Training for a Higher Purpose

Love God. Love people. Be a servant.

These three phrases form the staff triangle at Crossings. If you have been to Crossings camps, you likely have seen staffers making a triangle with their two thumbs and index fingers. It is our mission statement. There have been many staffers over the years that lived out the triangle courageously, leaving a legacy of servanthood that encourages new staffers even today. It is a simple way to remind ourselves of why we do what we do.

The staff triangle and the three commands are a paraphrase of Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:36-40:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

While a phrase like “Love God, Love people, Be a servant” sounds really good on paper, it is one thing to say it, and quite another to live it out. Staffers spend countless hours training for the climbing tower, ziplines, and other activities our students love. However, the time we take to dig into God’s Word is even more important. Scripture is where we learn how to truly love God with all of our hearts. It is where we find wisdom on how to put others above ourselves. Most importantly, the staff triangle points us to the greatest example of servanthood that the world has ever seen: Jesus Christ.

Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it means to sit down and listen.” So how does one maintain a mindset like this when striving to be a servant leader?

Love God. Love people. Be a servant.

Have you ever been talking to someone and you can tell that they’re not listening to a word that you’re saying? Instead, they are just trying to come up with what they’re going to say next? Well, that’s something that Crossings summer staffers want to stay far away from as much as possible. When someone is sharing their story, we want to be attentive and caring enough to listen. Loving people well is not always accomplished by what we say and what we do for someone, it’s often shown best by the way we listen to one another.

Training week is difficult. To use an old adage, it’s sort of like drinking out of a fire hose. It is a lot of information. Whether it is learning to do a clove hitch on a P-cord at the climbing tower, or learning the chemicals used to deep clean the floor of the kitchen, there are so many things to learn in a short amount of time. However, when any staffer stops and thinks about why they have committed to doing this job for an entire summer, it can be easily explained.

Love God. Love people. Be a servant.

Staffers get tired. They miss their families and friends who are at home. Believe it or not, they even miss sleeping in past 6 a.m. All that being said, there’s a realization that comes to mind; this summer there are thousands of students coming to Crossings from all across the country. The staff knows that they have a unique privilege to share the gospel with these students. There is no greater work to be a part of than that of being an ambassador for the building of God’s kingdom.

During training week there has been a lot of talk about legacy. What does it mean to be a summer staffer who is seeking to leave a legacy behind? How to leave a Christ-exalting legacy is something every staffer is seeking to answer this summer. It seems clear though, that whatever the answer is, we certainly will not be at the center of it. So whether it is flying off the blob at the waterfront, or playing basketball during Shack, we want to point everything here back to the gospel. So while yes, there are life lessons to take away from just about every aspect of what a staffer learns during training, there is one phrase that puts it all in perspective.

Love God.  Love People. Be a servant.

Each staffer here at Crossings is committed to leaving behind a legacy. One where people will look back and say that they based their success on the success of those they influenced. Training is challenging and it is not always fun. It is a physically demanding process. But 1 Timothy 4:8 puts in perspective what the Crossings staff wants to achieve, “…for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” We are in a battle this summer, a battle against the evil in this world that would seek to diminish the power of the gospel. That evil cannot prevail. Christ came, died for us, and defeated evil. Because we are more than conquerors through Jesus, we do not have to fear the plans of the evil one or our own failure. Ultimate courage comes from our confidence in the power of Christ in us. So what’s left for us to do then?

Love God. Love People. Be a servant.