Just like its beginning, Teen Camp ended with flop (or should we say, “a slop”). Cabins collected points all week from the games and activities and cleaning their cabins and the cabin with the most points got to choose a leader to “schmuck” on the last day! Leader Chad Nixon was chosen to be covered in shaving cream, head to toe, and then doused with icy cold water. 

The teens loved this and eventually convinced Pastor Jordan Cavanaugh to join as well. 

Pastor Amy Miller from Living Stones Church  wrapped up the week of camp with a great illustration during chapel about Giant Redwood Trees. 

The seed represented an experience with Jesus. Most students described a moment they had with God during the week that was new or memorable. Amy reminded students that the seed is only the beginning, and that after one experience with God we should not just stop there. 

In order to become a Giant Redwood, the seed needs to grow. Amy explained that these giant trees don’t just get giant overnight. Giant Redwoods can live up to thousands of years.  Like the Christian Faith, these giant trees require a lot of time and a process to become as tall as they do and grow as strong as they do. Amy described a great recipe for growth:

1. Soak in the Son-light. Every seed needs sunlight to start growing and keep growing. The Son – Spend time with Jesus. Get to know His voice, talk to Him, listen and wait to hear from Him. 

2. Drink deeply from scripture (truth). Every plant needs water to grow and keep growing. We need to dive into scripture for living water. God’s truth will remind us of His love and His plans for us, even when we may not feel Him near. 

3. Grow together. Did you know Giant Redwood Trees can get up to 400ft tall? Yet the roots of these giant trees only go 4-10ft down into the ground. What keeps them from being my blown over and uprooted in the storms? These giant redwood trees grow together via their roots intertwining. Without the strength of support of another giant’s root system, these redwood trees are susceptible to falling over and dying. Amy reminded students that the storms of life WILL come (John 16:33) and that is important to be rooted in Christ with other believers. During those tough times, other believers will remind you of God’s goodness and His promises and His plans… They will help you stay rooted and grow strong. 

Following this great message, students were sent to spend time in their cabins to discuss what this could mean for once they get back home. 

One student told me, “I was really encouraged by the friendships I made this week and feel like school will be great with strong friends to help me get through.”

It was such a great week out at Rivers Edge and many are looking forward to next year already! 

We’re so grateful to our many sponsors who made the week a huge success! 

Central Alberta Youth Unlimited sponsored our paintball activity.

Prairie College sponsored transportation to and from the lake for Beach Day. The community at CrossRoads Church and Living Stones sponsored boats, drivers and tubes to make the day a huge success. 

This is a reblog from Axis.org – August 5, 2016


Every year around this time, our teams hit the road and begin speaking to over 25,000 students across North America. And each year, they report an observation: There is a dichotomy between the sacred and the secular at many Christian schools. This compartmentalized view of life and education says all things spiritual are sacred, and everything else is secular. We see this mentality everywhere: in work (“ministry” is sacred, accounting and pharmacy are secular), in education (Bible classes and chapel are sacred, history and English are secular), and in art (Kirk Cameron movies are sacred, Spielberg movies are secular). When we view the world this way, it reduces Christianity to a tiny slice of life that happens only on Sunday or in Bible study, while most of human existence plays out in the ordinariness of everyday living. And in so doing, our students begin to think of Christianity in terms of events (chapel) or places (church), instead of having a holistic view that all of life is under God’s authority. The early Church faced this same kind of thinking (Gnosticism) and deemed it heretical. So how do we reclaim a broader view of life, education, work, and entertainment that recognizes God’s presence everywhere?

For starters, God, in His merciful goodness, created a good world where the eternal and the spiritual play themselves out in the physical. Everything has the potential to be sacred since God has the uncanny ability to show up in the ordinary–a feeding trough, bread and wine, or a stormy sea. Walter Brueggemann calls this “the scandal of the particular”; it’s an incarnational view of the world that recognizes that matter really matters to God, that concrete, everyday things are a doorway to the divine. Once we realize that God is with us in the ordinary things of life (homework, mowing the lawn, or reading a book), everything becomes an occasion for worship and revelation.

