Monday, November 24, 2008

Warrior Camp Update: Thanksgiving Edition!

Warrior Camp Team,

I hope this Warrior Camp Update finds you having a great Thanksgiving week, with lots of turkey, football, family, and Idaho mashed potatoes!

(If you're receiving this update, it's either because you're on our Warrior Camp Team, you've given me advice, or because you're one of my friends or family who I thought would like to hear what's new with our camping ministry).

Here's a quick snapshot of what's in this November update:

1. Interesting Discipleship Expansion
2. Weapon Workshop meets Christmas Elves
3. Voice of a Warrior
4. Warrior Princesses?
5. Army of Warriors
6. King

1. Recently, prayerfully sharpening our Warrior Camp discipleship has become a priority of renewed focus. To this end, we just added another interview to the growing archive of what Godly girls look for in young men. This is where I ask the big questions to young women... and then share the answers at Warrior Camp! It's alot of fun, and will be put into play in our discipleship, as we encourage young men to live out their manhood as a powerful gift from God which finds beauty in femininity and fulfillment in bringing strength to it. (In our first Warrior Camp, the lesson on "What a Godly Girl Wants" was the favorite for 3 out of 4 campers!)

2. With Christmas around the corner, the smoke stacks of the Weapon Workshop are billowing at full volume! So far, our Christmas elves have hand-crafted 4 high-performance blow-guns, with 12 more nearing completion. (If you've ever disappointedly thought a nerf gun's power leaves something to be desired, this is for you!). If you'd like to speak to one of our "elves" about requesting one for Christmas, feel free to email him at

3. The Warrior Camp Brain Trust is always looking for new, creative, and cutting edge ideas and feedback from friends and family. Many ideas are currently archived deep in the iron-clad vaults of our website, for future reference. However, within the last few months, one idea in particular from a friend, has been marinating. In the next several weeks, Warrior Camp will begin exploring additional venues of getting the word out, particularly through local Christian radio outlets, narrated ministry bios read over the air, and/or online community bulletin boards. This will allow Warrior Camp to inform more area youth pastors and youth workers about our distinctive ministry, and better connect us to others for ministry. To all the friends and family who have prayed for us or shared their ideas, thank you so much, and keep them coming!

4. Ready for a surprise? A young lady with a large resume and a firmly-grounded spiritual anchor has stepped up, inquired, and volunteered to help get the ball rolling for "Warrior Camp" for girls. Yeah, it caught me a little off-guard too! Since many of our signature games might be likened to Braveheart-meets-Disneyland, they are not something I would send my sisters into! But after my initial shock, it's been an unexpected and fresh surprise hearing her vision for girls ministry and bouncing ideas around about what form this sister-ministry might take. In case you're wondering, she the kind of young woman that always jumps in with both feet, loves the outdoors, and is an avid river-kayaker! But more importantly, she's a Christ-follower to the bone with a life worth emulating. The name of the sister ministry? So far, "Warrior Princess Camp" may be emerging. Send us your ideas. (Maybe we'll call her Xena!).

5. Taking it up a notch: In the near future, Warrior Camp will begin pursuing a ministry partnership with the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army has centers all over the country, and some centers offer after school programs, open gym time, and recreational activities for youth. The tentative plan is for Warrior Camp to come alongside the Salvation Army by offering Warrior Camp Games, the Weapon Workshop, and evangelistic and discipleship initiatives to youth. This Warrior's Bash would be hosted across 1 or 2 days, and would take place after school and/or on weekends at Salvation Army campuses starting in Idaho and/or Central Virginia. We're excited about the potential new opportunities this partnership might afford, and your prayers for it are desired!

I hope you're all having a great Thanksgiving and Christmas season! I look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy the fellowship, food and laughter as you celebrate the abundant goodness of God!

