THE STORY BEHIND THE CROSS NECKLACES – by Tim Price
In 1992, I was leading music for a VBS in Southern Illinois. During that week, one of the projects was making a cross with cork board and fine copper wire. The kids would cut the cork board into a shape of the cross and then cover the whole thing in wire. Since I was there, I made one too.
The very next week, I was leading music for a high school camp at Lake Springfield Baptist Camp. During the week, a student commented on the cross necklace I had. When he did, I gave it to him. Word like that spreads quickly at camp and about an hour later, another kid asked me if I had more.
During a break that week, I ran to town and purchased the supplies to make a few more. It wasn’t long before all of those were gone too. At the end of that week, I made a quick announcement that if anyone who didn’t get a cross wanted one, just to put their name and address down and a dollar for shipping and I would make more.
When I went to grab the sign up pad as I was packing up, I was amazed to see approximately 50 names on the list! I got to work making more necklaces, but I had to modify the design, skipping the cork board altogether and using a little bit heavier wire. They were just as sturdy and looked better. I mailed them all out. And was encouraged that not only did I enjoy making them, people like wearing them.
CROSS NECKLACES HELPED SUPPORT THE MINISTRY
As I traveled around singing that summer, I would put these little cross necklaces on the resource table and I was surprised by the response! Student after student would purchase these necklaces. As a sophomore in college who was investing summers in ministry at youth camps, I was amazed how a little craft project could help fund ministry (the rest of that summer, we asked people to give $2 per necklace).
I have always enjoyed being entrepreneurial. These cross necklaces, added to some t-shirts and albums that were already being sold on the resource table, helped support the ministry as I traveled and led music through college. I loved the idea of having students wearing them. It was a witness. They told a story. The cross is the symbol of Christ taking on our sins and giving us new life through grace and the power of his resurrection.
But I was also amazed that this little jewelry could bring in income. Up to this point, camp directors would pay me mileage and maybe a little financial gift, churches would receive a love offering and by the grace of God, I was able to make it through college (more less). The bottom line was, I felt distinctly called to something like what I was doing but it didn’t seem like it could be a real-life job.
ICHTHUS MUSIC FESTIVAL
I wish I had counted how many cross necklaces I have made over the years. During seminary at Asbury in Wilmore, KY, I had the privilege of doing music and leading at Ichthus Music Festival, an event that drew between 20,000 and 30,000 people each year. Me and a couple other guys, who called ourselves Fish Force, would lead music and teach during the festival. Along with leading came the opportunity to set up a table in the merchandise tent. The first year, I was amazed! The cross necklaces, along with other items for sale at The Fish Force Table, brought in about $10,000. For three years in a row, the sale of these cross necklaces paid my second semester in seminary in full. During these seasons, I think we counted that we made about 15,000 cross necklaces! One guy I taught how to make them would make them while driving back and forth to his home in West Virginia… something I wouldn’t suggest trying.
HARVEST MINISTRY WAS BORN
It was during my time at Asbury Seminary Harvest started. I felt called to get more people involved in leading camps in the summer because I would be graduating soon and going on to “real ministry.” The team concept of traveling in the summer took root, people were excited, the ministry was powerful and I sensed God calling me in this direction. I received an M. Div. from Asbury but halted the ordination process and began working in Harvest – serving as a camp worship leader, developing weekend discipleship conferences and being available to serve in the church.
By the grace of God, and by God’s sovereign provision, we’re still going. Each year, we wonder how things will work out financially for the ministry and each year, we are blessed and amazed. Harvest is a non for profit ministry with a mission to equip young adults for ministry and provide a resource to the church. In short, we are here to help the church make disciples.
CROSS NECKLACES STILL HELP FUND HARVEST MINISTRY TODAY!
Twenty-five years later, I still create these little necklaces, pray for those who will be purchasing and wearing them and we set them on our Harvest Resource Table during weekend conferences and summer camps. Kids, students and adults buy them. Often a youth pastor will come up and buy one for the whole group! For several years, a guy in California had a standing order of 25 a month, which he would wear and give out to people as he walked around his city. One time he told us the story of a homeless woman who had passed away and had let it be known that she wanted to be buried with her necklace she had been recently given.
I’m grateful that God leads us in small steps. If I had seen the whole picture way back then, I may have laughed, been afraid, or quit. God not only called me to this unique ministry, but he equipped me with this entrepreneurial spirit as a way to help fund what was needed.
I give God glory.
And you’re invited to join in.
YOUR PURCHASE OF A CROSS NECKLACE HELPS US CONTINUE IN MINISTRY
With your purchase of a cross necklace, you’re supporting the mission of Harvest Ministry. You’re helping to fund this opportunity for our team to be available and serve in and through the church.
One time someone bought a cross necklace, gave us a $100 and bill and said keep the change! We were encouraged and blessed. I still remember that night.
Thanks for your purchase! Buy one or buy several for student ministry or children’s ministry group. Buy a bunch for your worship team, tech team, choir, church leadership team, summer ministry trip team, or any other group in your church.
Your purchase is more than just buying a necklace, it’s helping to change lives through Harvest Ministry! Thanks for your partnership and your support.