MUUUCE 2022: Back together after a two-year hiatus

After a two-year COVID hiatus, youth pastor Nathan Nelson said it well, “It feels so good to be back.”

From Aug. 4-6, 417 middle school students and leaders from 23 Northwest Conference churches gathered at Crossroads Church in Woodbury, MN. For three days they played, worshiped, laughed and learned about following Jesus.

The staff at Crossroads Church leads MUUUCE, and starts planning in the depths of winter to design an event that meets the needs of middle schoolers. Joey King, one of the youth pastors at Crossroads, said his vision for the event was for students to have “altar moments.”

That vision came to fruition when Eric Samuel Timm, who is both a speaker and an artist, presented the gospel in a way that immediately connected with the middle schoolers. He painted an umbrella and talked about how life may be hard, but you’re under the cover of God’s umbrella. He went on to challenge them to make a public declaration of their faith.

Over 100 middle schoolers said “yes” to Jesus for the first time, and over 200 recommitted their lives. One youth pastor said it was a holy moment watching the students stand in groups and lock arms as they prayed for each other.

The three days included a massive Welcome Party with inflatable games, food trucks, as well as trips to The Fun Lab and Valley Fair. The Silent Disco was a huge hit. Students danced, only able to hear the music through their headphones. Students rushed to the stage during worship designed with middle schoolers in mind.

The small group times were vital. One pastor said, “The conversations that came out of the small groups were the start of some new beginnings.”

MUUUCE wouldn’t happen without over 100 Crossroads volunteers who served long hours doing everything from chaperoning the Welcome Party to cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming confetti. Sandra Florin is the administrator who coordinates the details of MUUUCE along with Joey King and the whole Crossroads team. They work for months to create an affordable and memorable event for our Northwest Conference churches.

MUUUCE is one of the few events in a middle schooler’s life where the church designs an event specifically for them. An event where fun and Jesus go hand in hand, where their questions about faith and life are taken seriously, and where they can know they are deeply loved by God and their youth leaders.