Month: August 2017

Reaching Millennial Men: Show, Don”t Tell

FORT WORTH Ministry to Millennial men at Fort Worth’s Christ Chapel embraces a “show me” rather than a “tell me” approach, which aligns with the church’s philosophy that life in Christ is a story meant to be shared.

“We want to transplant the DNA of a missionary into the [everyday] young adult world,” young adult pastor Ben Fuqua explained.

This approach involves bringing church to unlikely places.

During the academic year, Christ Chapel’s college ministry meets on Sunday mornings in the Aardvark bar on Berry Street near Texas Christian University. Services draw more than 200 college students weekly.

The bar is closed till noon on Sundays. Its location inspired the outreach to TCU students when the church’s facilities were full during a building project. The bar owner, not connected to the church, opened his doors.

“One of my favorite parts … has been building a relationship with the owner and his bartenders,” Fuqua said.

Fuqua called the ministry the “frontline” of what Christ Chapel is doing to reach Millennials. College and young adult home groups are also available, as is mentoring by older believers.

For those beyond college, Christ Chapel began Renovate, a Wednesday night service attended by 230-240 young adults, average age 26.

Fuqua preaches three out of four Wednesday nights and said the services are designed to give Millennials a platform to reach co-workers, neighbors and friends for Christ.

“We spend a lot of time, energy and prayer trying to make Wednesday night disarming, not over anyone’s head, where the gospel is shared, where it’s relevant, really holding up the Bible and biblical preaching,” Fuqua said, voicing the church’s intention that services provide “conversation starters” at offices and neighborhoods. 

Each June, Renovate meets outside church walls with activities such as worshiping at parks, feeding the homeless at community centers and partnering with an African-American congregation. 

On June 28, Renovate sent groups to Waterside, an entertainment complex popular with Millennials and featuring a central park surrounded by restaurants. 

“The plan was to mingle and love our neighbors well, maybe buy a few people food and just eat with them,” Fuqua said. “We had a lot of great conversations. Some of our guys picked up the tab for some meals as we engaged with our city and other young adults.

“A big part of our ministry is going to them. We need to enter into [Millennials’] world, see where they hang out, where they do life, where they spend time,” Fuqua explained. “We see Jesus doing this, entering into a world of broken people. He taught at synagogues, but he didn’t only teach at synagogues.”

Even after regular Wednesday night Renovate services, groups are encouraged to go out in the city afterward, “not to huddle together” but to present gospel community where one “can belong before you believe,” Fuqua said.

The American church’s “default position” of waiting upon Millennials to return is concerning, Fuqua added, explaining that Millennials may have heard the truth as children, but they want more. They want to see “what it looks like to be a Christian, to live out the gospel.”

Fuqua admitted that Millennial women are quicker to participate in church programming, while men remain “a little more standoffish.”

“Our approach that we don’t want to just talk at you, we want to walk it out with you, has attracted more men. To tell men that they need to be on mission and they need to be missionaries is empowering.”

—Ben Fuqua, young adult pastor

“Our approach that we don’t want to just talk at you, we want to walk it out with you, has attracted more men. To tell men that they need to be on mission and they need to be missionaries is empowering,” Fuqua said.

This philosophy has led to an unusually high participation rate at Christ Chapel of young men who thrive on community and challenge. In fact, more men than women signed up for a recent coed mission trip to Belize. The missionary with whom the group worked remarked that in more than 20 years, he had never seen men outnumber women on a coed trip.

Chase Distasio, a 24-year-old marketer for a private equity firm who attends Christ Chapel, agreed that reaching young adults is “tough for a lot of churches.” 

Distasio became a Christian in college, afterwards spending a year in Residency, Christ Chapel’s discipleship program.

“Millennials struggle with pride,” Distasio said, adding that he once found church “intimidating,” assuming “everyone inside was perfect.”

“I wanted to have it figured out,” he added, praising Renovate’s commitment to meet Millennials “where they are.”

