Our Roots (1896 – 2004)
The roots of Paradigm Shift Ministries (PSM) stretch back over 120 years. During the Muscular Christianity Movement of the late 1800’s, the local YMCA in Erie, Pennsylvania established what became known as the Erie County Church Athletic Association (E.C.C.A.A.). The E.C.C.A.A. administered competitive leagues across multiple ages and sports. This led to a rich intergenerational history of those who had represented their churches and neighborhoods on the field of play.
It was this league future Paradigm Shift Ministries co-founder Dustin Craig was invited to play in shortly after moving to Erie in 1998.
Our Foundation (2005 – 2007)
In the fall of 2004, the YMCA decided to decommission the E.C.C.A.A. Instead of telling people the program was going away, the outgoing league director began to direct phone calls to future Paradigm Shift co-founder Tony Craig (since he was one of the more vocal church representatives). Representatives from seventeen local congregations gathered together to preserve the 100+ year heritage of ‘church league basketball,’ which continued play for several years, nearly tripling in size to become the largest youth basketball program in Northwestern Pennsylvania.
On October 28, 2005, Tony helped a group of students form a band to lead worship at a regional youth retreat, calling themselves the Created… Music Project. The group saw students come and go, playing wherever they could.
Also during this time, Dustin enrolled at Malone University (then Malone College) to study youth and sports ministry with minors in coaching and sport management.
Our Transformation (2008 – 2013)
In December 2007, Erie church league basketball coaches and representatives decided their program needed to evolve into a true sports outreach program rather than simply a recreational league for current Sunday school students and called on Dustin to be its chaplain.
In 2009, Dustin was invited to speak at the annual Christian Society of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies (CSKLS) on the topic of ‘Bodily Stewardship’ at the University of Ottawa. That same year, he traveled to Honduras in partnership with Scripture Union(Canada/Honduras) and Athletes in Action (Honduras) in order to train local pastors and to establish a church sponsored community soccer program. In 2010, Dustin launched a summer sports camp program for a church in Alexandria Bay, New York. In 2012, he helped to architect a national sports ministry tournament in partnership with the Association of Church Sports and Recreation Ministers (CSRM).
During this time, the Created… Music Project continued to play. Since its first concert, over 70 youth, young adults and some not-so-young adults have played everywhere from soup kitchens to sports stadiums spreading the message that we have all been created for a reason.
Through these experiences, it was realized that in order for sports and music outreach to effect real and lasting change in a community, it must be fully integrated with a local church. This led to the creation of what would be called Paradigm Shift Ministries, which began as a dorm room project in 2009 and took until 2013 to be defined to a point Dustin and Tony felt compelled to create a legally recognized organization.
NOTE: The term Paradigm Shift came from a song written by Dustin called “River Stone”, which describes God’s love breaking down the hardest of hearts like the river erodes the stones in the riverbed. The chorus states: “It’s a paradigm shift, it can take time or be quick. The change will be your own, just like the river stone.”
Our Future (2014 – Present)
During the summer of 2013, the Craig’s moved their base of operations to Marion, Ohio and finalized what this new kind of organization would look like, and to create a not-for-profit corporation (designated as a church in the state of Ohio) to serve as the legal structure for its ministries. Papers were signed in January 2014 to christen Paradigm Shift Ministries, Inc.
Six Thirty Saturday Nite (#630SN) was soft-launched at The Haven on Vine Bed & Breakfast in Marion on November 29, 2014 and began broadcasting live via Periscope on May 30, 2015. Live streaming extended to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in 2016, adding Instagram in 2017.
On May 19, 2015, PSM announced the purchase of The Haven on Vine, which provides a unique addition to the ministries of Paradigm Shift, providing facilities for worship as well as offices, meeting spaces, studio and retreat center.
The Created… Music Project continues to play as the house band for #630SN and performs frequently at community events. The band won the Mid-Ohio’s Got Talent contest in the summer of 2015 and was invited to audition for America’s Got Talent in November 2015.