What to Expect From Camp

Chad_Poe_updated_thumbFor seven years, Chad Poe has been speaking Biblical truth into student’s lives. Chad preaches God’s Word through storytelling, media, and visual experience. As someone not simply called to speak, Chad believes in the importance of relationship and seeks to get to know students when he is away from the stage. Ultimately, Chad hopes to see students moved into a deeper relationship with Christ. 

 

The down payment has been paid for months. You are working the crowd every Sunday and every Wednesday to make sure you fill those last three open spots. Your executive pastor is stressed about how much the bus is going to cost. You have answered 37 questions from the mom of one 6th grade boy that happened to be covered in the information packet that your secretary sent out in February. Rooms have been assigned…and re-assigned…and re-re-assigned. Camp is ready. You are ready.

We know that. You can do this in your sleep. Over your years as a volunteer and/or student pastor, you have logged at least 1 year of that on a plastic cot (and you know why the cot is plastic). The better question is: what are you ready to see happen?

Camp, whether you do it yourself or trust one of the organizations, is a special time in the life of a student ministry. There will be relationships formed that will make or break your group’s future. You will have much more undivided time with student leaders. There are parts of a day where you can play sports or cards or ___________ with kids-just to get to know them. Your group will meet as a whole and rally around the truths that God has taught you that day.

So what should you expect?

Expect students to be transformed by God’s grace. Seeing events through the lense of Acts 17 (He has determined our exact time and place). There will be a teenage boy on your trip who needs to spend time with a Godly man because his dad is anything but that. There will be a young lady who does not feel loved or beautiful that is on a collision course with a worker from the camp or your church who will tell her that she is both. Around every corner, God has a spiritual marker planted for a student to grasp, remember, and cling to when times are difficult. God has placed you, your chaperones, and the camp staff as reflections of His grace.

Expect students to be changed by God’s Word. Whether this is your personal event or you are trusting an organization, pray that students will be impacted by the truth of the Bible. Take notes on what is said from the stage and engage students in conversation about the messages. Ask them about the meaning of the lyrics they sing (or don’t sing). Seek to redeem moments with students that they may not have found to be valuable. For your students who are believers, this is teaching Biblical discipleship. For those who have not placed faith in Christ, this allows you to thread the Gospel into the everyday in hopes of seeing them drawn to Jesus.

Expect students to struggle with commitments when they get home. There is something special about seclusion. It clears our heads and helps us to refocus. Your students will make ideal commitments and attempt to put them into practice in less than ideal situations. The struggles that were addressed while away will still be an obstacle for them when they arrive home. Jesus has told us that there are many troubles in this world. Be prepared for bubbles to burst and students to need you.

Expect the opportunity for discipleship. Before we ever leave for camp, it is beneficial to have follow-ups in place. What leaders do you already have who can disciple students when the decisions are made? What personalities do you see matching up? For the students who have walked away with a desire to lead-do you have a place where they can? By acting on the front side of an event, we save ourselves frantic reaction when it concludes.

Expect God to do immeasurably more than you expected. Read through Ephesians 3:15-20. God is worth the time and effort and sleeplessness and worth all of the other things that could be added to this list. He will strengthen students who are weak. Christ will save students who you thought were not savable and call students who you found uncallable. Wisdom will be found in His Word and students will grow in the knowledge of God the Father. Christ will break ground that begin to root and ground students in love. Look at your trip with gospel eyes and respond to craziness with a gracious, sacrificial heart-because that is how Christ has met you.

Laborers

libby2Libby Shwartz is a senior at NC State University studying Interpersonal Communication. She finds joy in early morning cups of coffee, acrylic paints, and Ben Rector music. This upcoming summer will be her second summer as a Centrifuge Bible Study Leader. She worked Ridgecrest last year and is very excited to serve at Union University this upcoming summer!  She recently had the opportunity to go to Johannesburg, South Africa with some fellow FUGE staffers and loved every second of it.

 

The ground there is nothing but dirt, sand and rocks. The sun shines bright and beams rays of heat that leaves white skin burnt and crisp. The homes stand just short of seven feet tall, made of plastic, metal and cardboard. And the clothes are freshly washed and hanging on a line to dry.

I left my heart in this place. In Soweto, a township of Gauteng, South Africa, that is.

It was left in six year old Offensa’s little shack where Offensa, my teammate and I had an impromptu funny face competition which was quickly followed by sounds of giggles filling the small room. It was left with Offensa’s mother, who was single, unemployed and dedicated to raising a twelve month old baby girl and six year old Offensa with cerebral palsy. It was left when Offensa ran up and gave me an endearing hug goodbye and the sweet memory of walking away, turning around moments later and seeing him still watching us in the street.

