Hundreds of volunteers, students, and staff gathered to celebrate the meaning of Christmas with parties, gifts, and time together. Children from our inner-city school partners, including Eugene Field Elementary, Stan Hupfeld Elementary, SeeWorth Academy, The Club at Crossings, Whiz Kids students from Capitol Hill Elementary, and Sunset Elementary, enjoyed special time with volunteers, their teachers, and their friends during each of the parties held during the month of December.
Our global outreach trip to Roatan, Honduras this February was a blast! Crossings women partnered with missionary Deborah Hunnicutt to serve the community and exchange cultural practices with local women. Take a look at some highlights from this trip in the video and photo gallery below!
Want to learn more about missions and global outreach at Crossings? Visit our Missions page!
Getting Back to Their Roots
No one would have ever dreamed that two Freshman Follies performers would now be so very active in church and loving every minute of it! Danielle and Jacob Pasby met at an event put on by the Oklahoma State University freshmen called Freshman Follies. They began dating, fell in love and married, and five and a half years later, they have two boys. Shaffer is 3 1/2 years old, and Hunter is 1 year old.
Danielle grew up in Oklahoma City and received her teaching degree from Oklahoma State University. She taught for 5 years, but now stays home with their children. Jacob grew up in Elk City, Oklahoma and was fairly active in his Methodist church, but really didn’t attend church at OSU. He is now a CPA for a small oil and gas company. Once they decided to have children, they felt it was necessary to get back into church like many of young couples who were raised in church.
They began attending another local church but never got plugged in. Danielle said, “My stepmom, Nicole McConnell, was active in teaching children’s Sunday School and Vacation Bible School at Crossings and got Shaffer in the Mother’s Day Out program.” For 3 years, the Pasbys worshipped in the Venue with her family, but considered themselves fence sitters. “That was all we did”, said Jacob, “but now we’re 100% plugged in!”
Danielle and Jacob look forward each week to the Young Married Sunday School class taught by Laura and Terry Feix. They also attend a small group that meets on Wednesday evenings led by the Cartwrights. They met this group through the Centered group they attended last fall. “We used a workbook that had weekly topics. The study made us dive deeply into ourselves and the relationships we form,” said Jacob.
The Pasbys have learned to make church a priority through this study. They remember Marty Grubbs instructing the class participants to “stay in the Centered class until the end, even when you don’t feel like you have anything in common with other group members.” The Pasbys did stay in the class and now this group has become so very close. They do life together and go to brunch after church or watch each other’s kids. They are totally connected now.
They also have worked with LifeTools on Monday evenings and use a curriculum helping give the 4 and 5 year olds Christian life tools good for coping with the ups and downs of life. They love it. Jacob ushers and will soon drive the golf cart on Sunday mornings. They have helped with the backpack drive, and Danielle really enjoys working with Safe Families. This is an evolving, very new program that helps parents with children who are going through a difficult time and attends to their needs. The church is trying to determine how to help the families in the best way possible.
Danielle and Jacob gave an example of what being in community with others is really about. Their youngest son was born with a cleft lip and palate. Before Hunter’s surgery, their small group and some church staff prayed with them. They had dinners brought to their home, and church friends sat with them in the hospital. They were blown away by the love and support!
This couple has made church an integral part of their life. Shaffer now knows the routine. “He knows that when we go to church, he gets to see his friends,” says Danielle. They have all met some great friends! “Being involved is for everyone! It all just evolves,” they agreed. “Most people just don’t realize how much God is doing through Crossings church!” said Danielle. The people at Crossings are the church, and they are thrilled to be part of it!
“A Folly Marriage” written by Misti Aduddell, Crossings Volunteer Writing Team Member.
Searching for Home
Diana Nowlin, a newlywed from Connecticut, recently moved to Oklahoma and was searching for a church home with her husband. Diana and her husband wanted to find a church where they both felt at home, and when they found Crossings in February of 2014, they knew Crossings was the right fit for them.
Looking for a way to deepen her connection with Crossings when she wasn’t in a service or worship at the church, Diana started following Crossings on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and she loved being able to stay up-to-date with photos, videos, worship music, messages, and events coming up at the church. When she saw an announcement via social media about upcoming Centered classes, she was eager to learn more and quickly got involved.
Hungry for The Word
It didn’t take Diana long to realize how hungry for God’s Word – and His Will – she was and decided it was time to Volunteer. It began with her serving in her Centered class, and when the opportunity arose for Diana to volunteer with Crossings Local Missions partner, Stanley Hupfeld Academy, she was immediately on board. “I love to plant flowers and dig in the dirt,” Diana says, “so I was able to go with the group and work on the beautification project at the Academy. It was so fun to be part of the project!”
Diana’s current volunteer opportunity came when she became friends with Cheri Weaver, Pastor of Volunteer Ministry, and through the course of their time together in Centered, Diana learned about Volunteer Ministry’s need and desire for a dedicated volunteer to take over their Twitter feed and share their passion for their volunteers on a regular basis. Diana felt called to accept this challenge to deepen her walk with Christ as well as further her ever-growing relationships in the various ministries she was involved in. When Cheri mentioned the need to Diana, she knew she wanted to be involved. The Volunteer Twitter posts links to the top volunteer needs at the church each week, as well as devotions, stories, scripture, and upcoming events, and Diana knew she could “definitely do that!”
Serving and Growing
Today, Diana is learning, growing, and spreading God’s love not only through her immense involvement at Crossings, but in her daily job and living as she makes herself available to be used in ways that are natural to her. Diana’s servant heart and willingness for her talents to be used by God in unexpected ways has opened her up to a wealth of opportunities at Crossings.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms – 1 Peter 4:10
Want to share your talents through serving in one of our more than 350 opportunities? Get involved through our Volunteer Ministry here!
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