LOUISVILLE — The Kentucky Baptist Convention has partnered with Crossing Ministries, the Baptist organization best known for its summer camps, to beef up support to local churches in their outreach to children and youth.
KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood announced the partnership last week, saying the arrangement will give Kentucky churches broader access to children’s ministry consultants while saving more than $100,000 a year in staffing and program costs.
Crossings, which is housed in the Kentucky Baptist Building in Louisville alongside KBC, recently hired two additional children’s ministry consultants, Rochell Goff and Lance Howerton, to handle the new initiative. Goff most recently served as children’s ministry director at Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville and previously served as program director for Crossings. Howertown worked 23 years at Lifeway in student and children’s ministry.
“For years, our churches that have been sending children to Crossings summer camps have been directing us to become more involved on a year-round basis with student ministry,” said Crossings President and CEO David Melber.
“These trends led us to begin the sequence that led to KBC contracting with us for student ministry.”
Melber said elementary-age camps are the fastest growing segment of ministry for Crossings.
“Surveys show the most likely age range for salvation decisions is between 8 and 18,” he said. “Additionally, our ministry can not exist without healthy church children’s and youth ministries. Those realities coupled with the directions from our churches have led us to the logical conclusion of expanding the Crossings Center for Youth Ministry to the Crossings Center for Youth and Children’s Ministry.”
Chitwood said the partnership with Crossings means that KBC’s children’s ministry consultant, John Bennett, will transition out at the end of the month.
“John will be leaving the KBC with our deepest gratitude for his service and highest recommendation,” Chitwood said.
Bennett, who has built a reputation as a top expert in children’s ministry over his five years at KBC, said he prayed about the transition and that he has peace with it.
“I will deeply miss working with everyone,” Bennett said. “We share the same passion and that makes us more than friends and colleagues but brothers and sisters in Christ. Forever.”
Meanwhile, Crossings has big plans for even more expansion into the areas of children and youth ministries with a goal of becoming the best possible resource for Kentucky churches.
“One of the keys to being an effective church is equipping lay leaders and staff members to effectively lead student and children’s ministries,” Melber said.