Christ Chapel has learned that with Millennials, if you challenge them to go, they will respond. 

“We tell our people, ‘You are in the community. You are living in the world that God has put you in. See yourself as a missionary,’” Fuqua said. 

Sam Porter named national director for disaster relief

The North American Mission Board has named Sam Porter as the new national director for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Porter will replace Mickey Caison, who will officially retire Aug. 31. 

NAMB noted Porter has been a proponent of SBDR for years and was one of the first disaster relief leaders to respond after the 9-11 attacks in New York City. He made numerous trips to the area for two years and served as a chaplain in the morgue at Ground Zero. 

Porter also has led more than 100 volunteer mission projects and more than 40 international relief missions. He’s headed recovery efforts for a year in Haiti following 34 volunteer teams from Oklahoma in the wake of the devastating earthquake Jan. 12, 2010. 

“We’ve been praying and looking for Mickey’s replacement for about 18 months,” said David Melber, NAMB vice president of Send Relief. 

“Sam has been in the disaster relief world for a long time working around the nation and throughout Oklahoma,” Melber noted. “He’s proven to be a great leader. I’m excited to see how he’s going to continue unifying our state disaster relief leaders during crisis and how he will bring a new direction for disaster relief that’s going to further build its future.” 

Porter currently serves as volunteer missions specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), which includes responsibilities as the director of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief. His resume of SBDR efforts is extensive. Porter plans to retire from the BGCO Aug. 15 and begin his role with NAMB in mid-September. 

Women”s ministry leaders asked to muster courage to evangelize

FRISCO—Women need to own their piece of the pie in order to advance the gospel, Kathy Litton and Lori McDaniel told women’s ministry leaders during a breakout session at the SEND Conference in Frisco, May 20. The two women took a tag team approach to their session, asking leaders of women’s ministries to move beyond gathering to actively going out to reach those in need of a Savior.

Litton, director of church planter spouse care at the North American Mission Board, and McDaniel, church initiatives leader at the International Mission Board, pulled no punches in asking the packed room of women whether they shared their faith with others.

Using the three parables in Luke 15 as a springboard to describe God’s heart and mission, Litton recounted Jesus’ stated purpose: “‘I came to seek and to save that which was lost.’”

In contrast, the Pharisees “who were standing around making critical statements of Jesus” preferred a strategy that avoided the culture they disdained.

“They said, ‘You come to us. You be like us,’” Litton taught, describing the Pharisees as insular moralists comparable to many churches in America.

In the parable of the lost coin, Jesus conveys “a high view of women to the hearer then and now,” she said. “This woman diligently searched for it … actively, conscientiously and industriously. She’s a woman on a mission. She had spent her precious resources, … got down on her hands and her knees, and she swept the floor, searching seriously and vigorously.”

Finding the coin was great cause for celebration, she added, recalling how “weak-kneed and grateful” she once felt after locating her children who had strayed away from her at a crowded mall.

Just as the first parable of the lost sheep conveys the emotion “when one child is rescued back to the heavenly father,” Litton said the woman who found her coin becomes a model of a woman on mission.

Unlike the Pharisees who preferred to remain cloistered in their own culture, Litton said, Jesus went to where the people were, searching high and low, crossing racial and gender lines “from the woman at the well to Zacchaeus to the disabled.”

“We are players in the gospel ministry,” she reminded. “We are called to the Great Commission.”

McDaniel reiterated, “We passionately pursue people, not expecting them to come, but actually going out. That creates for us needs and opportunities that already exist in our culture.”

While women “naturally gather together,” no matter the culture or place in the world, McDaniel said Christian women can be distracted from the goal of discipleship.

“We gather to study the Bible, but the Bible was not given to us just to study and carry around.”

Putting it even more bluntly, McDaniel admitted, “I fear, because I’ve done it myself, that I’ve taught women how to decorate tables for an event more than I’ve actually taught them how to declare the glory of God.” Instead, she said, women’s ministries ought to leverage a culture of women who naturally gather to advance the gospel, recalling the prayer in Acts 4:29 that believers would continue to speak the Word even after leaving their discipleship gathering.

