Twenty-two years ago, about two years prior to the launch of Crossings at the Creek, God began to give us a clear vision of what He wanted to do through our Kentucky Baptist camp and conference centers.
We saw a new and exciting camp ministry that we would first start at Jonathan Creek on Kentucky Lake. We had nearly ¾ mile of shoreline on the lake. Those of you who have been to Jonathan Creek know how beautiful it is! However, the lake had been mostly underutilized by our camps, and our board thought that it was time to get on the water! In the vision we pursued, we saw a camp in which unchurched kids would see our jet skis, ski boats, pontoons, kayaks, our climbing towers and say, “Take me there. I may not know Jesus, but that camp looks like fun!”
So we began to press on toward our new camp ministry. We had a reasonably clear understanding of what we believed God wanted to see there at Jonathan Creek, but we didn’t have a name for our new camp. We had no idea what to call it. We sought ideas and thoughts but nothing clicked.
One morning, in my quiet time before God, I read John 5:24: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” I thought to myself — he has crossed over from death to life — and then I thought, “That’s it, we’ll call our camp ministry ‘Crossings,’ because that’s what we would be about: creating an environment and experience in which kids can cross over from death to life and experience forever the power of new life” — this month’s Western Recorder theme.
And now, more than 20 years later, we’re still Crossings Camps at Jonathan Creek and Cedarmore. God has blessed us in remarkable ways. We’re expecting more than 18,000 campers this summer! Many of those students and younger kids will experience the crossing over from death to life.
Our passionate belief in the power of the new life that comes to the Christ follower is what compels us to work as hard as we do to clearly present the gospel to every person who steps onto our properties. In particular, our burden is for the young generation, commonly called Gen Z.
Here’s a bit about Gen Z that everyone needs to understand: Gen Z is the generation born between 1995 and 2015; there are about 69 million Gen Zers; only 4 percent have a biblical worldview; they tend to believe truth is relative rather than absolute; they are the first “post-Christian generation;” their lives are mostly shaped by technology, and the typical Gen Z churchgoer spends more than 2,700 hours annually on digital devices and less than 300 hours of “spiritual intake.”
The challenges and opportunities regarding reaching Gen Z are great. Our team travels the state in the “off-season” — presenting to churches and ministry groups the findings of our research on Gen Z. We’d love to come to you! God’s given us a partnership with our churches to do together whatever we must do to reach Gen Z.
Call or email me and make arrangements to come visit us this summer and see for yourself the Crossings Experience of 700-900 students worshipping God with unrestrained enthusiasm! I promise you it will be worth your while. We covet your prayers as we strive to reach our campers with the only message that leads to the power of new life!
Rusty Ellison is vice president of development for Crossings. He can be reached at email@example.com.