Friday, August 26, 2011

What is Cross Training?

Cross Training is a three-year program with the goal of providing “the training, tools, and encouragement necessary for teens to ground themselves in Bible doctrine and practice.”
Former Youth Pastor Bobby Thompson designed the program. He says:
“I started the program because I felt like we needed some kind of measurable and systematic way for teens to take the next step in their walk with Christ. For some teens, they get that at Christian school. Others get it if they go to a Christian college. Then there’s a whole group of teens that don’t really have anything regular in their lives in which they’re learning new things and taking steps beyond what they get in Sunday School or church or youth group a couple of times a week. So this provided a sort of like a Bible class that would ground them both in systematic theology and what they know with their mind about God’s Word, and then also a practical theology—how they work out that theology in their life. So the course is broken up into those two sections.”
Pastor Bobby describes what he considers the program’s greatest strength:
“I think it is in helping the teens to see, number 1, that theology is practical. We try in every class, especially in our systematic theology classes (in three of our classes we go through a systematic theology book). As we go through each doctrine, we try to show how that doctrine is not just academic, but—okay, how does that affect our lives on a daily basis? 
We spend half the class working through that book and the other half the class. I try to bring in some that is current—whether it’s a news story, something off a Christian blog, where a particular topic is being discussed, and how it’s actually playing out in the real world at this time in history. We talk about that as well. I think that’s been good for them. And then the class sizes are pretty small, so there’s a lot of interaction. I try to encourage discussion and questions. So there’s a real intimate kind of feel with regards to the class that makes it flexible in terms of the things we talk about.”
Students can start Cross Training as early as seventh grade. Pastor Bobby designed the whole course to be three years—one course in the fall and one course in the spring—for a total of six courses. That way, if students are busy with sports activities or the like and for whatever reason cannot do the class at one particular time, they can still take a class they missed to complete the program over six years.
(Here are all the courses that are offered over the 6 year period)
During Pastor Bobby’s time with Cross Training, only two students completed the entire cycle, culminating with the missions practicum. (Several students who were upperclassmen when the program started graduated high school before the three years were up.) The two who finished were Dean Corbett and Caleb Padgett.
(Dean & Caleb at Sahel Academy in Niger)
In sharing his thoughts about Cross Training, Dean says, 
“I would encourage the teenagers at our church to join and stick with our Cross Training program for two reasons. They will become well rounded in the protestant doctrines, and they will get a myriad of opportunities such as visitation and the missions practicum of their choice.”

Caleb says,
“I would definitely encourage middle and high school students to do the Cross Training program, to do all six classes, and get that done and out of the way and then go on a missions trip paid for by the church (even if it wasn’t paid for by the church, I would recommend it). I would suggest taking it just if you want to learn more about God. If you want to dig into God’s Word and you haven’t already, try Cross Training.”
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