Greetings from the campus of Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, where my husband and I, along with a staff team of about 25 young (and some old) adults, have moved into the dorm apartments that will be our home for the next week. We’re here for CrossWalk, and we must really love it, because many of us have been coming back year after year for almost twenty years now.
CrossWalk is a weeklong summer camp offered by the Baptist Convention of New England for students ranging in age from rising 7th graders to graduated 12th graders. Since coming to New England in 1999, Crosswalk has been an annual highlight for us almost every year. Having served as a camp staffer and as the parent of three campers through the years, here are the top ten reasons I love Crosswalk:
10. Beach Balls & Busy-ness
After breakfast, students run into Morning Celebration where the beach balls are flying and the challenge is to keep them going without dropping. It’s a picture of the priority of engagement. From the first moment of the day to the last, campers are kept busy and fully engaged in the moment — whether it be silly or serious.
9. Loud Music & Laughter
Morning Celebration also opens up with fun, upbeat music and worship songs. The staff team leads crazy calisthenics, large group competitions and hilarious thematic skits to get the day started. I never laugh so hard as when I’m at CrossWalk.
8. College Campus Life
Camp is always held on a college campus — most recently, Roger Williams University. Campers live in dorms, eat in the cafeteria and can even shop in the bookstore and swim or play basketball in the recreation center. The campuses are safe, self-contained, have lots of support staff and provide a little taste of college life for those considering that path.
7. Crazy, Constructive Competition
From all-out soccer or ultimate Frisbee competitions to silly relay games (How fast can you chew a piece of gum and blow a bubble? Or create a human pyramid?), Bible study groups engage in friendly competitions all throughout the week. A Spirit Stick is given at the end of every recreation time - not only to the Bible study that performed best, but that also had the best attitude and showed the most encouragement to other teams.
6. Quiet Daily Devotions
After Morning Celebration, campers gather with their Bible Study leader and group. Before beginning the Bible study for the day, students are shown how to spend time alone with God, how read His Word, pray and journal. Then they are given time to do this on their own while still being supervised by their leader. It’s a great transition from craziness to a more serious time of learning from God’s Word.
5. Teens Learning Leadership & Mission Mindedness
Campers entering their junior year of high school can apply to a leadership experience called Quest. Quest is a year-long program that begins at CrossWalk, continues with a fall retreat and culminates in a mission trip. All three of my now adult or college-aged children participated in Quest, and it has been invaluable in each of their lives and relationships with God. It gives teens real ministry and leadership experience while being mentored and discipled by those older in years and faith.
4. Fellowship in Two Forms
Campers meet lots of new friends from all over New England in their Bible studies, which are arranged by grade level. They learn together and then compete against other Bible studies during recreation time. After evening worship, the campers gather into their home church groups for a time of fellowship and debriefing. On the last day of camp, many students are saying difficult goodbyes to new friends and have lots to talk about on the way home with the friends they came with.
3. Regional Rejoicing & Worship
Churches from all six New England states bring groups to CrossWalk. I love seeing the work of God all over our region represented at camp. When we gather each evening for worship, it’s one of the largest gatherings of believers most campers have ever experienced, and it’s just so encouraging to know you’re not alone in your faith and ministry efforts.
2. Delightful Diversity
I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a gathering as culturally and ethnically diverse as CrossWalk. The BCNE is made up of a large number of ethnic churches, and this reality is very visible at CrossWalk. Revelation 7:9 comes to mind every night during our worship service as I look around and see campers, chaperones and staff from various nations and languages. To me, it’s a small but beautiful glimpse of the new heavens and earth.
1. Beefy Bible Teaching
My reasons for loving CrossWalk have been ascending in importance here, in case you didn’t notice, and this is my number one reason: the attention given to God’s Word. This year, as in several past years, campers will learn the Inductive Bible Study Method — or how to observe, interpret, and apply the text for themselves. In their morning Bible studies they will use several chapters from Genesis to study the life of Joseph. During evening worship, the sermons will all be in expository style out of the book of Luke. You can’t leave CrossWalk without having spent time alone in God’s Word, time learning how to study it yourself, and time hearing it taught verse-by-verse. It’s a steak dinner of Scripture morning and evening around here!
Melanie Krumrey is a pastor’s wife, serves as the women’s ministry leader at MERCYhouse church in Amherst, MA, and blogs at www.dwellabideadorn.com.