williams

Children’s Ministry volunteer Stacy Williams shares about her passion to serve and how God works in her life through volunteering.

In what areas have you volunteered in Children’s Ministry?

When my children were younger, I volunteered in Nursery Ministry. In the past three years, I’ve volunteered as a second hour Sunday School teacher and/or Volunteer Coordinator. I’ve served during Vacation Bible School and during the Single Moms Conference as well.

How does volunteering help you feel more connected at Crossings?

Volunteering gives me a sense of community. Crossings is a big place—it’s actually bigger than my hometown of Pawhuska. Through volunteering, I have built many relationships with others. I’m amazed at how many Crossings members I know because of volunteering over the years in Children’s Ministry, greeting and ushering, Women’s Ministry, and Mom’s Group. In Children’s Ministry for example, I pray for my Sunday School leaders and students. Praying for others definitely connects me with them on a deeper level.

In what ways are you utilizing your spiritual gifts through volunteering?

Years ago, in the Foundations Sunday School class, we did a study on spiritual gifts called Network. My spiritual gifts are hospitality, teaching, leading, and intercession. This year, I am able to put all of my spiritual gifts into play. I’m a Volunteer Coordinator; therefore, using my gift of leading. I also teach a second grade boy’s class, so I get to use my gift of teaching every week. In addition, I get to use my gift of intercession by praying for my team and students. As for my gift of hospitality, I serve as hospitality coordinator at my son’s school.

What do you feel your children are learning through watching you serve?

Kyle and I have two children: Claire and Austin. Serving has been ingrained in them, just as it was with me as I grew
up watching my parents serve. I want our children to grow up loving the Lord, and I want them to see that love put into action through serving. They’ve already learned to greet and serve as ushers—they help Kyle and me in the 9:30 Venue service. It warms my heart each week to see them smile and welcome people to church.

Explain how the Lord is leading you now to continue to volunteer in Children’s Ministry.

Through prayer, I ask God where I can best be used for His Kingdom. As a former teacher, teaching is a passion of mine. There are always needs in Children’s Ministry, and I know that full well because one of my responsibilities is to recruit children’s leaders. I can have a great impact on tender hearts. I’m blessed by showing up each week and letting God use me to plant seeds into the hearts of the precious children I serve.

How has God blessed you through your service?

I have been showered with blessings through volunteering at Crossings. When a child is baptized, my heart is overjoyed. When our second grade boys sang the Old Testament aloud in large group a few weeks ago, I was so proud. When the Holy Spirit speaks through me as I teach the Bible lesson in Vacation Bible School to a roomful of 100+ students (where you can hear a pin drop because they are intensely tuned in to God’s Word) … there just isn’t any better feeling than that. Following God’s calling through volunteering is greatly satisfying!

“A Servant’s Heart” originally published by Jennifer Bardell, Director of Children’s Ministry, in the 2014 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Mark Hollingsworth and MSM boys

Paying it Forward

By | adults, children & students, Crossings Students, Stories, Volunteer

Mark Hollingsworth and MSM boysWritten by Donnie Peslis, Pastor of Middle School Ministry

In Middle School Ministry (MSM), we are the first to admit we can’t do it all on our own, and that’s why we’re so thankful for our amazing volunteers! I sat down with one of our small group coaches, Mark Hollingsworth, and talked to him about what brought him to MSM and what convinced him to stick around!

How long have you been a volunteer with MSM?

At the end of this semester, it will be two and a half years.

What led you to volunteer on the third floor?

God had been leading me towards volunteering for a while. My best friend is actually the man who was my junior high small group leader. He started with us when we were in 7th grade and made a huge impact on me then—and still does to this day. I realized it was time for me to do the same. I wanted to make an impact.

What have you learned through your time volunteering?

It’s harder than it looks! But, in all seriousness, it’s been a great experience. Once I started investing in the guys, I was amazed at how much I enjoyed seeing their growth.

Has it taught you anything about yourself?