It was left in the welcoming greetings and the quick connections where strangers instantly became friends. It was left with the beautiful moments where difference in language did not halt communication, but enhanced it. It was left in the moments of roaring laughter and ear to ear smiles on the faces of seven South African children who wanted nothing more than to be held, chased and loved. It was left in the memory of three of them piling onto my lap and taking turns popping my air filled checks with their tiny hands.

Lastly, and most importantly, it was left with the unfamiliar, but powerful sounds of the Gospel being spoken in Zulu and the reminder that the God we serve embraces culture and His power far surpasses any language or cultural barrier.

My heart is still there. Can’t you tell?

To be completely honest, walking to class this morning was a big challenge. It was hard for me to realize and accept that when I got off that seventeen hour flight yesterday, I said goodbye to South Africa and unwillingly welcomed America back into my life.

As small as this is, it really bothers me that I can’t greet people as I go to class in the mornings without getting a death glare and a snicker here and there from the people surrounding me.

It really bothers me that I feel the pressure to look presentable and nice everywhere I go because of a deep fear of man’s rejection.

It really bothers me that everyday I am subjected to the demands of American culture and its teachings that preach pride and discontentment.

So, you ask, what did I learn in my short time in South Africa? I learned just this. With humility and service, comes contentment. When we are focused less on ourselves and more on the Lord and His work, we begin to deeply appreciate the Gospel in a way that transforms first, our hearts and second, our words and deeds. We lose sight of our own self and become transformed by Jesus, who simply desires our humble submission to His call.

We are called to be laborers. Laborers who attack with intentionality, pursue with truth, and love with grace. So see to it, friends. Because, there is so much work to be done.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” -Matthew 9:37-38

 

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8 Things You Should Know About FUGE Camps

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Claudia Brown is a graduating senior at Auburn University studying Agricultural Communications. This  will be Claudia’s third summer with FUGE serving as Assistant Director in Mobile. She has previously served as an Assistant Director in California and a Mission FUGE Bible Study Leader at North Greenville University. Claudia really enjoys watching Auburn sports, swing dancing, and spending time with those she loves.

 

Unforgettable, life changing experiences from missions to worship. Your youth group will never be the same after attending FUGE camps.

1) It isn’t pronounced “fudge,” its FUGE.

The name “FUGE” came from the scientific lab equipment called a centrifuge. A centrifuge is an apparatus which spins solutions, separating the parts as to different weights and densities. To function effectively, a centrifuge must have an immovable center point. As a youth camp, FUGE mixes students and adults from various churches for one week into specialized groups. Students are spun out into Bible study and recreation groups which affirm them as unique beings created by God and draw them nearer to God who is the immovable center point. At the end of the week, students are brought back together and sent out to make a significant impact on their homes, churches, schools, and communities.

2) So You Wanna Know The Staffers?

Every element of camp is taken care of for each church group that comes to camp. That’s right youth ministers, get excited!  Staffers will be teaching and leading Bible study, recreation, and even silly dances while having intentional conversations with students. The staffers wake up and go to bed ready to serve and be full of energy.

3) Church camp means Bible study.

Every morning of camp, students meet with their Bible study groups to dive into God’s Word to learn more about who Christ is and what He has done for them. This year’s theme is Alive and Free.  Students will be looking at the freedom from the bondage of sin which they can find in Christ and realizing what it feels like to truly be alive!

4) Night Life equals fun time!

Each night of camp, we have something fun in store for your students. This year, our first night will be a celebration with music, lights, glow sticks, black lights, lots of fun and more. Another night, students will be led in an interactive worship night. Some of our locations will also have a costume game night so check out your location’s information to figure out if this applies to your youth group.

5) Worship is dynamic and relevant.

Every night after dinner, the entire camp comes together for a time of worship. Each camp location has an awesome camp pastor and worship leader who will lead this time together. The messages of the camp pastor will relate with the Bible study the students heard that morning, therefore reinforcing what they have been learning at camp.

6) Camp equips your church group.

Never fear, you will not be going through camp without your church youth group all day, every day. Each night after worship, you get to meet up with your church group and reflect on what the Lord has done for your students that day. This time tends to be key growth time for many youth groups, creating a really tight bond.

7) Time for Mega Relay!

