WAYNESVILLE—The temperature outside the multi-purpose building at the Pulaski Baptist Associational Campground on the morning of Jan. 2 was frigid. Just inside the building’s doors, however, the atmosphere could not get any hotter.
The date marked the first annual Winter Jam for teenagers in Pulaski and Miller associations. These associations cover the areas around Ft. Leonard Wood and the Lake of the Ozarks. Students who attended the event enjoyed great worship, challenging messages, and lots of games and food throughout the day.
The possibility of having a Winter Jam arose during last summer’s youth camp. In 2009 Miller and Pulaski associations decided to combine their efforts into one solid week of camp. The results were phenomenal with more than 100 students attending and a number of decisions made. By the end of the week many students were asking for something to happen during the school year that would allow them to reconnect with each other. For the camp’s leadership the answer was a one-day blowout during the Christmas break.
On Jan. 2, more than 80 students from 14 churches turned up at the Pulaski Baptist Associational Campground for Winter Jam, which began at 9 a.m. and ended at 9 p.m. Times of worship happened throughout the day and were led by Tyler Montgomery and his band. Tyler is currently a student at Missouri State University. Also, Chris Ballard, a youth pastor in Rogersville, shared four messages with the students during the day. Each time he challenged the students to think of something big that they and their friends could do for God in the coming spring semester in their schools.
Apart from the worship, students enjoyed lots of games, great food, and a concert by Christian rapper Da MAC (Da Music About Christ). Da MAC – whose real name is Michael Lacoste – grew up on the streets of St. Louis and recently graduated from the University of Missouri. He uses his music to share his personal testimony and passion to serve Christ.
A bonus treat for students came when Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Youth Evangelism Specialist Lyle Witcher drove in from the Baptist Building in Jefferson City. Witcher had a number of giveaway items with him and issued his own challenge for students to live for Christ in 2010.
The day ended with the unveiling of this summer’s camp theme: “Little is Much.” The summer camp will focus on discovering the significance of what each and every Christian has to offer God.
The best sign of a great day at Winter Jam came from the students themselves. At the conclusion of the event a number of students asked to stay a little longer and keep the day’s activities going.
All in all, the Winter Jam left participants believing it would become an annual event.