Well, as you teach others, you really begin to learn about yourself. Leading has really shown me how frail we all are. I came in expecting to teach the students, but I’ve been amazed by all of the times they’ve taught me something. We never really stop learning!

How has it helped your personal growth?

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Leading in MSM has allowed that verse to become real for me.

Any last words for the readers?

These students just need someone to pour into them! I’m so thankful I’ve had the opportunity to do that! Also, go buy Southern Okie Gourmet Apple Spread in the Crossings Bookstore! (I told my wife I’d put a plug in for her!)

We are so thankful for Mark and all he brings to the MSM team! Leaders like Mark make a lasting impact on students’ lives for the Lord! If you have any interest in volunteering in Middle School Ministry, we would love to talk to you! Stop by Volunteer Central any Sunday or Wednesday to get started!

Leading has shown me how frail we all are … We never really stop learning!

“Paying It Forward” originally published by Donnie Peslis, Pastor of Middle School Ministry, in the Spring 2014 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Just Jump In

Just Jump In!

By | about us & resources, adults, children & students, Clinic, Help & Support, Missions, Stories, Volunteer, Women

Just Jump In
I drive by the location of our new Community Center and Clinic every day to check on the progress of our new facility, and it brings back many childhood memories. I grew up in the Village and we looked forward, with great anticipation, to the summer time when all the neighborhood kids would walk up to the Village Pool and spend the day. As I looked around, people were on the high dive, the low dive, the shallow end. Some were dangling their feet in the pool, some were reading under the umbrella and others were hanging around the concession stand. While “everybody” went to the pool, the part of the pool they enjoyed or spent their time was different. Years after the pool closed, I realized that at some point, we have to be active; we have to take the initiative and “just jump in” to experience the fun and the rush.

The Bible contains a similar kind of principle for us in Psalm 34:8. It simply says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Enjoy how some of your Crossings brothers and sisters have decided to “jump in” and are “tasting” and experiencing the full goodness of God through their service in our local community.

Disaster Response Team

  • I would have to say the entire trajectory of my life has changed as a result of volunteering … everything from the things I value most to the people I enjoy spending time with to the priorities in my life … I really feel like I am a different person. —Debe Allen (Disaster Response Team, Clinic)

Whiz Kids

  • Through volunteering, I have learned to rely on God for His strength and wisdom and not my own. I have learned to ask for His words and not rely on my own words. God is the ultimate compassionate volunteer who I feel walks beside me. Volunteering has made me realize God is everywhere, even in the smallest details, if I only look. —Kay Tangner, Whiz Kids Tutor
  • My life is full of joy in helping mentor and improve the reading skills of my student through Whiz Kids. I believe we become our best when we are serving others and have the chance to demonstrate the love of Jesus. —Howard Hunt

The Clinic

  • One of the great things about serving at Crossings Community Clinic is the opportunity to pray with my patients without worrying about institutional guidelines or someone looking over my shoulder. Taking a few minutes to get a sense of where the patients are emotionally and spiritually is really worth it to offer a meaningful prayer that meets them where they are. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to figure that out, and I may offer a fairly generic prayer and wonder if I really did anything useful. Occasionally in those circumstances, I have been profoundly impacted when that same patient will ask to pray for me. That patient, who does not know me personally or any of the details in my life, will then ask for the Lord’s help for me in a particular area with which I am struggling at that very time. So God Himself is ministering to me directly through the person I am ministering to myself. It is a great faith-builder to see how He is always in control and continually blesses me in ways I cannot comprehend and often cannot see. —R. Michael Siatkowski, MD
  • Volunteering in the medicine room at the Clinic has given me the opportunity to know more people who need prayer, and it has deepened my joy in praying for others. —Louanne Trueblood

