HAMILTON, ONTARIO - Twice a year, 120 youth and young adults from the Hamilton area gather together at a CrossCulture event for a time of teaching and practical service at local ministries or community groups.
Now in its sixth year, CrossCulture is run by TrueCity Hamilton's Youth Network in partnership with International Teams. The day-long event provides an opportunity for young leaders to gather for breakfast, participate in a time of worship and testimony, and then go out to pre-arranged service sites. Everyone returns at the end of the day for worship, a message, and a time of prayer.
Esther Dillabough co-founded CrossCulture while attending Redeemer University. 'I was part of a team that essentially operated as a think tank, providing a place for students to create outreach opportunities and get other students involved. The idea for CrossCulture came to me and another student and eventually spread to other churches in the city who had a similar vision: to bring people together for a day and provide teaching around how to integrate worship, service, and social justice into a lifestyle, and then provide practical opportunities to serve at local agencies and churches.'
??Esther sees the events as a great way to really connect people with their community. 'We wanted to see what it would look like to serve together and make a bigger impact in the city. We partner with existing ministries, so we can encourage them and learn more about them, ultimately exposing people to ministries they may not even know existed in their own community. Often CrossCulture serves as a catalyst that leads to long-term involvement with these ministries and with our community.'
For CrossCulture's student leaders, many of whom are students at Redeemer University, it is an invaluable opportunity to be stretched and to truly invest in the youth and young adults that come to the event. As they near graduation, students on the planning team are responsible for replacing themselves, a process that Esther says is exciting to watch. 'Our leaders do a really great job of identifying in their peer group someone who has leadership potential and would be a good fit to help plan the next CrossCulture. It is really fun to see the younger students come onto the team and develop those skills.'
The 10th CrossCulture event took place on March 26. As they look ahead, Esther asks for prayer that the CrossCulture team will continue to dream big. 'We hope and pray that God would give students big dreams, and that youth pastors and church staff around the city would continue to help them make these dreams a reality.'