Along the beautiful recreational trails that surround Ridge Point Community Church in Holland, Michigan, runners and walkers from across West Michigan took part in the inaugural Crossroads Run on September 30.
This gathering was made possible by the dedication of our volunteers, the support of our sponsors, and the enthusiasm of participants who walked and ran alongside us. But the true beauty of this event extended beyond its physical location, as it resonated in the hearts of those we serve.
Cody, a student at Muskegon Correctional Facility in Muskegon, Michigan, learned about the run from the Just for Students newsletter and decided to recruit not only those living in his Christian housing unit but also the whole facility. “I love the Crossroads program; it is amazing that you guys take your time to help us in prison learn about Christ. Thank you so much. The mentors and newsletters are just an awesome benefit of the Bible studies,” he wrote. “I am going to gather as many inmates as I can to walk on September 30 from the whole MCF compound.”
Cody’s story is just one shining example of the ripple effect that the Crossroads Run had on the lives of those touched by its message. This event was not merely about physical exertion; it was a collective expression of faith, unity, and the transformative power of the Gospel.
Another student, Chris, wrote, “My cellmate and I are happily looking forward to doing the whole sixty-minute run with y’all. We also wish everybody good luck! I also wanted to let you know how happy I am being a Crossroads student. It feels good being part of a program for the first time in my life that is helping me change my life and get closer to God our Father.”
Robert Woldhuis, donor relations manager at Crossroads and race director for the Crossroads Run, said, “I was completely blown away by the response from our students across the country. As a former Crossroads student, it was amazing to see how men and women in jails and prisons were choosing to get involved with the run, and I am so glad that they felt included, heard, and honored by the Crossroads Run.”
The Origins of the Crossroads Run
The idea for the Crossroads Run was inspired, in part, by the prodigal son.
In their second Crossroads lesson, students study the Parable of the Prodigal Son. A note within the lesson explains that during Jesus’ day, older men typically did not run. If an older man was running, he was likely at war or dealing with an emergency. Yet, in this story, the father ran to his son. In pondering why this might be, students are given a picture of a God who is ready to run out and meet us.
Joshua S., a student in Texas, shared his reflections on this parable: “I think the story of the prodigal son really got me to think deeper about God’s love for me and that, even at my darkest hours, He is still with me, longing for me to return to His loving arms. Also, He still loves me unconditionally, no matter how bad I [stray] from Him. I think David is one of my Bible heroes; he was chosen by God, then committed lots of sins against God, and after, God still loved him and [called] him a man after His own heart.”