During two weeks of Super Summer this June, dozens of students professed faith in Christ or followed a call to ministry.
Super Summer is intentional about youth growing in Christ and leaders being developed.
“The camp is for students middle school to high school from churches all around the state,” said Jason Walters, MBC staffer and co-camp director.
The theme this year is “Abide,” based on John 15:5.
“We teach the students how to abide in Christ. We make a point to tell them salvation isn’t earned, but there should be an effort on our part to continue the relationship. We talk of the spiritual discipleship not as a drudgery, but as an act of God’s grace.”
Students were divided in grade-respective groups with morning and afternoon small group times. There are sermons, afternoon recreation, evening worship and a morning “mental health break,” this year featuring the 321 Improv group. Evenings allowed youth to reconnect with their church group.
“Small group leaders from churches, summer college missionaries, help walk the students through the teachings and unpack what they hear,” Walters said.
“We’re the beneficiary of all the pastors and youth leaders. It’s a cool thing to see God take all their work and have the students respond to what God is calling for them,” said Super Summer co-director Matt Kearns.
“The pastors and youth leaders are heroes to me. Many are unpaid volunteers. They use their vacation time to take the kids to camp. We have an incredible number of college-age students helping too. How nice it is to have Hannibal-LaGrange University partner with us and work to have the space and resources available. It’s a big group effort,” Kearns said.
During the two weeks combined over 700 youth attended Super Summer. Some 20 of them made decisions for Christ. In addition, another 50 students have said they want to explore the possibilities or have been called to vocational ministry. Still others have re-committed their lives to Christ.
“It’s exciting,” Kearns said of the decisions.
Dave Becker, a pastor who works with college students at Freshwater Baptist in Bolivar, served at Super Summer for his fifth time. He brought his decades-old experience.
“I went to Super Summer in Illinois for two years, and it was incredibly instrumental in my walk as a young man. I still go over and recall as a pastor things I learned then. It holds me to the mission of love. Our church has a deep conviction of making disciples with of the next generation,” Becker said.
“We get to sow seeds with the next generation and be and make disciples. We believe that and affirm that.”
“I think discipleship, at a minimum is handing the faith and the totality of it in what I once heard called ‘transferable principles.’ My aim is not just a great camp experience. I’m looking 40 years down the road,” Becker said.
Hollee Akers, of New Hope Baptist, Sedalia, completed her fifth Super Summer.
“It’s interesting to see what God lays out on the table for me and what to do with my life,” Akers said. “This past year I’ve been in more leadership roles. It is exciting what God is teaching me so I can give it to someone else.”
Akers really likes the small groups at Super Summer. “It’s where we break down sermons and messages and see how they apply to us.”