Fun Raising While Fund Raising

Date Posted: 6/22/2017

The Crossing Student Ministry used ingenuity to raise $572 for summer camp during their first-ever “Gnarly Necktie” fundraiser this May at Grace Crossing UMC in Longview. Teams of students created several outlandish neckties, then encouraged the congregation to vote with their dollars on the tie Dr. John Whitehurst would model for his sermon message. Although Pastor John does not typically wear a tie to church, he was not surprised the congregation chose an outlandish creation to make the fundraiser a success.
 
“It is a joy to serve a congregation with such a good sense of humor,” says Dr. Whitehurst. “They made sure that the first time I ever wore a tie on a Sunday morning at Grace Crossing, it was a pretty gnarly one indeed.”
 
Funds for Fun
 “Many of our students who come on Wednesday nights to The Crossing are not involved with Grace Crossing,” explains Kristen Ray, director of student ministries, “and many of them couldn't afford to go to UM ARMY or Lakeview without some help from the church. So, we have fundraisers throughout the year to help with the camp fund.”
 
The youth group’s creativity is also evident in the “Undie 500” and “Mystery Ramble” activities. Notes Kristen, “We just wrapped up our annual Undie 500 where we collect underwear for an agency that puts these in a welcome bag when they place children with a foster family. We collected over 500 pair of underwear in a Little Tykes plastic race car bed in our church lobby.”
 
Next month, students will partner with the Buckner Foundation this year for the annual Summer Feeding Program. Students will provide food, a Bible lesson and an activity/craft for children who live at one of the local low-income apartment complexes.
 
Last summer The Crossing students went on their first Mystery Ramble to San Antonio. The students are given just enough information to know what to pack, but they don't know where they are going until arriving at their destination. Students are looking forward to the 2017 Mystery Ramble August 3-6th.
 
The Grace Crossing youth group also has several Mission Mix-Ups throughout the year. These service opportunities involving The Crossing and the Goodness Graces Women’s Ministry are held to intentionally develop intergenerational relationships through mission work. “Our Mission Mix-Ups are a great way for the youth to get to know other adults outside of their family,” shares Kristin. “These events have been a highlight for both the students and the adults.”
 
Kyleigh Campbell, 16, agrees, saying, “The friendliness of the staff and other adults at the church -- and the mission work that we do together – are some of the reasons that I keep coming back each week!”
 
Joey Egbe, 13, agrees that their special brand of support is one of his favorite things about The Crossing Student Ministry. “The adults are great examples as servant leaders,” he adds.
 
“Grace Crossing is full of generous people who enjoy all the wacky, creative and fun ideas we come up with,” says Kristen. “It’s great for the youth to feel the support of the whole congregation, and our church does that so well.”
 
Communication Director Stephanie Adams adds, “It helps that Pastor John is always the biggest, goofiest ‘kid’ in the room.”