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From KY Today: Crossings Rusty Ellison Gives A First-Person View of Crossings Camps 2024

Crossings Camp Pastor Chad Poe speaking to 2024 campers. (Photo from Crossings Camp)

by Rusty Ellison Article syndicated from Kentucky Today

Thursday evening about 650 campers arrived at Cedarmore. They came from afar — hundreds of miles, from multiple states. They came from near, a short drive from their church to Cedarmore. After about 10 months of preparation and planning by the Crossings team, Crossings 2024 was under way.

It was the day we point toward in all our efforts of work in anticipation of the start of camp. After all the unending work, the entire team was pumped! The excitement — building for days — was unleashed.

After all these years of Crossings, 25 summers (minus one for COVID), it’s still an emotional evening for me. After a “delectible” dinner of chicken tenders, the mass migration from the Wiggie Fields Thompson Dining Hall takes place. The herd of students moves from the dining hall to the Fields Worship Center, where they gather (pack in, somewhat sardine-like) in the newly renovated missionally-themed vestibule, thanks to our partner IMB. Finally, the doors to the worship center itself open.

When the campers flood into worship Center on opening night (yes, they “flood” in, “race” in — it’s wild, it’s crazy)! How crazy is it? Well, I would compare it to a stampede or maybe even the Running of the Bulls (which I have never done!). Many of the students have been on church buses for hours, they have had enough sitting and they are ready for camp to begin!

The summer missionary staff is ubiquitous. It seems like there must be 150 yellow shirts instead of 60. They are running, welcoming, high-fiving the hundreds of campers inside. If the casual observer is looking for or expecting reverence, they are looking in the wrong place. Sorry about your luck!

The time for reverence will come. But not yet. Nope. If possible, the noise level reaches a level of decibles that must be 130-140. How loud is that? Just noise levels generated by jackhammers, ambulances (I may need one!) and fireworks. The students search for and “find” their seats. Somewhere. Somehow. Some way. Maybe. Or maybe not. Some look lost. But eventually they find their friends.

All this in the midst of a 10-minute countdown that builds momentum and anticipation. The summer staff generates so much energy it’s amazing. I’m much too old to join in the madness, but while I’m much too old, this evening never gets old.

The end of the ten minute countdown nears, and the minutes turn to seconds … the countdown volume increases (if that’s possible) … 10 … 9 … 8 … 7 … 6… 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … and then there is a nearly deafening explosion that says to all present that it is time for the real thing to begin.

Following a few moments of introductory remarks by the summer staffers on the platform, the praise band from Hope Community Church leads the worship music. Hope Church, on the Anderson/Franklin County line, in Lawrenceburg or Frankfort, you pick, is pastored by Jeff Eaton, one of our founding board members that officially came together Sept. 1, 1997. An evening such as this with hundreds of students present is what we saw when we started Crossings at the Creek in 2000.

The campers worship with unbridled enthusiasm. Voices are lifted and hands are raised all around the crowded room, which has become a sanctuary. Oh that all could witness the change in the room — from rowdiness to the aforementioned reverence!

Camp pastor Chad Poe, teaching pastor at Grace Bible Church in Clute, Texas, steps up to preach the word of God. He has the full attention of all present. Chad’s been here for many summers — he’s part of our tradition and culture at Crossings. The Crossings’ theme for the summer is “Reconciled.” Pastor Chad is a great communicator and tonight is preaching “Jesus is Lord.” He speaks of our need for reconciliation to God, that Christ is the means of reconciliation, from Colossians 1:15-23. Jesus is Lord of creation, He is Lord of salvation and Lord of reconciliation.

Pastor Chad concludes and calls for thoughtful response from the hundreds present. It’s only opening night, but many respond. And many more will cross over from death to life (John 5:24) before camp is over. There are three more nights of worship.

Crossings 2024. I turned 75 on night two of camp. In my 75 years, the need to reach this generation has never been more urgent! Pray for the students, pray for the entire Crossings team as join God in what He is doing in the hearts of our campers this summer! To Him be all the glory as we celebrate 25 years of Crossings.


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