Crossings Students

Sam for HS

CS Kingdom Worker Highlights: Sam Carter

By | Crossings Students, Stories

Sam for HS

Sam is a leader. There is no question about that. But he didn’t always use his leadership for the Lord. Over the past few months Sam has taken ahold of his own faith. He now pursues Jesus in his own life by reading his Bible every night and journaling his prayers.

Sam recently decided to start a Bible study group for his friends in his home and uses what God shows him through his own Bible reading to teach others about who Jesus is to them.

Sam went with the Crossings Students 78 team on the local Spring Break mission trip this year. When asked how the trip impacted him, Sam responded:

[blockquote]When I was working I felt great. It gave me even more of a connection with God than ever. It didn’t feel like normal work. I wasn’t thinking I have to do this, I was thinking I want to do this. [this trip] brought us all together more than any other activity I’ve ever done with a group.[/blockquote]

Check out other Crossings Students Kingdom Worker Highlights and other stories right here!

CS Kingdom Worker Highlights: Emmy Holland

By | Crossings Students, Stories

Emmy-and-Mel-HiettWritten by Mel Hiett following the Crossing Students Nashville Mission Trip

I have always known that God is a creative and sneaky orchestrator. This Spring Break I watched as an incredible production played out right in front of my eyes and all I could write in my journal was, “Dear God, You are so wild and perfect!”

This story starts all the way back in the summer of 2011. It was my first summer here at Crossings and I was taking a group of High Schoolers to Nashville Tennessee to partner with a ministry called Center for Student Missions (CSM) for a week long mission trip. On this trip there was a sophomore girl named Emmy Holland who fell in love with Nashville and CSM.

Fast forward to Spring Break 2016, Emmy is now a junior at OSU and I find myself again on a 13 hour charter bus ride full of High School students headed to Nashville to work with CSM. I was honored to find out that Emmy was working for CSM over Spring Break and was going to be our host for the week!

Emmy and I spent the week driving students around Nashville; serving the homeless, building a playground, and working in food pantries. Emmy and I also spent the week reminiscing and talking about the crazy journey that brought us back together for such a time as this.

On the second night of our trip Emmy shared her story with our students and urged them to be rooted deeply in their community here at Crossings and to never take for granted the small things God is showing them. Emmy poured out of her heart what the Lord had been showing her with a smile on her face.

[blockquote]It’s fun to look back and see how God was weaving together friendships when I was completely unaware! Crossings does a really good job focusing on the importance of serving or giving back. I always think about how much of an impact the trip to Nashville in 2011 made on me because that’s where I saw what joy I received when I served other people wholeheartedly. -Emmy[/blockquote]

The students sat there listening to someone just steps ahead of them with open ears. I sat frozen in the front row fighting back tears and struggling to swallow. (Transparency: I’m not one of those people that find joy in crying. I would rather eat applesauce, and I hate applesauce.)

It hit me right there in that moment, I saw it. I saw exactly what God was up to. I realized all the small things that had happened led up to that very moment in that hot little chapel in a 105 year old church in East Nashville (Tip: East Nashville is not the part of Nashville where you want to spend your vacation!) As I sat there watching a former student speak into the lives of my current students, I was overwhelmed with the way God was orchestrating the situation. In that very moment I couldn’t help but be selfish about it. In that moment it was about me and for me. I needed that. I needed to see fruit and experience a journey with a student that didn’t stop in August when she left for college. Emmy will forever be my favorite fruit!

While I know that the Lord was doing big things in Emmy’s life that week and I am still hearing about what He was doing in our students lives, I will forever be grateful for him considering me in the midst of all of His workings! God is an incredible multi-tasking orchestrator! If you watch closely you fill find Him working out small details along the way for His big reveal! Make sure you find yourself present while setting back and watching Him do what He does best, he might be whispering your name.

Check out other Crossings Students stories right here!

CS Kingdom Worker Highlights: Trey Murphy

By | Crossings Students, Stories

trey-murphyWritten by Josiah Hass, Crossings Students High School Pastor

This is Trey, and Trey is proof that everyone desires to be invited into community.

Trey has been around Crossings for quite some time. He’s what we affectionately refer to as a “staff kid.” Trey’s mom works at Crossings, and his older sister Myah graduated last year and moved on from high school and Crossings Students. Myah found her place in Crossings Students and spent a lot of time with us. But Myah’s connection to Crossings Students didn’t automatically mean Trey would find his place with us. We saw him at Crossings Students services and events occasionally, but this hadn’t become HIS community.