“Women will gather, but we have to move them from gathering to going, from comfort to mission, from self-centeredness to thinking of other people,” Litton said in calling for bold leadership that moves women to share the gospel.

For nearly a decade baptisms have declined among Southern Baptist churches, while women’s ministry has exploded with more conferences, books and materials, as well as events, she observed. “As leaders we need to own our piece of the pie. What have we really created in our women’s ministry if we’re not seeing women come to Christ?”

Litton conceded that “evangelism has become complicated in a pluralistic, multicultural truth-rejecting world,” and yet women’s ministry leaders can take responsibility for turning the attention of women outward. “Stop the cycle of selfishness and self-centeredness of what they want from the church.”

She warned, “We have a lack of conviction and practice in gospel sharing and creating gospel conversations.”

Litton quoted author Robert Coleman whose book The Master Plan of Evangelism was cited as one of the most influential books in shaping evangelicalism. “‘Evangelism is not an option. It is the heartbeat of all we’re called to be and do. It is the commission of the church that gives meaning to all that is undertaken in the name of Christ.’”

McDaniel asked women to “reject passivity and accept responsibility,” recognizing they were saved and sent with the same gospel message in order that others might also be converted. “That’s where it becomes personal to us,” she said, recalling a time when she realized the Great Commission was not something in which she participated.

 “God began to show me that missions is not two verses in the New Testament that we pick out for the back of our t-shirts for a short term mission trip,” McDaniel said.

By seeing people as “broken and in need of a Savior,” Litton said, “We want to offer them the hope of the gospel that will free from their sin and give them purpose.”

Moving beyond having “cultural intelligence,” the speakers defined “gospel intelligence” as the ability to identify and harness an opportunity to effectively share the gospel in daily situations characterized by spiritual diversity. Once those opportunities are recognized, Litton asked women to muster the courage to share the gospel.

“It just takes three seconds of courage to launch into that,” she explained, asking them to beg God for empowered bravery. “You know you should speak and you’re going to ask a heart question” to create gospel conversations, Litton explained.

McDaniel added, “We’ve got to be okay and comfortable with the messy, the spiritual diversity conversations that we will have with people,” recognizing the many barriers to sharing the gospel. “Ladies, risk something. The frontier of the kingdom of God is never advanced by men and women of caution.”

Having just turned 60, Litton commended a new generation that is calling women to be brave, bold, involved and engaged. “I support all of that use of language and that kind of thought to encourage women, but there’s some acknowledgement that I think we’re missing in this conversation,” she advised. “There is a life-altering thing that is missing and this thing would put more women in the front lines of missions than any other thing. It is the most inescapable call on every woman in this room.”

Describing Jesus’ expectation that his disciples deny themselves, take up his cross daily and follow him as the most quoted phrase by Jesus, she said, “It literally means to say no to your self.”

Litton asked leaders to look around at women in the Christian culture and what is going on in Southern Baptist churches. “Do you see many people choosing to deny themselves? It is not happening. We have a very narcissistic church culture in our country. We love ourselves.”

Matt. 13:44 offers the secret to evangelism, she said, referring to the depth to which a disciple treasures the gospel. “When the gospel is so white hot, so pressing to us, so vibrant in our lives, we are willing to spend our money and our time, not to run around with our best friends all the time.”

Comfort is a primary obstacle, she said. “Our families and our identities are getting in the way” of “the heartbeat that we would follow Jesus and sacrifice.”

Thanking God that women get to participate in the Great Commission, McDaniel said, “Ladies, you have opportunities—first of all with yourselves, living it so you can begin leading other women in your church to gather for a purpose.” She closed by asking women to leverage opportunities in each season of life to advance the gospel here and around the world.

