Bryan Alderman is a senior at Bryan College in Dayton, TN where he is the Lead Resident Assistant in one of the men’s dormitories. He is finishing a double major in Communications and Biblical Studies in May and is seeking to pursue the Lord’s call into full time ministry through seminary and eventual vocational church involvement. After attending FUGE camps throughout high school, He served at FUGE in Charleston (2014) and West Palm/Orlando (2015) and will serve at Mississippi College this summer. He enjoys playing and writing music,teaching, reading, relationships, movies, and the beach among many other things.
Sporting confident smiles, turquoise Alive and Free tank-tops, and flat bill FUGE hats, we marched around Orlando’s Universal Studios catching side glances and double takes from just about everyone we passed. A few people stopped and, compelled by curiosity, asked my fellow FUGE staffer and I the question everyone was wondering.
“Why did you shave half of your face?”
Mere hours before, hundreds of students and youth leaders watched and laughed as David Stephens and I had half of our beards shaved off, on stage, during morning celebration.
This strange barbershop enterprise was the fulfillment of a promise that if the Orlando FUGE students raised over $3500 for missions during the week, their worship leader (myself) and the keytarist (David) would shave off half of our beards for the camp’s daytrip to Universal Studios.
They raised the money, so we shaved our beards. Well, half of our beards anyway.
In a humiliating sort of way, it may have been the highlight of an already remarkable week that I spent as the Worship Leader and Assistant Director for the Orlando team. The memories I made that week with fellow staffers, students, and leaders alike will forever come with me.
That is certainly not to say that the week in Orlando is vacationesque! Though you will have plenty of people give you the “Oh… Orlando FUGE? Two days of ministry and a day at Universal? You’re really suffering for the Lord, aren’t you?” this week is filled with challenges and opportunities for everyone who is a part. Take it from the native Orlandoan.
I spent the first nineteen years of my life living in Orlando. My childhood took place largely on the west side where the house two doors down from us was broken into on multiple occasions. Despite the fact that my family later moved to the north side of the city, I still spent a decent amount of time in the rougher suburbs, especially while dual-enrolling at a community college in the area.
With that said, the city has, in a way, grown up as I have. Orlando’s city spirit gradually increases as the attraction sites continue to blossom, sports teams flourish (sort of), and the fine arts also begin to find a home in The City Beautiful. The downtown area continues to become more artistically and functionally impressive, as do the attractions on International Drive across the street from where FUGE stays. If you have not been to Orlando, trust me when I say you will not regret your visit.
When it comes to XFuge in Orlando, you’ll find the same opportunities MFuge affords everywhere; broken people in need of true love and the Gospel. You’ll have the chance to minister to those individuals, whether through service, evangelism or any other number of ways.
If you’re not excited about the day at the theme park because you want to do FUGE ministry sites three days instead of two, know that you are understood and the option for a third day can be afforded to you! But also know that over 8 million people visited Universal Orlando in 2014, and on any given day, the parks may see upwards of 30,000 people. None of your ministry sites will have anywhere close to that number of people ready to be loved!
And I’m not saying you have to… but if you shave off half your beard for missions, I guarantee you will get to have Gospel-centered conversations with at least a few of them! I certainly did.
The week in Orlando is fresh and fast paced. You stay in a hotel with tourists. You have worship services in a ballroom of that hotel. You stick together as a church family and do as much inner city work as can possibly be done in two five-hour days. Finally, you experience a “track” totally unique to this location: theme park evangelism; an opportunity to love on people from all over the world at Universal.
And while you’re loving on them with positive attitudes, explosive energy, and random acts of kindness, you might just get to enjoy one or two conversations about Jesus.
Trust me when I say that the people from Orlando are hungry for Him. My prayer is that you will go and point them in His direction.
2015 Orlando Staff
2015 Orlando Band