In Christ's love,


PS: A final word from John Eldredge:


Picture in your mind’s eye an image of a great warrior, a renowned champion, returning home from far off lands. His fame has long preceded him, and now the reports of his feats are confirmed by the scars he bears, the remembrance of wounds more noble than any tokens of honor. With dignity he moves up the main causeway of the city, lined with the faces of his people, the very people for whom he has fought bravely, whose freedom he has secured. The warrior has returned after years on the field of battle, returning only when triumph was achieved and not a moment before. This is his homecoming, and it is as a conquering hero he returns. Before him, at the head of the street, stands the king, who is his father. The scene is both a homecoming, and a coronation. For the father-king will now hand the kingdom over to his son. Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven….about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever” (Hebrews 1:3,8). It could be a passage from David’s life, for he came to the throne after proving himself as a warrior. But I am referring to Jesus, of course, and while this is all quite true - biblically, historically – I’m afraid the power of it eludes us. Few of us have ever lived in a kingdom, under a king. Even fewer have ever met one. Jesus lived the days of his youth as the Beloved Son, secure in his father’s love. He matured as a young man working in the carpenter’s shop, and through his time in the wilderness. And then he went to war, and as the great Warrior he rescued his people from the kingdom of darkness, threw down the dark prince, set the captives free. As Lover, he wooed and won the hearts of his bride. And now, he reigns as King. Thus the progression of his life as a man, and thus ours. (The Way of The Wild Heart , 217, 218)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Warrior Camp Update: Anniversary Edition!

Warrior Camp Team,

Hello all and Cead Mile Failte! I hope this Warrior Camp Update finds you well. If you're reading this, it's either because you're on our Warrior Camp Team, you've given me advice, or because you're one of my friends or family who I think will enjoy hearing what's new with our camping ministry.

This update is a special and celebratory one, because this month, September 2008, marks the 1 year anniversary for Warrior Camp! It was an early and unexpected opportunity that God opened to us 12 months ago, and a beautiful Saturday, September 8, 2007 marked the first Warrior Camp in world history, where 17 young warriors in the great Northwest showed up for a day-long blitz packed out with making swords, capture the flag, team slayer, sword combat training, raft relay races, Scottish Highland Games, Scavenger Hunting, the masterpiece of messy (aka “Gladiator”), great food, prayer, encouragement and discipleship in growing into a radical young man after God’s own heart. (If you want to relive the experience on our 1 year anniversary, go ahead! Check out the immortalized “Warrior Camp Pics” at

Now normally, our updates to you provide a snapshot of what we’re working on for the near future, as well as the latest on how the Warrior Camp ball is gaining momentum and rolling forward. This update will be different, and I can think of no better time to be encouraged and reminded of where God has brought us from and how He has blessed our effort. So without further adieu, I hope you enjoy this Warrior Camp Update…Anniversary Edition!

#1: An early lesson from an unexpected, yet smash-hit maiden voyage
It would be wrong to say that we were ready to host Warrior Camp in September of 2007. Personally, my summer calendar had little room for anything else besides the annual family camping trip, possibly trimming my Grandpa’s hedges, but most pressingly, wrapping up my thesis, which was ripe for completion. Looking back however (which is often the way it works!) I can see God’s provision for Warrior Camp, and this before we were even ready or praying for an opportunity. So when the opportunity came, we had to act fast. Sell it to the students, inform the parents, plan the day, make flyers, create the games, somehow get all the game equipment we need and, most importantly, sculpt the discipleship…all in 2 weeks! It was a rush, but as we found out later, went over even bigger than we thought with the Warriors, who months later continue to tell me they still have their sword and want to go to Warrior Camp 2! But after we had dropped all the students off at the end of Warrior Camp, it was one of those priceless moments where, sitting in the driver’s seat with your head back, you’re in speechless awe at the goodness and grandness of God. From the beginning, Warrior Camp has begun and emerged from vision to reality through the activity of an awesome God.

