What is the history of CROSS Missions?
During the summer of 1998, youth and adults from Myers Park Presbyterian Church went to Portland, Oregon on a mission trip to engage in urban ministry and service to the community. They returned inspired and convinced that MPPC could initiate a similar program in Charlotte, NC. With Session approval, the CROSS Missions program began in 1999 and grew steadily, becoming self-supporting in 2004. Today, in 2016, CROSS partners in ministry with over 40 nonprofit agencies all over Charlotte, and has hosted over 10,000 people from 270 churches, colleges, and schools in 19 states during the past 17 years.
Where is CROSS located?
CROSS is a ministry of Myers Park Presbyterian Church, which is located just a few miles from Uptown Charlotte. The main campus of MPPC is located at 2501 Oxford Place, and the Outreach Center, which houses most CROSS programs, is located at 1073 Providence Road.
Who does CROSS host?
During the summer City Serve program, CROSS hosts middle and high school youth groups from all over the Southeast for week-long mission trips.
During the fall and spring Urban Plunge program, CROSS hosts middle and high school youth groups, intergenerational and family groups, adult groups, confirmation retreats, and college groups for weekend-long mission and service trips.
During the fall and spring Urban Rebuild program, CROSS hosts college groups for week-long alternative break and service trips.
What will we do during our time with CROSS?
CROSS partners with over 40 nonprofit agencies all over urban Charlotte, including homeless shelters, food banks, community gardens, retirement communities, and children’s programs. During your trip with CROSS, your group will connect with our ministry partners who are housing our homeless neighbors, equipping marginalized youth, providing dignity to the elderly, and giving hope to the incarcerated. Our hope is that your group will “cross over boundaries that divide us, cross out stereotypes that judge us, and share Christ’s love” as you connect with our partners and neighbors all over the city.
For a week-long mission trip with the summer City Serve program, your group will arrive on Sunday evening after dinner for orientation. On Monday-Thursday, your group will work with two ministry sites each day, with a break for lunch at a local park in between sites. Each morning starts with breakfast, followed by worship and devotion, and every afternoon leaves time for your group to debrief with CROSS staff, discussing what your group learned and where your group saw God each day. On Monday evening, MPPC church members host groups for dinner and fellowship at their homes. On Tuesday evening, groups dive deeper into social justice issues during a staff-led program. Wednesday evenings are free evenings – your group may stay on campus, or leave MPPC for a few hours to explore Charlotte. On Thursday evening, your group will be invited to share what you have learned all week during a closing worship service. The week ends on Friday morning with a hot breakfast and slideshow of photos taken during the week.
For a weekend-long mission trip with the Urban Plunge program, your group will arrive on Friday evening for orientation. Saturday morning starts with breakfast and devotion before your group works with two ministry sites during the day, with a break for lunch in between sites. Your group will have the chance to debrief the day after returning in the afternoon. After dinner, your group will have free time during which you may take advantage of the gym, game room, and space in the Outreach Center, explore Charlotte, or dive deeper into social justice issues with simulations or documentaries provided by CROSS. The weekend ends with the contemporary worship service at MPPC on Sunday morning.
For a college alternative break trip with the Urban Rebuild program, CROSS can provide housing and hospitality, along with resources you might need to serve in Charlotte. CROSS can also arrange ministry sites for your group to connect and work with during your stay.
How do I register?
Want to register your group for an experience with CROSS in Charlotte? Contact CROSS staff with your desired trip dates to discuss openings in the calendar. Then, complete a Group Registration Form found online or through CROSS staff. Sending in your registration form and a deposit will reserve your group’s spot on the calendar.
For the Urban Plunge and Urban Rebuild programs, a deposit of $50/person is due four weeks after scheduling. Final numbers are due 30 days before your trip, and final payment and a security deposit are due 15 days before your trip.
For the City Serve program, a deposit of $100/person is due with registration four weeks after scheduling. A second payment of $100/person is due by February 1st. Final numbers are due 30 days before your trip, and final payment and a security deposit are due 15 days before your trip.
How much does it cost?
A week-long mission trip with the City Serve program costs $295/person. A weekend-long mission trip with the Urban Plunge program costs $95/person. An alternative break trip for a college group costs $100/person for housing only, $165/person if CROSS arranges your group’s ministry sites, and $275/person for a Habitat for Humanity build. A security deposit of $100 is also required for each group.