This is especially true for education. Charlotte Mason said, “God, the Holy Spirit, is Himself the supreme educator of mankind.” All truth is God’s truth, and all beauty is God’s beauty. Therefore we shouldn’t classify certain aspects or areas of education “Christian,” because that would imply the possibility that other aspects of education are secular. As Christians, we understand that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above, and that ultimately the culmination of all education is the personal knowledge of and intimacy with God. And that knowledge, or revelation, can come just as much from Shakespeare as St. Paul.

Our task as parents and educators is to be in divine cooperation with the Holy Spirit in the discipling and teaching of our students by helping them “lift the veil” of revelation to uncover the good, the beautiful, and the true in all things, reminding them that we really do inhabit a sacred universe. And revelation need not only come from distinctly Christian sources. Truth and beauty are revealed in the novels of Thomas Hardy, the poems of Robert Frost, and the scientific discoveries of Albert Einstein.

Ask yourself and your students:
1. Do you have a favorite movie or song that isn’t necessarily “Christian” that still reveals truth? How?
2. How does having a Christian worldview impact how you view/study history, science, sociology or psychology?

We are in the process of training up some fantastic mentor couples! Register now!

The People You Live With


Family Ministries exists to help and inspire families.  And what better place to start than at the beginning or when you are beginning again!  This is why we are excited that Chris and Stacey Contenti have decided to bring their passion to invest in new marriages with the help of the Prepare-Enrich Program – to help and inspire you in the journey ahead.

Here’s what they have to say:

Just over five years ago we were invited to train as Mentors in the Prepare-Enrich Program.  After talking together and praying about it we decided to sign-up and truly haven’t looked back since.   Marriage has always been something we value greatly and we felt the Lord leading us into a ministry where we could help couples start their marriage on a solid foundation with many of the tools already in place to succeed in their relationship together.

 We have met…

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If you’re going in to Grade 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 or have just graduated Grade 12 this past year, you should absolutely be joining us Wednesday nights at 7-9pm for Summer Youth!!!


Week to week we’ve got fun activities, God stories from ministry leaders and your peers and lots of snacks and time to hang out.

Come get to know other students who will be joining Youth Group in the fall, make friendships that last and/or find a place you can serve (worship, tech, setup, activities team)!


Don’t forget about our Ministry Kick-offs in the fall:

Junior High (Grades 7 & 8) – Thursday, September 15, 2016

Senior High (Grades 9 – 12) – Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This is a repost from axis.org

Vol. 2, Issue 25 | June 24, 2016



Three Things This Week

1. Who Is the Real You?

What it is: A thought-provoking video from SoulPancake and New Age Creators that asks great questions about the difference between our digital selves and our real-world selves.

Why it’s important: For many teens, not much thought is put into whether or not they should use a certain technology or social media platform. Rather, their main concern is what will get them more likes, views, favorites, or a higher score, usually with little to no concern for how that endeavor might affect them. We encourage you to watch the video with your tweens/teens and open a discussion on it. Do they agree with it? Why or why not?

2. New and Improved Bible!

What it is: An anonymous millennial has published an emoji “translation” of the Bible.

Why it’s important: Thanks to Snapchat and texting, teens might not think twice about reading the Bible in this format. But would that be so bad? This could be a great way to bring up a conversation about Bible translations, literacy, and why form matters with your teens, as well as a great conversation to have within one’s family/church/school. Is this is a good example of speaking teens’ language? Is there a context in which this could be used well? How can we also cultivate a love for the written, emoji-less word?

emoji bible

3. Teens Review Media

What it is: Common Sense Media has a section in which teens can post their own reviews of shows and movies. Simply pick a show/movie, click on “User Reviews,” the select “Teens & Kids.”