At the end of the week, on the last full day of camp, there is an intense head-to-head relay game where every Bible study group competes against each other in the hopes of obtaining the FUGE cup. It is a time of high energy, messy, fun, silliness that cannot accurately be described. So get excited!

8) ITS LIFECHANGING CAMPS!

FUGE is probably most highly known for their slogan of being a life changing camp. As someone who was a camper every year she could be and now serving as an assistant director, I can say I have never experienced a summer of camp where my life has not been changed. God definitely has His hand on every location that FUGE has to offer and, I can guarantee that no matter where you go, God will be there. He will move in incredible ways. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up and take your students to camp!

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES

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Craig Barrack trusted Christ as his Lord and Savior when he was a senior in high school. Less than a year later, God called him to the ministry. He has been serving as faithfully as he knows how through good and bad times since 1995. He finished his Master’s Degree in Youth Ministry under one of the best mentors. He is married to his college sweetheart, Tammy, and they serve together in Crandall Texas at Central Baptist Church. Their son, Stephen reaps the benefits of being their youth group mascot, serving Christ alongside of them as well.

Ministry is one of life’s 24/7/365 jobs. No other calling is so rewarding yet so draining. In the end, though Jesus is our reward, and He graces us with His Spirit to move in and through us. From day to day, how does someone access the gifts and wisdom that God promises?

Five S’s of the Spiritual Disciplines
Security in your call is necessary. Without a solid and secure foundation that is your call to the ministry, your footing at times will seem unsure and unstable. Go back to the time when God spoke into your heart and your life through His voice, circumstances and those around you. How did you feel? What was going on? How did God speak into your life? Those memories will spark in you the security that God did it. He made the impact and presented the call. No pastor, board, teen, parent, or bad day will ever take that away.

Self discipline is essential (1Timothy 1:7). Your commitment to grow and develop your craft will carry you far. So, manage your time. Eliminate and deal appropriately with each distraction. Self-discipline will help you grow in your walk and have a real impact on your ability to resist temptation. This will help you grow significantly. For without growth there will be no fruit. For without fruit, there is no evidence of abiding in Christ (John 15).

Self Examination is critical. You must be keenly aware of your weakness and strengths. What are the things that God could use for the Kingdom? On the contrary, what are the things that if you did not watch closely, could cause you to lose your testimony or disqualify you? Be keenly aware of who you are and of what you are capable? Louie Giglio once said, “Anyone at anytime, given the right circumstances is capable of anything.”

Solitude is a must. Find times to refresh and remain in His presence without the distractions and other commitments weighing on your mind (Mark 1:35, Psalm 46:10). The whole bottom line of Psalm 46:10 is that we are refreshed and renewed so that He may be exalted in all the earth. We have that much impact. We must worship personally. When we lead, often we are thinking of logistics, timeline, details, maybe even praying for others. This makes continuing to grow and serve well difficult. Even Jesus had personal times of solitude often before times of great crisis.

Soak up every ounce of nourishment you can from reliable resources. Find a mentor. Stay grounded in His Word. Stay committed to knowing and abiding in the Word. If you do not continue to go to the well (the Word) for nourishment, you will run dry and so will those whom you serve. Make sure you are soaking up from wise mentors and others who are in your peer group. It is essential to have people that you can go to and bounce ideas off or even be someone who corrects you and disciplines you in love.

SLA: Authentic Community

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Payton Moree has served the past two summers as an SLA in Nashville. She is originally from Metro Atlanta and is currently pursuing a degree in Global Studies from Boyce College at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Payton loves to laugh, drink coffee, get new stamps on her passport, and attend Fuge Camps! 

 

 

I fell in love with this group of people; these eight people who I lived life with, seven who were my age and one who was a tad older, our fearless leader. This woman led us with her whole heart and she led us oh so well. I often get asked why these people whom I just met matter so much. Well, it’s because you learn every part of them, you know what they like and what they don’t. You learn their fears and their dreams. You know what makes them laugh and at times see them cry. You live together (same gender of course, keep it FUGE people), eat almost every meal together, worship together, do laundry together, have Bible study together, serve together, and see life change happen together. I say all this to say you literally do every aspect of life together.

I’m talking about SLA, Student Leader Apprentice, the program where I had the ability to serve for two summers, a total of four weeks. During the course of my four weeks at SLA, I was challenged to live in an authentic, give-all-you-can community. Every aspect of life was shared and this brought about radical life change!

