A ‘Super Summer’ time at HLG! . . .
By Brandy Campbell
HLG Public Relations
June 28, 2005
Hannibal—Students today are facing a similar situation that the Old Testament prophet Elijah faced. Elijah heard an earthquake…students hear their cell phones. Elijah heard a rushing wind…students hear the voices of peers, parents, and teachers. With all of that noise, is it possible for students to hear the one thing they need…the still, silent voice of God?
Matt Kearns, Student Evangelism Director for the Missouri Baptist Convention, believes they can. Kearns is the director for Super Summer, the MBC’s youth conference. This year’s theme was “ConnectWithGod.com.”
“Connecting is basic New Testament evangelism,” said Kearns. “We didn’t come up with anything new or fancy. Jesus was all about relationships, and we want to help students learn practical ways to build relationships in a society that spends a lot of its time building fences.”
The first day of camp focused on Connecting with God, which Kearns described as “the most important connection.” Day two taught students how to “Connect with a Friend,” and the third day was “Connecting Friends with Christ.” The final day was on “Connecting Friends with Church.”
“That’s Church with a capital ‘c’,” explained Kearns. “We wanted to show students the importance of connecting with other Christians, which can be accomplished through the local New Testament Church. The Church is God’s chosen instrument for reaching a lost and dying world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We want them to know that when they leave here, they need to be plugged into their local church, and to help their friends get connected as well.”
Super Summer places youth in small groups, with each group led by an adult leader, and every day time is spent in Bible study, recreation and in church group times, as well as nightly worship services called “Joy Explosions.” Kearns said that each element of the week is tied together with the purpose of giving students the practical skills to “love God and love others.”
“That really is the root of it all,” said Kearns. “We pour as much effort as we can into practical training that they can take home and use every day. We want Super Summer to be a place where students can meet Christ.”
“One of the mottos of Super Summer has always been ‘send us your best and we’ll send them back better.’ That hasn’t changed, but we want to swing the door open wider,” continued Kearns. “I firmly believe that nothing motivates people to evangelism more than seeing people’s lives changed by Christ.”
With hundreds of youth leaders and workers also in attendance, Kearns was quick to point out the ministry Super Summer has to youth workers.
“We are here to serve, equip, and love on youth workers,” said Kearns. “We also spend time engaging leadership, and providing a time for them to learn, be encouraged, and be refreshed.”
Tammy Gibson, a leader from First Baptist, Huntsville, said she was impressed with the quality of the leadership at Super Summer.
“I came to Super Summer expecting fun, which I certainly found. But I didn’t expect to see so many men in our convention with such a heart for youth and evangelism. It was refreshing and wonderful to see.”
Speakers for this year’s Super Summer included Brad Fogarty of Armored Outreach Ministries, Henry Jernigan, and Bob Caldwell, director of evangelism for the Missouri Baptist Convention. Worship Leaders were the Christian band By the Tree, and 321 Improv Comedy provided drama. This summer Super Summer was held at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Hannibal and SBU in Bolivar.