Archaeologists” discovery supports Bible”s Gezer account

TEL GEZER, Israel A discovery of ancient human remains by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary archaeologists has helped confirm Scripture’s portrayal of the city of Gezer in southern Israel.

The discovery, unearthed this summer by Southwestern’s Tandy Institute of Archaeology, included remains of two adults and a child inside a building that appeared to have been violently destroyed by Egyptians in the 13th century B.C., according to media reports. Because the Egyptians in that period preferred to keep vanquished foes alive, “the heavy destruction suggests the Egyptian pharaoh encountered much resistance from the Gezerites,” Southwestern archaeology professor Steven Ortiz told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

That level of resistance, Ortiz told Baptist Press, suggests Gezer was among the more powerful cities in southern Canaan during Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land, as the biblical book of Joshua indicates. Egypt’s destruction of the city occurred either during or immediately preceding the period of Israel’s conquest, Ortiz said.

The new discovery “does fit in with what we know about Gezer in the biblical period,” said Ortiz, professor of archaeology and biblical backgrounds and director of the Tandy Institute. “The King of Gezer apparently was one of the leaders [in the region]. In the conquest accounts, we have him organizing other Canaanite kings. So the biblical narrative has this memory of Gezer being an important city.”

Gezer’s elevated position in central Judea allowed the city to control an important trade route running from the Mediterranean to Jerusalem and Jericho, Haaretz reported.

Joshua 10:33 states that “King Horam of Gezer went to help Lachish” when Joshua attacked it, “but Joshua struck him down along with his people, leaving no survivors.” Some 200-300 years later, Israel’s King Solomon received Gezer as a gift from the Egyptian pharaoh and established it as a fortification (1 Kings 9:15-17).

Ancient Egyptian documents also mention Gezer as a key city in the second millennium B.C., according to media reports.

The newly discovered human remains were discovered inside the ruins of a large building, Haaretz reported. The ceiling of one room apparently collapsed, burying an adult and a child in a meter-thick layer of ash. The other adult skeleton was found in a separate room beneath a pile of collapsed stones.

Artifacts discovered along with the remains included an amulet etched with the names of great Egyptian pharaohs, Haaretz reported.

“We’re just finishing our 10th excavation season [at Gezer], and we’re looking forward to publishing our material,” said Ortiz, co-director of the Tel Gezer excavations. “The importance of this archaeological excavation will highlight the work of the Tandy Institute and the archaeology program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“We look forward to a Southern Baptist seminary being one of the leaders in the archaeology of the land of Israel,” Ortiz said.

Both Southwestern and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary have conducted archaeological digs at Tel Gezer. Among Southwestern’s previous projects was an excavation of Solomon’s fortified city. 

SBTC missions director’s surprise adoption video goes viral

ROWLETT—When SBTC missions director Shane Pruitt and his wife, Kasi, surprised their daughters with the news that they had a new baby sister, the two girls’ reactions were “priceless.”

The Pruitts had been looking into another adoption—they already have adopted two sons—for several months and received a phone call the evening of July 26 informing them of a one-month-old available for immediate adoption. They prayed quickly and agreed to bring the newborn into their family. The next morning, while their four children were sleeping, they left the kids in the care of a grandparent and traveled to pick up their new daughter.

Upon arriving home, they introduced the baby to her new sisters, who were overjoyed. “Are you kidding me?” exclaimed 6-year-old Harper. Her older sister, Raygen, 11, was overcome with emotion and cried with joy.

The Pruitts shared the video with friends on Facebook and Twitter, and the video went viral, being shared and reposted on numerous websites and resulting in a number of national media interviews. The family was surprised by the response but hope God will use it to bring God glory and encourage other families to consider adoption.

See the touching video here:

Open Your Home, Open Your Heart

People gathering together is a universal activity throughout the world. And there’s nothing quite like a room full of women bringing international food!

The air quickly fills with smells of curry and sounds of repetitive conversations. We each have to restate words several times to comprehend what is being said through thick accents (or a southern accent in my case).