One night during my second year, I remember sitting in a circle with my group and the things God had been teaching became real to me. That night I just laid down everything that was going on and did God move in power that night! I found myself broken as I admitted the things God was showing me. I began to cry in front of these people for the first time. I allowed them to see my broken struggling self. As I poured out my heart, I took a moment to glance at those in my group— not a dry eye. I realized then that they were crying because they shared this burden with me, they were feeling this pain and brokenness with me. Just like an authentic community.

However, I couldn’t just sit on this. This authentic community gave me an opportunity to serve, because it had given me a small glimpse of what Heaven is like and I wanted others to have that as well! I wanted everyone to see this glimpse with me, so when I went into the surrounding community of Nashville, I shared what I could and I offered those I encountered the most important thing I had, Jesus Christ. When you experience authentic community in Christ, it leads to better service and this is exactly what SLA is if you make it.

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SLA is a two-week program offered by FUGE Camps for students who have completed their junior and senior years of high school. This is a two-week program available at Belmont University in Nashville and Glorieta in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Students learn leadership skills and shadow a FUGE staffer. Applications are available online at www.fuge.com. Deadline to apply is February 9, 2015.

 

 

Genesis 3 – Sin and Redemption

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Chuck is the worship pastor at Shoreline Church in Knoxville Tennessee. While his heartbeat is for the local church, he also loves traveling all over the country to lead the people of God in the worship God. Chuck is a  FUGE Worship Leader and will be at Glorieta this summer.  You can learn more about him, listen to some music, and read his thoughts on life and the gospel at www.chuckhooten.org.

My grandfather died September 15th at 5:20 in the afternoon. The joy I have experienced of watching a newborn baby inhale and exhale for the first time stands in stark contrast to watching someone’s chest rise and fall for the last. Both tell a story. Both are God’s language to speak to us truth about the gospel.

We are born questioning. Why do bad things happen? Why do people suffer and die? It is difficult to see the beauty of the sunrise or hear the pounding of the surf, and then reconcile that beauty, creativity, and love with the fact that we live in a world where everyone suffers and everyone dies. But, it is ironic that our questioning of God is at the very core of why this suffering and death exist. We assert ourselves as the authority and demand that God answer us, and in doing so we recreate the very scene in Eden where we first unlocked the floodgates of His wrath. Sin is realized in the actions of the fallen, but its essence is found in the heart that has set itself as the authority on what is to be and how it is to be accomplished.

As Eve stands in the perfection of God’s created world, the serpent comes to her…questioning. It has been by the word of God that everything exists. God has spoken, and the nothing has obeyed His voice and has become something. Where there was emptiness now stands plants, animals, oceans, and human beings. Light and darkness have found their place. The sun and the moon have arranged themselves, along with the stars, in a perfect dance of beauty, power, and spectacle. All of this owes its existence in the speech of God. The serpent will not come and assault the creation, for to any eye the creation is unquestionably good and perfect. The serpent will instead attack the very core of why the creation is good in the first place. The serpent asks the question, “Did God really say?” It is the word of God that the serpent will place on the witness stand and accuse of dishonesty and corruption.

We know the result of this conversation well. Our hearts are now programmed, above all things, to repeat like robots the question of the serpent, “Did God really say?” In the poem, Invictus, William Ernest Henley famously penned the words, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” Here is a true anthem of the human heart. We are at the center. We are in control. We will be asking the questions and we will supply the reason that will validate the answers. We are gods.

God’s reaction is strange. He allows humanity to live. He does not kill us for our mutiny, but in mercy He places constraints on how far our mutinous hearts can travel. We are now born into the hard reality of how unqualified we are to be gods. We create things that kill. We decide on things that are selfish and ugly. We lord over others and demand they bow to our ways, and our ways do not end with the statement, “it was good.” We are unqualified masters, unqualified gods.

Yet in the center of the pain and the night of judgment comes the reality that God is still speaking, and that His words are full of hope and redemption. Genesis 3:15 is the gospel. The serpent will bruise the heel of the woman’s offspring, but the offspring of the woman will crush the serpent’s head. Jesus will come, Jesus will provide, and Jesus will end the struggle.

The road will be long and the price incomprehensible, yet God will provide and persevere with us until Eden is our reality again. If I question anything now, I pray that it is only a questioning of my heart and my intentions. I want God to be God and I want to die. I want my life to be a living sacrifice. I want to someday know that, just like my Papa, my chest will rise and fall one last time to reveal the reality that is God’s provision for my rebellion, and awake to a face to face meeting with the answer to all of my questions…Jesus.