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.

8 Things You Should Know About FUGE Camps

FUGE BLOG PIC claudia

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!

SLA: Intentionality & Flexibility

Walt

Walt Harper is a junior at the University of South Carolina where he studies psychology. This summer will be Walt’s third summer with FUGE, serving as the XFuge Host for the past two summers and Assistant Director this year. Walt loves spending time with his family and friends, the 90s, watching Netflix for hours on end, and Carolina football.

For those of you who don’t know, Student Leader Apprentice (or SLA) is a two-week program FUGE offers for students going into or just finishing their senior year of high school. During these two weeks, participants will take part in team-building exercises, Bible studies, and shadowing an actual FUGE staffer. I had the privilege of being a part of this experience. It was two of the most exciting, revolutionary, hilarious, and humbling weeks of my life so far. God taught me so much during my time at SLA. More than I ever expected. But of all the things I took away from those two weeks, two things stand out that I think prepared me for staff: intentionality and flexibility.

Intentionality. I had never heard this word before SLA. Honestly, I didn’t really know what it meant the first time Sean Marie, our SLA leader, said it. Intentionality is defined online as “done with purpose.” My prayer going into those two weeks was that God would break down walls for me and those I met. Man, did He come through on that one! Within the first two days of being there, my SLA group had gone from superficial conversations about school to deep, pointed conversations about our faith, scripture, and ministry. I had never been so encouraged and pushed in my faith by people my own age! It was such a blessing to be a part of such an intentional group of students. Even better: seeing the love of Christ reflected in our friendships. We bonded instantly and began to form real community. Praying for each other’s needs and struggles, sharing what God was teaching us, and encouraging each other daily through scripture and prayer. I came to realize how intentional God had been with me all my life, and I was to reflect that in my relationships I formed.

Flexibility. One thing a former youth pastor would tell us when we went on mission trips was, “you better be ready to preach, pray, sing, or die at a moment’s notice.” While that may sound a little morbid toward the end, we always laughed, knowing he was encouraging us to leave our comfort zones. During the second week of SLA, I was assigned to shadow Hamilton, a PCY (painting, construction, and yard work) track leader. To be honest, I always avoided PCY like the plague as a camper. It wasn’t that I didn’t like being outside, but it just wasn’t something I felt I was good doing. When I had gotten my assignment, I felt a little nervous and slightly defeated. “Well, there goes my second week, down the drain,” I thought. Thankfully, our great God had other things in store. That week, I was brought so far out of my comfort zone on site. God taught me that His plan is greater, even (or especially) when we have differing ones. That week was probably the best week on site that I had ever experienced at camp, getting to help lead and love students.

Yes, intentionality and flexibility were both extremely important for staff life. But more importantly, they have been SO important in my everyday life. God knew what awaited me when I got home from SLA: college life and the challenges and struggles that come with it. I was constantly reminded by God to be intentional not only with other people on campus, but with my time as well. To make sure that I gave Him the time He deserves. I was pushed to be flexible with ministry opportunities I received and class scheduling, knowing that at the end of the day, God was to be glorified in it all. I wouldn’t trade my two weeks with my SLAmily at SLA for anything and I am so thankful I was given the chance to participate in this program. If you or one of your students is thinking about applying, go with Nike’s slogan: just do it!

 

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Why FUGE? A Staffer’s Perspective…

</pMeagan has worked as a FUGE staffer for five summers, three summers as a track leader and two as a MFUGE site director. Currently, Meagan lives in Nashville where she works as a nanny and is also enrolled as a full time student to The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where she is pursuing a Master of Divinity in Missions. Meagan loves road trips, good books, and big cups of coffee. 

It’s not every day that people ask me why I work FUGE camps. As I prepare for my sixth summer of camp, however, the question keeps popping up in conversation. The first summer I worked camp, I was in college and my desire to spend the summer serving students did not surprise people. The second summer I worked camp, people understood that decision, but they figured this would be my last summer. The third summer I worked camp, people became more puzzled, but since I was in a transitional season of life, they figured this summer would be my last “hoorah” after graduating from college. The fourth summer I worked camp, people were confused and instead of asking “why?” asked “do you not have a real job?” The fifth summer I worked camp, people were shocked I was going back for yet another summer and some people concerned for my future, looked at me and asked, “So, why do you keep going back? Why do you choose to work FUGE again and again?”

For five years I’ve traded summers of sitting by the pool, going on family trips to the beach, shooting fireworks with my friendson the 4th of July, mornings of sleeping in, and weekend road trips, to work camp where summers are full of cafeteria food (“Asian Delight” day, I’m still not over you), little sleep, dorm living, thousands of teenagers, and a wardrobe that has already been decided for me.

Why would I do that? Why would I quit my job, leave my friends, and give up my summer to serve churches and minister to students and the community?

Because…

I’ve seen students and adults lives changed

I love experiencing a staff of strangers becoming closer than family

I love serving the community through new ministries each summer

I love screaming about a relay race until my voice is gone

I love free t-shirts

I love worshiping with hundreds of people every night of the summer

I love how clearly I can hear the Lord’s voice when I’m at camp

There is nothing like dancing like a fool at 8AM

You get to meet and connect with more students and adults than in any other context

12AM after MEGA relay is when Waffle House tastes the best

Exhaustion has never felt more rewarding

I think camp gives us a clearer picture of the Kingdom

I love the community and friendship of a camp staff

The best naps I’ve ever taken are after closing celebration on the last day of camp

Camp is a small picture of what an abundant life in Christ should look like

It’s challenging, but the rewards way outweigh the hard days

I love helping equip people to do ministry

There is nothing better than being part of students and adults going from death to life in Christ

I could probably go on and on forever with reasons why I love and choose to work FUGE camps. The biggest reason I work FUGE, though, is because I believe in the life change that happens at camp. I have seen campers and adults come to know Jesus for the first time. I have seen and been a part of life change in Sub-Saharan Africa because of the missions offering given at camp. I have experienced life change for myself. Thanks to FUGE I have been able to serve in communities from Greenville, SC, to Johannesburg, South Africa, to Glorieta, NM, to New Orleans, LA, to Asheville, NC.

I feel beyond blessed to have been part of this ministry for five plus years. Six years ago when I applied to work FUGE for the first time I could have never imagined how different my life would look now because of the impact of this ministry and the work God has done in my life though camp. His grace is overwhelming and his joy is truly a gift.

“I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10

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