Super Summer to expand from 2 to 3 weeks in 2006
By Brian Koonce
June 28, 2005
BOLIVAR – With the idea of connecting with God, each other and a lost world, more than 500 Missouri Baptist youth worshipped and heard the Gospel together during two weeks of Super Summer June 6-10 and 13-17.
“We were deliberately evangelistic, and as a result we saw a lot of students come to know Christ,” said Matt Kearns, student evangelism specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) and the director of Super Summer.
Hannibal-Lagrange College (HLG) hosted week one, while Southwest Baptist University (SBU) hosted the second of the week-long conferences sponsored by the MBC.
Complete records from all the churches who participated are not yet complete, but at least 23 students made professions of faith over the two weeks, in addition to “multiple other decisions.”
Kearns said the leaders challenged the students at the end of the week to carry on what they learned about evangelism and relationship building. Students were urged to “connect” first with God then to “connect” with their lost friends back home.
“We wanted them to come up with a plan for evangelism,” he said. “As a result of everything they’ve heard this week, what does that mean you’re going to do Friday afternoon when you get home? What does it mean for next week? Next month? Next year?”
Students started each day with quiet time then moved toward “team time.”
“Specifically, the team leaders taught about the importance of building relationships,” Kearns said. “We have a lot students in our state who have been exposed to the mechanics and tools of evangelism, whether that be ‘Share Jesus Without Fear, Evangelism Explosion, the Roman Road,’ etc. The disconnect for many of them is simply knowing how to build those relationships with people. It takes work and effort.”
The morning worship rally came next, after which students could participate in recreation activities or dive into “Next Level” seminars. The seminars gave students a chance to dig deeper into certain topics such as learning how to use gifts and talents for God’s glory, the reliability of the Bible, worship leadership, discipleship, personal evangelism and humility. Kearns also taught a seminar for new believers who accepted Christ during the week.
Each day ended with a worship gathering, then smaller groups of prayer, reflection and devotion with their churches.
“The main drive was not really to communicate more about our topic,” he said, “but to push students toward a passionate relationship with Christ.”
Although it will no doubt be the highlight of many students’ summer, Kearns said that this is only the beginning of the “connection.”
“Super Summer, strategically, is the launching pad for the year,” he said.
In the fall, there will be four “Re-Connect” events, one each in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Cape Girardeau.
Kearns said he challenged the students at the end of Super Summer to be ready for the fall meetings.
“We talked to you about building relationships, now you’ve got three months give it a shot,” he told the students.
In the spring, there will be state-wide leadership development training.
Kearns said the partnership with HLG and SBU is mutually beneficial for the schools and the MBC.
“I love the chance to cooperate with them,” he said. “We love putting students on that campus where they could eventually go to college. It’s a win-win situation for everybody. They make it really easy.”
Although the dates for Super Summer 2006 have not yet been fixed, there will be one week at HLG and two at SBU, Kearns said.