Why it’s important: Talk about eye opening…! The reviews show each reviewer’s age and what they think of the show/movie, thereby revealing much of the teen psyche. If you want to know what teens think about their own discernment abilities or what they watch in private, take a couple minutes to read a few reviews. Then take time to open a discussion with your teens about what they’re watching and why they believe they’re “ready” (read: mature enough) to watch it. Considering that a recent study found that 70% of Americans would rather give up social media than streaming, this may be one of the most formative conversations you could start.


Food for Thought: Lebron v Steph

On Sunday, we witnessed the climax of the clash between hero and villain: Steph Curry, the under-sized beloved hero, faced the vilified giant LeBron James in game 7 of the NBA finals, with James’ Cavaliers triumphing in the final seconds. Both men are great players, yet the two could not be more different…at least according to pop culture.

Curry’s easy to love: a 6’2″ point guard holding his own in a sport of giants who’s also an unashamed Christian. On the other hand, James is a modern-day goliath, whose 6’8″, 250-lb. frame helps him dominate the game. And boasting he’s the “greatest player in the world” makes him hard to like. But let’s consider a different perspective.

Big bad Lebron and underdog Steph aren’t all that different because, in the real world, it’s always harder to separate the good guys from the bad. While Lebron isn’t as vocal about his beliefs as Curry, his post-game comments make one believe that he does believe in God. And while Curry is beloved by NBA fans, his on-court antics have drawn the ire of many an opposing player. Whether it’s celebrating in front of the opposing team’s bench after hitting a big shot or throwing a tantrum after fouling out in game 6, he is as human as the rest of us.

Maybe these two superstars reveal a deeper truth. The world tells us we know who we are by learning who we’re against and who’s against us. This negative identity formation encourages hostility and polarization in politics, religion, sexuality, and race. But as much as we want to think that the world is neatly divided between the good guys and the bad guys, the human condition reminds us that the line between good and evil runs through every human heart. Is it possible to be Christians who recognize our difference from the world but also allow those differences to lead us toward loving–not vilifying–others? Help your teens understand and recognize their unique, different identity as Christians. But also help them find a way of viewing that identity as a call to approach others with love and hospitality, not fear and hostility.

Regular youth nights have come to a close, but let me tell you, we went out with a bang!


Every year we make sure we provide a night unparalleled to the rest.. something epic. This year, Epic included a trip out to Canyon Ski Hill to dive into a pit of mud! Tug of war, bucket ball and a water-fight with over 2000 balloons were just the start to all the fun! Take a look at our muddy faces!

As the regular youth year wraps up, we’d love to look back at what 2015-2016 has meant to us here at Crossroads.

Pirates Gold, Toxic Waste and Glow Tribes probably make it to the top of some of our favourite wide games from this year. Oh, and does anyone remember the time Pastor James went psycho and smashed that TV? Youth has been full of lots of exciting moments. Legacy One, Rollerskating, smashing sardine gingerbread houses, and that’s only naming a few! Excitement can always be found on a night at youth!

Lets not forget, our series on prayer. “What do you want me to do for you,” Jesus asked a blind man, and we posed the question to our students. We pushed them to go to the Father with their hearts. We didn’t leave them alone in this. Our prayer wall was a staple to youth this year. It was a place where students could write a prayer request and take one. It was a way to truly care for one another. We also created an online form students could fill out requesting prayers as a way to reach out to leaders. The response we had from the prayer wall/online form was overwhelming. There are a lot of hurting kids in Red Deer and Central Alberta, but the good news is, we can cast our cares on the One that is higher.

Breakout rooms were also a big addition to youth this year. We deviated away from the typical  one large wide game approach and decided to tailor events more suited to the students interests. With having 130+ students on an average youth night, it was getting difficult to keep up with everyone. As we got bigger, we had to get smaller. Some favourite breakout rooms were spray painting, Just Dance, paintball and Mafia. Don’t forget about our Art of War theme night where all breakout rooms featured a form of self defense. At first, students were leery about having 4 events on one night and splitting away from one large group, but breakout nights were a hit! It seemed like everyone finally found their place to connect.