Where will we be staying?
Most groups who attend CROSS for a weekend-long trip during the year or a week-long trip during the summer will sleep in the Outreach Center at Myers Park Presbyterian Church. The OC is located at 1073 Providence Road, across the street from the main campus of MPPC. Groups will share sleeping rooms with other youth groups that might be participating in CROSS at the same time. Each youth and adult participant will have access to a twin-sized mattress, but needs to bring a sleeping bag or sheets, and a pillow. The Outreach Center also has locker rooms with showers that groups may use during their stay, as well as a large gym, game room and lobby, and kitchen. The OC has wifi access.
During the fall and spring, groups may also in the Cornerstone House, the old manse for MPPC. This house has four large bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a kitchen stocked with cooking supplies, a dining room, and a living room. Each participant will have access to a twin-sized mattress, but needs to bring a sleeping bag or sheets, and a pillow. The Cornerstone House is ideal for groups of 15 people or fewer. The Cornerstone has wifi access.
What will we eat for meals?
If your group is attending an Urban Plunge weekend, CROSS will provide three meals on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday. Continental breakfast includes cereal, bagels, granola bars, oatmeal, fruit, donuts, orange juice, coffee, and milk. Groups will pack a bagged lunch before leaving for ministry sites on Saturday morning, which includes a sandwich, chips, an apple, carrots, and a cookie. Dinner on Saturday evening will typically include pizza, salad, soda, and water. Each participant will receive a CROSS water bottle as well.
If your group is attending the summer City Serve program, CROSS will provide three meals a day from Monday-Thursday, and a large breakfast on Friday morning. Continental breakfast every morning includes cereal, bagels, sausage links or French toast, yogurt, granola bars, oatmeal, fruit, donuts, orange juice, coffee, and milk. Groups will pack a bagged lunch before leaving for ministry sites every morning, which includes a sandwich, chips, an apple, carrots, and a cookie. On Monday evenings, each group eats dinner at the home of a MPPC member’s home. These host dinners provide an awesome opportunity for fellowship and allow groups to share about their experiences in Charlotte with the MPPC community. On Tuesday-Thursday nights, groups eat together on campus at MPPC, and dinner is prepared by the MPPC chef: enchiladas and taco salad on Tuesday night, BBQ chicken and veggies on Wednesday night, and spaghetti and salad bar on Thursday night. Each participant will receive a CROSS water bottle as well.
If your group is attending an Urban Rebuild week, CROSS will provide three total meals – items for one continental breakfast (listed above), items for one bagged lunch (listed above), and either pizza or a gift card for one dinner.
What do we need to bring?
•Shorts (minimum of 4” inseam)
•At least one pair of long pants (required for some ministry partners)
•Shirts (no tank tops)
•Shoes and socks (closed toed shoes required for ministry sites)
•Toiletries and a towel
•Sleeping bag OR blanket and twin sheets, pillow
•Optional: ear plugs, eye masks for sleeping
•DO NOT BRING: alcohol, nonprescription drugs, electronic or computer games, fire crackers, irreplaceable clothes/jewelry/electronics, lots of money
A complete packing list is included in the group planning kit.
How many adults do I need to bring with my youth group?
According to the Child and Youth Protection Policy established by Myers Park Presbyterian Church’s Session in 2006, there must be at least one adult for every 6 youth present at CROSS. However, your group must have at least 2 adults in attendance, even if you only have 6 youth. There must be 1 adult of each gender if you have both boys and girls in attendance. Youth who have not yet completed 5th grade must each have a parent or adult come to fulfill a 1:1 adult to youth ratio. If there is a married couple or a couple that is related, they count as 1 adult on the trip. There must be 2 adults sleeping in the same room as the youth – if that is not possible, adults will sleep in a separate room from the youth.
How can I work for CROSS?
CROSS hires 7 interns every summer to facilitate week-long urban mission trips, guiding youth groups as they serve in homeless shelters, food banks, children’s programs, and other agencies that support our neighbors all over the city. The internship program is open to those who have completed at least one year of college, or who are recent college graduates, and is ideal for anyone considering a career in vocational ministry, social work, education, nonprofit work, or other community service sectors. The internship application is typically available in November and due mid-January, and interviews are held in January and February. Contact CROSS staff if you have any questions or would like to receive an application.