DENTON?The 174 students gathered at the University of North Texas July 12-16 had one goal in mind: to “feel the burn” and to spread its heat among their peers.
Jeremiah 20:9 states: “If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.”
Using the verse as a theme, the students?all considered leaders in their student groups from churches across the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention?mixed classroom time with small group “breakout” sessions talking about such things as servant-leadership and defending their faith against false claims.
No church brought more than14 students to the “Outbreak” student leadership camp this year; most brought groups of six or eight students, which is the camp’s intent, said Tom Cottar, SBTC youth evangelism associate. Last year, some churches brought entire youth groups, but Cottar said he wanted Outbreak to focus on equipping leaders to elevate their ministry and witness. Working with smaller groups of students facilitates that, he said.
“Our goal is to equip students for evangelism and apologetics and to build a foundation of a Christian worldview,” Cottar said.
In a group of about 15 high school juniors and seniors, Ron McGowin, youth pastor at First Baptist Church of Fairfield, explained that Christian leaders must exhibit a servant heart and must learn to love God and others as the Scriptures command.
McGowin said the prerequisites for Christian leadership demand loving God with all one’s heart, soul and mind and then loving others as oneself.
“A loving servant is one who loves God and loves others,” McGowin said.
The week was to culminate with the Youth Evangelism Conference at The Criswell College. See the Aug. 9 edition of the TEXAN for YEC coverage.
Another SBTC-sponsored event, Summer Worship University, was held at UNT simultaneous to Outbreak.
Ken Lasater, SBTC church ministry support associate, said students participated in ministry tracks of their choosing, such as orchestra, vocal music, drama and multimedia.
Last year’s SWU helped several participants assume leadership in developing music ministry geared toward their peers and, in at least one case, transformed a student from a passive observer to an active leader, Lasater said based on reports he got from pastors and youth pastors.
During the daily recreational time and evening worship, students from Outbreak and SWU congregated together, Lasater said.