We wouldn’t be doing youth recap justice if we left out one very important team.. the Worship crew. Do you know how talented our teens are?! On multiple occasions our ever-growing band led us in worship. One night, we even had to bring extra stage pieces to accommodate all our members! Junior high is full of talent, but they are also full of heart. The notes they play and the words they sing don’t just come from a page, but from the souls of students who have encountered God and who want to know more of Him. Thank you to Dave for leading this team, and thank you junior high worshipers for leading the rest of us to pour our hearts out (and sometimes, even to dance our hearts out) before the One we love.

Finally, I end with this, my personal favourite aspect of the entire year. We started off the year with a real emphasis on outreach. Really, it’s been a theme ever since. Our Turkey Hamper initiative, which provided over 20 families with a Thanksgiving meal, was really the start of local outreach. Grade 9 leadership also visited Potters Hands on a couple of occasions to help lend a helping hand to those in need in our community. Probably our most significant outreach has happened within the walls of our own building. It’s what we call peer-to-peer ministry. Our grade 9 leadership team has really changed the flavor of youth group this year. We’ve always stood by our core value “because we care”, but our students have taken this to a whole new level. We had students speaking encouragement to each other, sharing testimonies and  praying for each other. Students worked really hard to find teens who were on the fringe and make them feel loved, included and safe. Because of that, we had a great turnout of kids coming from local schools…many of these students, from  non-believing homes. We’ve been handing out Bibles, and seeing some of these students comes to Christ. It’s beautiful to not only see people coming to Christ, but to see them following their peers to His feet.Events like rollerskating, visiting trampoline world and even Epic, may be exciting and extravagant, but none of what we do compares to what He does. When God shows up, amazing things happen. What a blessing to see God show up at Crossroads this year!


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Happy Father’s Day! Thanks for all the hard work, devotion, perseverance, and love you show your family day in and day out, thereby showing the world God’s love and faithfulness!

  1. Circle

What it is: A $99 device that enables you to choose and monitor how you and your family spend time online.

Why it’s good: Circle helps families balance their lives in our screen-driven world. It’s a new way to help you manage content and time online for every device in your home. Want to limit your children’s time on Instagram, give their devices a bed time, or just pause the internet altogether? Circle will do it for you, freeing up time to connect face to face. Click here to buy it for dad (and your family)!


  1. #GoAskDad

What it is: An ad campaign for Gillette razors that would make Don Draper’s cold heart twinge with nostalgia.

Why it’s good: “To show the power of dads, we pitted dads versus the Internet,” says Procter & Gamble, the parent company of Gillette. “94% of teens ask the Internet for advice before they ask their dads.” The moving advertisement encourages teen boys to ask their dad instead of their phone on such things like how to tie a tie or ask a girl out. It’s beautiful. Watch it with your children!


  1. Dadcraft

What it is: Dadcraft is a great resource created to serve dads by helping them refine their most important craft: fatherhood.

Why it’s good: The website provides fun family activity ideas, helpful guides, and inspirational interviews from great dads. Learn how to tell bedtime stories, what NOT to text your wife, and innovative ways to commemorate the end of school/start of summer. We highly recommend this resource for dads at any stage of fatherhood!



I woke up Sunday morning and, like you, saw the terrible news coming out of Orlando. In most cases like this, I begin a social media fast since the Internet can quickly become a platform for vitriolic shaming and blaming. But Sunday was different, at least among students who now use social media as their main news source and podium to express their voices. How fitting then that Twitter turned into a platform for lament, with “Lord, have mercy,” “How long, O Lord?” and “Can’t stop crying” posts filling my timeline. And in a small way, it was comforting.

