Southwest Baptist University event turns ‘me’ on its head
BOLIVAR—“Me” was the theme of the first of two Super Summers held in Missouri—this one held June 10-15 on the campus of Southwest Baptist University.
“Me” appeared in all the messages of the four nights of worship.
The first night was “The Culture of Me.” That was about how as a culture we are bombarded with messages that tell us that life is all about “Me.” When you go to Scripture, however, you find something very different in the passages. We are to die to ourselves and live to where it is all about Christ.
Tuesday the theme was “Save Me.” “Save Me” about our need for a Savior. Wednesday was “Shape Me.” This theme was about God being the potter and shaping us.
Jeff Carson, a US-C2 missionary with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) who is serving with the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) under student ministries, said that in the message the speaker said: “Sometimes it is not real pleasant when He digs his thumb down to mold a piece of pottery, but He is doing it for our good and His glory.”
Thursday’s theme was “Send Me.” This was about how as Christians we are all called, regardless of vocation, to be missionaries to the culture of the world around us.
One of the most important aspects of any camp is leadership. Milton Baumgardner, who is the pastor of First Baptist Church, Monroe City, talked about the leadership at Super Summer.
“These individuals are about more than just teaching the students,” Baumgardner said. “We have got young adults ranging in age from their 20s to their 40s pouring into these kids. They not only teach them but show them through their life a passion for Christ. They have a willingness to give their lives in service. And so they get to hang out with these people all week long; from when they arrive till when they leave, they are with them 24/7. They get to see it, hear it and feel it, and it begins to click in their minds as well. Kids are buying into selling out for Christ.”
Matt Kearns, MBC student ministry director, began running the Super Summer program three years ago and made a decision to change the structure of the teachers. He talked about that process.
“I noticed we had a lot of youth pastors and folks who had church responsibilities and were serving in that capacity doing some of the teaching duties,” Kearns said. “After talking with a lot of the leaders I thought it would be better to give them sort of a break. They didn’t have to come here and be a part of teaching and those kinds of things and go home disconnected to their students. So we wanted to give them a chance to be together as well. So when we made that decision we also looked for who we could bring in to be teachers. Now all the people that are the leaders are worship leaders, church planters, a couple of folks who teach school. These are top-shelf teachers who love students.”
Another thing that has been a change from the norm for camps at Super Summer is when the students really open up. Carson said that it seems that God opened up the students’ hearts sooner than expected.
“Typically you have to wait until Thursday night for students to really open up and let God move in their lives,” he said. “This year it seemed like God was working in students’ lives before they even got here. Students seemed to have freedom in worship.”
Emily Foreman, a NAMB semester missionary who also works for MBC Student Ministries, talked about how the students were freed up to worship.
“Monday night we talked about breathing out the junk in our own lives so that we could breathe in the Holy Spirit and be filled with the Lord instead of the distractions and the crud of daily life and sin,” she said. “Then we gave students index cards to write the things that they feel they needed to breathe out and we told them that they were anonymous and that we just wanted to give them an opportunity to let some of those things out so they could receive the Lord and the teaching He gave.
“Then we prayed over those index cards and it was pretty incredible to read some of things the students wrote down because even though they are 13, 14, 15 and 16, they have real issues and problems going on in their life. It has been really cool to see students come to Super Summer who may not know the Lord and understand what it means to have a relationship with Him and be passionate about Him and worship. Then to see that process take place at Super Summer, where students open up, and to witness their eyes opened to the reality of a relationship with Christ. Just the excitement that comes along with that is so contagious.
“One girl who accepted Christ told me about how ever since they got there, she and her friend were constantly talking about spiritual things because everyone was talking about them and she said that she has never really talked about them before coming to Super Summer.”
Kearns also talked about the worship experience at Super Summer.
“We saw the spirit of God break loose in the lives of some students,” Kearns said. “We saw students getting their lives right with Him and students being obedient and taking a step to do something that God already had asked them to do. Students were making phone calls to friends and some to their parents. I’ve heard stories from students calling to ask for forgiveness. Some students called their friends to tell them what Jesus had done in their life. Some came to know Christ—students who came here angry and bitter and ate up with all kinds stuff in their life. I have now read the words that they have written about how the peace of Christ has come over their life.”