Community of Faith

  • God brought four amazing Rwandan students into our life at Crossings one Sunday four years ago. Before that encounter, I viewed volunteering as a “when I feel like it” duty if I found the “perfect” time and place to volunteer … so we kept asking (and delaying) but never serving. However, once we got our hands dirty, God began a transforming work in our lives. As a host home to the Rwandan college students, I began to see others rather than focusing exclusively on me. Contrary to public opinion, you are not committing the rest of your life, but for my family, everything changed once we committed to something that required an ongoing sacrifice. —Alan Spies
  • Through volunteering, I feel like God has blessed me with an inner joy that has made me want to be closer to Him and love Him even more. This joy has made me want to listen, follow and serve Him so others can see Him through me. My first opportunity to serve was 21⁄2 years ago serving lunch to the homeless at Community of Faith. I’m still doing that, and I absolutely love it. I am so glad Crossings has so many opportunities for serving! —Camille Glasshof
  • Volunteering as a teacher-partner with one of our inner-city school partners makes me feel like I’m doing a small part of God’s work here on earth. It is fulfilling, and through it, God has shown me that my time and effort spent volunteering reaps many more benefits than pursuing my selfish motivations ever could. —Stacy Townsdin
  • Volunteering with formerly incarcerated women at the Hope House has resulted in the receipt of letters, emails, texts and new friendships. When I began volunteering, I had no idea I would soon become a widow. However, God makes provisions for our need even before the need exists. Imagine what a blessing it was that my sudden loneliness was helped by the letters I received from my pen pals. I’ve become so much more aware of God’s mercy and grace toward me and have grown in my desire to express that same mercy and grace to others. —Julie Blevins

Eugene Field

  • I serve with the art teacher at Eugene Field. She has been going through so much personally this year; over and over, I keep seeing how God’s power is made perfect in her weakness. She has lots of kids crammed into a room with little to no resources, yet from her teaching, these kids are really getting exposed to great art … both learning about it and creating it themselves. Just to see the students’ faces as they excel in their artwork and like what they are creating has been so cool. I love how it isn’t dependent on the supplies, the space she uses for her room or her lack of patience … God can do anything He chooses wherever He chooses to do it. I thought I’d be so much help to her, but in reality, she amazes me in all she is able to accomplish with so little. God’s power is made perfect in my weakness, too, and getting to work with Donna this year has shown me that the only real stumbling block in my being used for eternal purposes is me. So if I am obedient and willing, He will use me, and ultimately that is what I long for… that and a sense of His presence in my day-to-day life. Thanks for this great connection! Loving art with kids at Eugene Field. —Stacey Allen
  • We worked for years to get to the place where we could retire and work for free, and we found true wealth. Through working with children in the inner-city, we have been made aware of MANY THINGS we take for granted. At Thanksgiving, we discovered 23 of our 26 students had never had pumpkin pie! Ed told them it was the best vegetable they’d ever eat! Supporting teachers with prayer and presence filters down as HOPE to children who would otherwise be hopeless. We initially wondered if we were “qualified” to work with kids … it turned out we had attention & kindness to give, and it was exactly what they needed most. —Ed & Allie Frankfurt

The Club

  • I have volunteered at The Club for five years. This afterschool program at Crossings Community Center serves middle and high school students from John Marshall. Every year, I see myself growing in my faith through sharing it with the students in my small group. My love for them grows along with my sense of purpose and blessing from God. This year, I am mentoring a single student outside The Club time, and it is such a precious relationship! I truly feel God is working in me as much as He is allowing me to touch the lives of these students! —Lisa Gilbert
  • I have a passion for kids who, through no fault of their own, are growing up in an environment that puts them “behind the 8-ball” in this world. I began addressing this passion years ago with the semi-conscious idea that I was doing it to make up for the bad things I have done. However, through the volunteers who have entered my life (Sunday School teachers, Men’s Bible study leaders and Crossings’ pastors), I now understand, CONSCIOUSLY and with eyes-wide-open, I can’t possibly do enough to make up for my past wrongs. I learned grace. THAT … has led me to volunteer more passionately than ever before! —Steve Kalmeyer, The Club Inner-City Small Group Leader

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

“Just Jump In!” originally published by Pam Millington, Pastor of Missions and Outreach at Crossings, in the Spring 2014 edition of Crossings Magazine.