Learning to love people from other cultures is a process. It’s not something we automatically do. Have you noticed that? Yet, Scripture says, “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself” (Leviticus 19:34).

Opening your home is one way to create space in your heart for learning to love cross-culturally while also communicating favor and friendship.

Here are some steps I’ve learned:

1 Learn to dissolve presuppositions.

They came in wearing black burqas, they took off their robes and shoes and went to the bathroom to fix their hair. All of sudden these women who crowded around a mirror, chatting and laughing, seemed like, well, normal women. 

Did I really think they weren’t normal because they wore burqas? They were women, like me. I’m the one who mentally put them into a different category. We often make assumptions about someone’s life based on a news clip we saw on TV. We must work at seeing people as people, no matter their culture or beliefs.

2 Learn to be comfortable with being present.

Americans have watches, but other cultures have time. We are fast-paced Americans who feel awkward with silence. When building a cross-cultural friendship, there will be quiet moments where you’ll feel uncomfortable. They probably don’t. In many cultures, presence communicates friendship even in silence. Work at not rushing and just being present.

3 Learn their religion and culture.

Learning about another religion is not denying your own. Asking questions communicates a posture of being interested and often gives insight into why they believe what they do. Ask questions—Why do women cover their heads? Have you been to Mecca? What does the red dot (called a bindi) on your forehead mean?

These are not offensive questions. You’re learning. They want to learn too. By learning about them, you’ve created a safe place for them to ask you questions. And they will—Why do you put ice in your tea? Why do you baptize? Why do you teach people to drink Jesus’ blood?

4 Learn to be confident in the power of the gospel.

Love the gospel, but lose the sales pitch. We don’t have to convince someone that the gospel is true. It is true. And it is the power that brings “salvation to anyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). And we need to lose the fear that we might have to defend our faith. There is a place for apologetics, but often these casual conversations are not it. Ask them to tell a story about their beliefs, and you will eventually have an opportunity to story the gospel.

5 Learn to contextualize.

Don’t alter who you are, but learn to do things acceptable in their culture. I’ve so messed this up. The first time I had Hindus in my house I cooked chicken! They were vegetarian.

Develop a keen awareness to cultural cues and implement them. I’ve learned to eat rice with my hands, and I’ve learned to “bobble” my head side to side. They want to learn American culture, too, and they feel a mutual friendship when you learn theirs.

6 Learn to create margin to live life with them.

Our lives are so busy that we schedule ourselves right out of a life on mission. After you’ve had them in your home, what’s your next missional step to connecting with them? Many internationals living in the States want an American friend. Statistically, few have found them. Let us work at loving foreigners, from our prayers to our daily lifestyle.  

Lori McDaniel serves as a global mission catalyst with the International Mission Board. She and her husband, Mike, and three children were missionaries in Africa before returning to plant Grace Point Church in Bentonville, Ark., where Mike is the lead pastor.

“Roles of a Man” Training series helps churches develop a clear and compelling men’s ministry

While the Man Church phenomenon has gained momentum among some congregations, ministry geared specifically to men is missing in action in many churches today.

In response, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention has teamed with Eric Reed and Don Munton of Houston’s First Baptist Church to produce the “Roles of a Man” video resource, now available online from the SBTC.

Reed has served Houston’s First for nearly a dozen years, most recently as men’s minister, while Munton has been the church’s single adult minister for almost two decades.  The tag team duo disciples Houston’s First men using the Roles curriculum developed by Munton and honed by decades of teaching.

Reed and Munton believe a clear and compelling men’s ministry is vital to the health of a church. When churches step away from specific men’s and women’s ministries, Reed said, they may be forsaking the teaching and equipping of leadership and future generations. Additionally, Munton added, men’s natural proclivity toward passivity combined with society’s devaluing of the roles of men have made the need for discipling all the more necessary.

The practice of men’s ministry is changing, SBTC church ministries associate Lance Crowell said.

“There was a day when large men’s events like Promise Keepers were the norm. We are seeing fewer of these. Fewer churches have men’s ministers. Men’s ministry is incorporated into other areas.”

