LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Kentucky Baptist with a broad background in student ministry has been selected to lead Crossings, the youth outreach ministry best known for its popular summer camps at Cedarmore and Jonathan Creek.
Jeffrey Brian Dalrymple will replace longtime President David Melber, who resigned last year to take a leadership position at the North American Mission Board.
“God is in the business of changing lives,” Dalrymple said. “I am excited to see how the Lord will continue to use Crossings in that work, and am looking forward to developing new ministry opportunities in order to serve churches in Kentucky and beyond.”
Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood said he’s convinced the Crossings board of directors, of which he’s a part, made a great decision in choosing Dalrymple.
“He’s an obvious fit for this crucial position in what has proven to be one of our most effective outreaches to students,” says Chitwood. “He brings a thorough knowledge of organizational leadership to Crossings, having overseen multiple offices encompassing a $9 million operating budget and having served as board president of Louisville Rescue Mission since 2014.
A litany of other Baptist leaders concur with Chitwood.
“I know of few men who would appear so uniquely gifted for such an important role,” said Brian Croft, senior pastor at Auburndale Baptist Church, one of several church leaders who recommended Dalrymple for the position.
Dalrymple, a Louisville resident who grew up in California, has worked at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary since 2008. Since 2011, he has been vice president of hospitality services at the seminary. In that role, Dalrymple has varied duties, including oversight of event planning, dining services, student housing, the health and recreation center and the campus health clinic.
He was engaged in a high school ministry at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif. At one point, he oversaw the D3 Youth Camp operated under the Boyce College brand.
"The most formative time in my spiritual life was from 1999-2008 when I served as a volunteer in youth ministry at my church," Dalrymple said.
He and his wife, Kristil, who also was involved in youth ministry, invested their time in discipling young people.
"I still serve at my church here as a lay leader, but not currently in the student ministry," he said. "However, we have taken up our own student ministry at home. Our four children have become our primary focus."
“Jeff has a proven record to take what exists and take it to the next level and beyond,” said Croft, who has worked alongside Dalrymple at the Louisville Rescue Mission and at events at Southern Seminary.
Dalrymple received his undergraduate degree in organizational management from The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, Calif, and his graduate degree in international relations and conflict management from American Military University in Charles Town, W.Va.
In his new role, Dalrymple will lead one of the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s most successful institutions. Crossings camps draw thousands of students from across the state each summer.
The total topped 13,000 students last summer, and is expected to exceed 14,000 this summer.
More than 800 of the students who attended Crossings camps last year made professions of faith.
Dan Dumas, senior vice president of institutional administration at Southern, said Dalrymple has a passion for excellence.
Dumas, who recruited Dalrymple to the Southern Baptist Convention’s flagship seminary, said the new Crossings president has his full endorsement.
“I consider him a dear friend, trusted ally and world-class leader,” Dumas said. “I am sad to lose him, but want God’s will for his life more than my own.”
Eric Bancroft, senior pastor of Castleview Baptist Church in Indianapolis who knew Dalrymple in Los Angeles, said he is a man of great character and leadership capacity.
“Jeff’s work ethic, reputation for humility, and tremendous capacity has been shown over and over again,” Bancroft said.