Sophomore year was well underway and we weren’t seeing much of Trey, so we invited him to go see a “haunted trail” a local school set up to have a little Halloween fun. The night wasn’t extravagant, but it was intentional. That night we came to know Trey as more than Myah’s brother or Shari’s son.

In March we invited Trey to spend a week with us in Nashville over spring break and he loved like Jesus and found new community and friends. We were reminiscing with him over lunch recently about how the last nine or ten months have unfolded. He was talking about the Nashville trip and his small group and the girl he thinks is cute (don’t tell him I told you), and then he said “You know, I can’t believe I ever stopped coming to 6TEN in the first place.”

Trey was around, but he needed someone to tell him he belongs. So we told him, and then Trey showed up and let Jesus do the rest.

Asher Hume for Web

CS Kingdom Worker Highlights: Asher

By | Crossings Students, Stories

Asher Hume for WebWritten by Jason White following the Crossing Students Nashville Mission Trip

I had the privilege of having Asher Hume in my group during our Nashville Mission Trip. From the outset, Asher can come across as a quiet and reserved person. The more time you spend with him the more you get to know that he is funny, likes great music and is a great athlete. Asher was really pushed out of his comfort zone a few times on our trip, which was a part of the goal.

For instance, our groups were separated and tasked with walking in Downtown Nashville. Our goal was to engage and converse with the homeless of the city. One woman in a wheelchair had an encounter with our group and gave a personal story about her son who was about to go to jail for drugs and other illegal activity. When they asked to pray for her she said “yes,” but demanded Asher pray for her by saying “I want YOU to pray for me- you’ve been quiet.”

I know it pushed him out of his comfort zone and later that day when we recapped our experience; he had the most to say out of the group. It was so encouraging to see him mature even in the small amount of time we were there. Asher was a hard worker and a good teammate during the week. I appreciated his willingness to be uncomfortable and allow God to use him and grow him. He was appreciative of being a part of this trip and had this to say:

[blockquote]It brought me out of my comfort zone a lot more. I talked with strangers in need and learned how to serve better.[/blockquote]

Asher started coming around when we would play basketball on Sunday nights after 6TEN. He then brought friends who then began to attend our High School Services and later they all signed up for our Nashville Mission Trip. It was a great week and we hope for many more. We can’t wait to see what God does through Asher’s life.

Learn more about Crossings Students, check out upcoming events, and connect with us right here!

Books We Recommend: Parenting Beyond Your Capacity

By | Crossings Students, Stories


You, as parents, have so many demands on your time that you find yourself not being the kind of parent you desire to be. You need to know the Orange Factor: Two combined influences will make a greater impact on kids than just two influences. And it’s true. Partnering with the Church is the best way to help the next generation enter on Christ and find their part in the Kingdom work being done around us.

Rolling Up Sleeves

Train Your Student to Win Against Sin

By | Crossings Students, Stories

Rolling Up SleevesWritten by Mel Hiett, Crossings Students Pastor/High School

We left you a few weeks ago pondering the thoughts of handling sin correctly in your home. We hope you have begun the process of really evaluating the role you play in your student’s walk with Christ. We must first recognize the significance our words and actions play in their lives and then take action. We want to help you with that and continue the conversation on handling sin.

A few weeks ago, my 13-year-old told me that he wanted a grilled cheese sandwich. I set out the ingredients needed to make it and said go for it. (Are you feeling tempted to judge me here? Well, please don’t; it was late after a long Sunday here at the church and my tank was on E. Teach a man to fish, am I right?! ) He looked at the food on the counter and then back at me with a confused look on his face and said, “What do I do now?”

I sat down at the table and said, “I bet you can figure it out.” Seconds later, a little voice from the other room yelled out, “Mom, that is terrible parenting; help that kid!” That, ladies and gentlemen, was my outspoken and precocious 7-year-old.

Less than 10 minutes later, both of my boys were eating grilled cheese without any help from their tired momma. They figured it out. They took the supplies they had and put their heads together, and I watched as they worked together and then with pride they ate “the best grilled cheese ever made.”

I’m going to try this attempt again, but with you. I want to set some things out on the table for you, believe in you, and then sit back and watch you pull it all together and succeed. But for you and me, it’s not a grilled cheese, it’s much more.

It is the student the Lord has entrusted to you.

Here are your ingredients:

This is a warship not a cruise ship. Fight.

I find myself saying this statement often, because I truly believe it. If you are a parent, you must realize you are on a warship, not a cruise ship. This is not the time to sit back and watch the tides go by hoping your next destination will be beautiful. This is a time for training and preparation and diligence on your part.