Lance Crowell

“There was a day when large men’s events like Promise Keepers were the norm. We are seeing fewer of these. Fewer churches have men’s ministers. Men’s ministry is incorporated into other areas,” Crowell explained.

“Churches are rethinking how to engage men holistically,” Crowell added, noting that many churches emphasize smaller groups to create and sustain community. Familiarity encourages participation in church events as men attend functions with their life groups or Sunday school classes.

“The buy-in is a lot higher when you are in relationship. Relationship is where we must engage men,” Crowell added.

A relational discipleship approach requires a solid foundation in the basics of biblical manhood, Reed and Munton told the TEXAN. The Roles of a Man curriculum is a six-week series taught to men of all ages in groups of varying size at Houston’s First.

“We teach from [ages]18 to 80,” Reed said.

The series grew from material Munton discovered in the late 1980s in David McLaughlin’s  book The Role of the Man in the Family. With McLaughlin’s permission, Munton adapted the curriculum, adding material from other teachers, including Kanakuk Kamps’ Hank Harmon. When Reed joined Munton on staff at Houston’s First, they adopted the team approach to teaching Roles of a Man.

As its title suggests, the material is for all men, not simply husbands or fathers.

““Single or married, old or young, single again or empty-nester, the biblical role of the man is for every man in every season of life.”

Don Munton


“Single or married, old or young, single again or empty-nester, the biblical role of the man is for every man in every season of life,” Munton explained.

“Men’s ministry is a three-legged stool,” Reed said, requiring a vision of biblical manhood, faith skills and a supportive, intergenerational community to help when life becomes difficult.

Based on more than 20 Scripture passages, including Colossians 1:28-29 and Genesis 2-3, Roles of a Man declares that men are loved by God and play valuable biblical roles as provider, protector, discipler and servant leader, Munton said.

The series can be taught at a weekend conference, although Reed called the material too “intense” for that setting to be optimal. Six weeks works well, Munton said, adding that initial sessions focus on “perspective,” a term he clarified with sports analogies, likening men’s roles to positions on a team.

The two prefer to teach together. “We share stories from each other’s lives, … pass the baton to each other, interrupt each other if necessary,” Reed said. “We want to model biblical friendship. We don’t believe the world encourages that enough.”

Crowell, desiring to make the resource available through the SBTC, approached Reed and Munton about doing a video series.

Reed and Munton were initially reluctant since the curriculum is evolving and they thrive on audience interaction. Eventually, though, they decided the video would be “healthy” to do.

“The Holy Spirit will interpret for the men watching,” Reed said. “We will be faithful to prepare our hearts and deliver it with passion and truthfulness. We decided to create a resource, not replicate a weekend.”

The curriculum has proved meaningful to thousands of men, single and married, Munton said.

The church as a whole benefits when all men are discipled, Reed and Munton insisted.

“Ultimately, men’s ministry is a ministry to the whole church. It’s not a church inside the church. It is a ministry to the church itself,” Reed said.

At Houston’s First, after each week of class, the men are asked to put into practice what they have learned. The application of theology—called “applicology” by Reed—encourages men to apply their knowledge in Sunday school, community groups or elsewhere at church.

“After the six weeks of classes, these men are stabilizing and enhancing classes and the church,” Munton said, adding that families and work places also benefit long-term.

Men who catch the vision of biblical manhood “step in as a big brother to the [fatherless] children” and participate more fully in the life of the congregation, Reed said. “The more men grow, the more they should be giving their lives away. We see men grow up, and they begin to serve. It’s a beautiful thing.”

“Biblically speaking, I want to equip and train men to walk out of this church to their office space, to their neighborhood, to the little league team, to their families.”

Eric Reed

“Biblically speaking, I want to equip and train men to walk out of this church to their office space, to their neighborhood, to the little league team, to their families,” Reed added.

