Riding the Big One

surfersWhether taking out garbage, setting up tables, or moving equipment for church events, self-proclaimed surf bum and Alliance layperson Jim McCleary was always looking for ways to serve God at Deltona Alliance Church in Florida. But when he met an Alliance missionary to Indonesia, Jim learned that God’s call on his life was tailor made just for him.

“In 1996, George Hobbs (now retired) was speaking at our weeklong Missions Conference, and I was asked to pick him up at the airport,” Jim says. The two stopped at a restaurant on the way back to the church, and Jim asked George about the surfing in Indonesia. George’s answer ignited in Jim a passion for a unique ministry.

“Surfers are like Indonesians,” George told Jim. “They wear funny clothes, have crazy hair styles, and speak a language all their own. They may have strange customs, but the main thing about surfers and Indonesians is that they are both going to hell if they don’t know Jesus.”

The Challenge

“When I went to Indonesia,” George continued, “I had to dress and look like the Indonesians. I had to learn their language and their customs. Basically, I had to become one of them to gain their trust.

“But you see, Jim, God created you to look like a surfer, talk like a surfer, dress like a surfer, and actually go out and ride the waves. No surfers are going to listen to me, but God can use you to get through to them. Why don’t you take a few kids to the beach, teach them how to surf, and share God’s Word with them. Do you think you could do that?”


Jim’s first ministry outing a couple months later involved a few boys. “I taught them to surf and told them about Jesus walking on water,” says Jim. “And Crosswaves was born.”

Crosswaves is a Christian surfing ministry designed for all family members. Crosswaves leaders are believers, using the gifts God equipped them with to reach out and serve those in their local communities. Outreaches include beach activities and Bible studies, as well as supporting other ministries in their efforts, including those outside the United States. Crosswaves seeks to create an environment in which everyone will feel welcome and where the love of Jesus will be revealed.

Phil Risoldi and his family experienced the Crosswaves welcome firsthand. “My two sons and I met Jim at a Christian skateboarding event,” says Phil. “He had a tent there, representing his surfing ministry.” The meeting came just five days after the third surgery on Phil’s right arm, which was left completely disabled. “The doctors said I would never use my arm again.”

But Phil sensed God’s call to join Jim in ministry. “Crosswaves has fortified our family’s faith,” he says. “I thought, I can teach those kids to surf.” Though one arm is disabled, Phil ventures out on his surfboard to give surfing lessons, and “God enables me to stay in the water all day.”

Crosswaves outreach events—including surf lessons, lunch, and drinks for the day—are free. “All you have to do is listen to Jim talk about Jesus,” Phil says. “It is such a dynamic ministry; if you weren’t a Christian when you got there, you will be when you leave.” Currently, 1,250 workers facilitate Crosswaves chapters in three Florida cities as well as in Puerto Rico and Nicaragua.”We’re looking forward to the next town where God will start another Crosswaves chapter,” Jim says. “Is God calling you? Pray about it, let us know, and we will do anything we can to help you get started.”

A spinoff of Crosswaves is a youth basketball outreach called Crossover. Both Deltona Alliance Church ministries represent the heartbeat of The Alliance-mobilizing fully devoted disciples to reach lost people who matter to God. He wants them found, and Crosswaves is finding them on the beaches of Florida.

What You Can Do

Pray for safety and good health for Jim and his team as they ride the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

Pray that God will prepare hearts to receive the truth.

Donate now to Alliance Great Commission Ministries.

Learn More

Visit www.crosswavesweb.com and www.deltonaalliancechurch.org


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