With every fiber inside of your body, you must find the strength to stand against settling during this time.

Fight for your children.

Prepare them for what will come when they step into the world on their own.

Question their character, speak life into it, and show them what it looks like to consider Christ with everything they do.

But, more than anything, know what lies ahead for them. They will find themselves in a war battling for their hearts, beliefs and identity. The training you are doing with them now, while they are in your home, will either prepare or confuse their endurance in the future. Dear parent, fight.

There is a sin issue. Acknowledge it.

It’s time we take a step back and look at this situation a little differently. There is a sin issue and we must acknowledge it. Our children have an enemy waiting for them to stumble. If you need some help stirring your heart up about this one, I have an idea for you.

Put your student’s name in the blank below:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for __________________to devour.

That is 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV). It usually says “somebody” in that blank. But I need you to read it with your student’s name it. I need you to recognize this is real, personal, and serious. Dear parent, acknowledge.

You have no choice. Roll up your sleeves.

This picture above was taken during a shooter simulation drill at a middle school. It was posted by a participant and stated that this was an uncommon thing to see. He said “Train your children to WIN instead of huddling together in a room and hoping nothing bad happens.”

I read this statement and looked at this picture with a heavy heart. What a great lesson to parents who follow Christ. We need to take this statement and adjust it like so: “Train your children to OVERCOME SIN instead of hoping nothing bad happens.” God has not only given you these children He has entrusted you with them. They are yours because He said they are, because He trusts that you will raise them up to be Kingdom Workers who are about their Father’s business.

Don’t you dare forget who gave them to you. Don’t get distracted. Don’t compromise. But more than anything, Dear parents, roll up your sleeves.

There you have it. Your ingredients to “training up your child.” I can’t do this for you or even tell you exactly how it’s done. You know your child better than anyone else. Take some time. Prepare. Plan. Listen. Observe and then do it.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart form it. Proverbs 22:6

Mel Hiett
Crossings Students Pastor/High School

Are You Exiling Your Student?

By | Crossings Students, Stories

Exiling-Your-StudentWritten by Melissa Hiett, Crossings Students Pastor / High School

My six year old recently informed me that sometimes he likes to break rules because it just gives him a good feeling inside. One side of me was fearful of my future with this rule-breaker but the other side of me took a deep breath and just smiled, because I can relate. My personal experience and understanding of the rebel heart has caused me to keep rules to a minimum in my home. Now, don’t start thinking that I run a circus or anything.

It looks like this:

  • Treat others the way you want to be treated
  • Always say you are sorry
  • Be quick to forgive
  • Please flush the toilet (twice if you have to)
  • and Your sin is welcome here.

Wait! What? “Sin is welcome here” is a house rule of yours? Yes. Let me explain.

I firmly believe that the way we handle sin as parents is a huge barometer of how our children will experience sin. Going on over 33 years experience as a sinner, over 12 years in student ministry and with my 12 and 6 year old (I would like to think that I have a combined 18 years of experience as a parent) I have found that it is imperative for my home to be “sin friendly.”

Hear me out. We will not tolerate sin in my home but at the same time we will not act like it doesn’t exist. We will acknowledge that it does exist in every heart that walks through our doors and even more in the hearts of those that rest their heads in this home. The way we talk about sin in our homes can greatly affect the way sin is handled in the hearts of our children. If I, as a mother, am constantly talking about the nastiness and shamefulness of others sin then I am afraid I have clearly stated that sin is not welcomed in my home, which means that my boys are not welcomed here either.

We all experience sin (Psalm 51:5, Romans 5:12) and the moment my boys realize that it is deep inside of them trying desperately to devour their lives (1 Peter 1:5) then I want them to feel at home. I want them to come home with their sin and talk about it, struggle with it and overcome it with me, their warrior momma, by their side. Let’s not press forward creating exiles out of our children who are battling with sin in them and around them.

Parents, I urge you, please be very careful about the way you talk about sin in your home. Be vigilant about not making it a monster or a disease, make it a heart issue and a debt that has already been paid by our redeemer (Matthew 20:28). Make it a battle you are willing to fight personally and parentally. In essence we, as Christian parents, should be saying “I am fully aware of sin because it also entangles me and I will not love you less when you stumble, but I will fight stronger for your heart.”

That, my friends, is why sin is welcome in my home and I pray that it is welcome in yours as well, for your students’ sake.

Melissa Hiett
Crossings Students Pastor/High School

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


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.

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!

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.