As for the Roles of a Man video resource, just as McLaughlin originally gave Munton permission to use his original material without charge, the SBTC videos are available at no cost.

“We want to do whatever we can to lift men up and help them play their role in the game of life,” Munton said.

Roles of a Man is designed for groups of all sizes and is available online or in a two-disk DVD set, with a downloadable guidebook, at

LEAD Camp develops high school students into church leaders

LIVINGSTON  With open hands lifted high in surrender, young adults praised the name of the Lord with their gifts and talents during the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s LEAD Camp at Lake Tomahawk Encampment July 10-14. The summer boot camp designed for high school students trained them how to lead their churches and communities through multiple skill sets.

“The goal of this camp is to send these students back home to start ministries in their churches,” Lance Beaumont, camp director and SBTC music and worship technology associate, told the TEXAN. “We try to do everything so that a student has tools and resources to go out and do something.”

During the week students have opportunities to learn how to study Scripture, share their faith, work together to arrange a worship service and utilize lights and sound in a worship service.

“We try to develop the leaders to go back and serve now, and not to wait,” Curtis James, leadership track instructor, said. “We teach the importance of ‘you’re saved, it’s time to get to work, right now.’”

Students choose between three tracks—worship leadership, worship technology and Christian leadership—where they develop leadership abilities and technical skills to apply after leaving camp.

“[This camp] has taught me first to be a better musician but also how to use that as a spring board to be better at leading people in worship and in ministry,” Jacob Cates, a senior and LEAD Camp participant of four years, said. “It has taught me some awesome life lessons about the ministry and a Christ-filled life.”

According to James, the Christian leadership track teaches topics such as team building, hermeneutics (interpreting the Bible) and apologetics, foundations of faith, how to share your faith, event planning and having a global vision for missions.

“We are planning events as one of the things that we are learning. Each group is coming up with their own events, so we have to work together then present it to our leaders,” Esther Par, a high school senior and Burmese refugee from Lewisville, said. “It is a way of spreading the gospel toward other people so we can evangelize, worship and grow with Christ.”

Houston Arledge, a recent high school graduate and third-year LEAD camper, has sensed God’s call to youth ministry and said the camp has helped prepare him for seminary.

“This camp has really helped me learn a lot more about the intricacies in our walk with Christ,” Arledge said. “Apologetics was a huge thing last year, they brought in a speaker and covered it again this year. Hermeneutics has also been a big thing; we’ve learned how to study your Bible better. That is one thing that I am really taking away this year, just really looking at all of the context.”

“[This camp] has taught me first to be a better musician but also how to use that as a spring board to be better at leading people in worship and in ministry. It has taught me some awesome life lessons about the ministry and a Christ-filled life.”

-Jacob Cates, a senior and LEAD Camp participant of four years

For the worship leadership track, students collaborate to put arrangements of songs together, while also learning how each instrument contributes to the whole and what it means to lead in worship, Cates told the TEXAN.

“We do ensemble experiences where we actually put the students in bands and have them work with worship leaders to practice and perform a few songs at the end of the week,” Beaumont said. “Each group has chosen different styles to play as well. One group took a reggae approach, another group chose to perform an old school country route, and the third group chose to play a more contemporary version of southern gospel music.”

The worship technology track gives students the opportunity to work with video, sound and lighting equipment to enhance a worship service.

“At the beginning of the week, we taught the leadership team how to tell their testimony in two minutes or less and then filmed them for the tech team,” Beaumont said. “So, not only has the tech team been able to see how audio and lighting work in a worship service, but they are also working on editing together a video of those testimonies at our showcase.”

Beaumont explained that the camp originated in 2003 by the SBTC for the purpose of training up student leaders so they will go back as the future leaders of the church, better prepared.

“The convention’s commitment to funding this camp financially keeps this camp running every year,” James said. “The convention helps pay for the camp, aids in renting equipment that we use, and they give us any materials that we need.”

The camp will return to Lake Tomahawk next year, July 9-13, 2018. For more information visit