The next generation was engaging in the ancient, biblical task of lamentation: Israel moaning in Egypt, Rachel weeping for her children, Job and his potsherds, or the cry of the forsaken Jesus gathering all the world’s anguish into that hallowed moment when unconstrained grief was shouted up to God, the one God who actually listens. In fact, one third of the Psalms are laments, modeling how we are to worship and pray in the midst of loss. The biblical narrative is filled with stories of God’s people speaking and being answered, crying and being heard. Yes, there will be time to have difficult discussions with your students about guns, militant Islam, and LGBTQ issues; but for now, lament.

Lament is the visceral announcement that things are not right; it is refusing to be silent. Lament means evoking cries that demand answers. It means summoning God and expecting Him to act. It is prayer in the midst of pain. The very loss of lamentation in a culture preaching “happiness is the truth” ensures that victims remain voiceless and the status quo goes unchallenged.

So join your students in the biblical act of lamentation by looking with tear-stained eyes into the abyss to see how vast, how deep, and how cruel is evil. And like Rachel, refuse to be comforted.

See the world’s pain.

See your own pain.

Sit in sackcloth and shower yourself with dust, remembering from which we come and to which we will return.

Finally, lament with hope.

Lament with the hopeful expectation that the same God who heard Israel’s wailing in Egypt and Jesus’ cries from the cross is the very same loving father who is listening still, and will one day deliver us from all this pain, all this anguish, and all these tears.


–Gary Alan Taylor, Vice President, Father of Emma, Olivia, and Jackson





As a youth pastor, I get asked all the time, “How do I protect my kids from porn?”  “How do I manage my kids’ online consumption, especially because every device has become so personalized?”  To be honest, until these last few months I have had little help to offer.

A month ago, I bought Circle, by Disney, and it has revolutionized the way I protect my home, my kids, and myself from the many pitfalls that the online world has.

Circle, by Disney, is a device that syncs up to your wireless router.  It is simple to set up and simple to use.  I am one of the least technological people I know.  My tech ability peaked with setting the VCR.  Even for someone like me, the set up was easy as pie.  Simply follow the directions that are explained by pictures and before you know it, every device that connects to the internet from your router now goes through the Circle.

Once you synced up you have the opportunity to set profiles for everyone in your house.   Every profile can have as many restrictions as you would like.  My wife has the most freedoms, then me, and then we really lock it down for the kids.

This device really does it all!

It filters out adult content:

All of our devices protect against adult content.  In order to check, I had my precious wife search for as many dirty things as she could come up with.  She is so precious that “nude girls” was about as dirty as she could come up with.  And sure enough, dirty pics got filtered out.  She searched “porn” and only sites that help with porn addiction made it through.  Pretty amazing!

It limits time online:

You can set each device to have access to the internet around certain hours.  Our kids can’t get online before 7:00 AM or after 9:00 pm.  Not only does it limit each device in a macro sense, you can also specify how much time you want to allow for specific apps.  Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, Minecraft, and Netflix, to name a few are all at your finger tips and you can add timers for each one if you would like.  My kids get Netflix 2 hours a day.

The access is controlled easily by you:

On you phone is a Circle app.  From this app you can control every profile and every device.  You can add more time to specific apps, or you can shut the whole thing down.  It was pretty fun to get your kids’ attention by pausing the entire internet for dinner.  My daughter has even complained that I now have too much power.  :)

If you are concerned about what your kids are doing online, if you would like to view their histories, limit their access, protect them from porn, then this is the device for you.  For $100 anyone can now fully control and protect their home.

Some miscellaneous thoughts: 

I get that this doesn’t solve all problems.  I get that our kids will see messed up stuff on their friends’ phones when they are at school or sleepovers.  I get that this isn’t a total solve.  However it protects your kids as they are learning about the internet and how to explore it in a way that is safe.  It also protects your kids from watching porn all night in their room by themselves.  It protects them from the hours and hours of unmonitored hours and time on social media that is unsupervised.  And it is these countless hours alone in their room that cause way more damage than the limited time at school and their friends’ homes.

Also, if you are an iphone family, I don’t care how old your kids are, YOU MUST LOCK DOWN THEIR PHONE.  I am a man in my 40’s and have locked my phone down.  Apple has an amazing filter for their adult content, and every parent should use this feature.  Your kids will cry a little bit, but it sure beats the alternative, which is not having a phone at all.  I am sure there are android options, but, like I said above, I have no tech skills.

We as adults must get our own online life in order, and WE MUST PROTECT OUR KIDS FROM BEING SUCKED INTO THE INTERNET.  It is for their emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.

Good luck out there!

Everyone who interacts with teens knows it’s hard to show them you care, let alone have conversations about important topics with them. We all thought the eye-rolling, angsty, dismissive teens of the ’80s and ’90s were bad, but they had nothing on today’s screen-obsessed, constantly distracted, Snapping fiends. But just like generations past, teens today want to be understood. So here are 7 things our traveling teams have learned from students about how to earn their respect and trust.
  1. Listen and understand first.
    Even if we think they have the wrong priorities or perspective, students need to know that we understand what they’re going through before we ever offer advice or feedback.
    2. Be open, honest, and willing to admit fault.
    Sharing your story is paramount! Teens tend to assume that adult Christians are perfect and have never had doubts or made mistakes. #EyeRoll. By being honest with them, we help them to see us as real people who don’t just follow God because we’re supposed to, but because we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) that His ways are truly best.
    3. Be yourself.
    Younger generations are all about authenticity, and they can spot a fraud a mile away. So instead of trying to speak, act, or look like them, just be you. Even if you are totally “uncool” by teen standards, embracing that will go so much further than trying to be something you’re not.
    4. Help them see the “why.”
    “Because I said so!” doesn’t cut it. Teens are fully human beings who think critically and want to be trusted. Help them understand the reasons behind certain decisions, and invite them into the decision-making process. This communicates that we believe in them, as well as that we aren’t afraid of pushback.
    5. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
    Always assuming the worst of anyone is a bad idea in general, but even more so with teens. Typically they’re just waiting for us to react as though everything they do is the worst. But if we believe the best of them, many times they’ll pleasantly surprise us.
    6. Have high standards.
    Teens meet whatever standards we set. If we expect them to act like young children, they’ll respond in kind. But if we expect them to be mature, responsible, deep thinkers, the vast majority will live into those expectations.
    7. Speak their language.
    Giving long lectures or making them watch cheesy, outdated videos are surefire ways to lose their attention. They’re used to fast-paced, screen-based, and cool. So if we want them to hear what we have to say, then we need to spend some time learning how to speak their language.

Taken from axis.org

The Culture Insider


May 21st –  Hey everyone, we are in Tabora here and the team is doing well! Internet is terrible but God has been very good to us, giving us opportunities to minister in villages, work on a building project for Save Africa Now, see great breakthrough in our team, and understand God’s love in a new way. Thank you for all the prayers and support! This morning the ladies led a woman’s retreat at the church which had powerful teaching and stories with great response and dancing and the guys get to run a men’s conference this afternoon!
Tanzania is beautiful, God is good, and our trip is going very well. Continue in praying for the work of our team and in our team and that we would bear lasting fruit, leaving an impact in this beautiful nation for the glory of God. Other members of the team will be arriving in the next two days also, so please keep their travels in your prayers.

May 25th –  We continue to learn that a typical day in Africa is always different and unexpected. I believe Tyler said it best, “Wow! Another surprising day!” Tomorrow will be our final full day before we begin the journey back to DAR. We will finish our time by sleeping in the village and watching “This Is Inala” production that we filmed last week. Please continue to pray for strength and energy as we say goodbye to the people of Tanzania. See you all soon!


May 28th – Update: In the airport at DAR and awaiting our flight. Homeward bound! Can’t wait to share all the stories! ☺️


May 29th – Update: we made it to Zurich safe and sound just heading to downtown Zurich for a quick visit



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