#2: Why we do what we do
I actually didn’t find out until a few weeks after our first Warrior Camp had concluded, but one of our churched warriors (we’ll call him Brian) had invited one of his non-Christian friends (aka “Tony”) to Warrior Camp, even though Tony had never even been to the attending church’s youth group before. It’s a humbling testimony of praise to God that we got to plant a seed, which over the next few weeks would be watered in Tony’s heart. Tony is now a growing Christian and a regular face at youth group. In the final moments of Warrior Camp, two other students expressed a fresh desire to get back into the Word shortly before we closed out our day in group prayer on the beach. When we received additional feedback through brief survey, it was encouraging to read their responses, and many other Warrior Campers testified to having grown closer to God through the discipleship = mission accomplished.

#3: Not a solo flight!
Since our first Warrior Camp, a team of spiritually mature, like-minded men have rallied behind Warrior Camp in one way or another. Though the monthly updates may have my name at the bottom, I stand arm in arm with a team I’m really excited about, and who, around early March 2008, got together for a big chunk of time, scoped out a potential Warrior Camp Destination, and who shared a new vision together. Our combined strengths were a surprising blend that included extended ministry involvement, speaking, mentoring, relationship building, discipleship methodology, game innovation, orienteering, navigation, and ropes course skills, camp experience, collegiate preparation, and … heavy combat expertise in the SCA! And yet we were all energized by the distinctive themes of Biblical Masculinity, Chivalry, Integrity, Medieval themes, Warrior themes, and living Wild at Heart before an awesome God. Since then, interest has continued to grow, and it’s not uncommon for me to be encouraged by another brother in Christ who hears about Warrior Camp and quickly volunteers to help!

#4: Location and provision
Close to 2 years ago, a friend invited me to visit her church. The message and fellowship were great, and after the service, she introduced me to the Senior Pastor. During our conversation, he asked me about future plans, guessed it, Warrior Camp dominated my answer. To make a long story short, he hooked me up with his brother, who has 200 acres of farm and ranch land in Lynchburg , and who, apparently, was eager for some sort of ministry or camp vision to be implemented on his property. Since then, we’ve been able to meet the owner, visited the property as a team, and envision all the exciting things his land would allow us to do. Since then, a second owner with beautiful property has indicated a desire for his land to be used for ministry. Others have expressed interest in supporting Warrior Camp in other ways. Moral of the Story: God provides!

#5: Online presence
Since our first Warrior Camp, we’ve created an online face for our ministry and given it multiple (and beneficial) facelifts! The website contains highlight pics, a quick look at what goes on at Warrior Camp, a youth pastor link, a discussion boards link, our vision statement, Bible verses, our signature game and rallies arsenal, the Warrior’s reading list, Warrior Surveys, an online Catapult Game, and more. Warrior Camp also has a Facebook and Instant Messenger profile which will allow Warrior Campers to interact online with each other and with Warrior Camp leaders, no matter where they are. Warrior Camp Myspace and the Warrior Camp Promo Video are both on the horizon, so stay tuned.

#6: A distinct fingerprint
Since our first Warrior Camp, our Gaming Scientists have been nose to the grindstone mixing chemicals in order to find the holy grail of epic fun. The Warrior Camp faculty of Discipleship Professors have also been working overtime as they set about with fresh purpose in prayerfully envisioning a ministry methodology of maximum impact for young men that breaks defunct molds and invents more effective wheels. They are still at work, and so your prayers and praises are greatly appreciated as we proceed onward. However, Warrior Camp has been making significant progress behind the scenes in this regard, and, like previously wet concrete, is beginning to solidify with its own unique and distinguishing features. Unfortunately spiritual, moral, and gender confusion among youth is prevalent and deserves a sober response, especially as these have led to a breakdown in young male leadership, damaging misconceptions about God, mediocre relationships, misdirection, and unnecessary slavery to sin. Furthermore, it doesn’t help that some loud voices have emasculated Johnny Doe by always telling him to sit still, be domesticated, and color pink butterflies. Not on our watch. At Warrior Camp, Johnny is encouraged to be a boy, play hard, laugh hard, and to channel his fuel into living distinctively for an awesome God who made him and loves him. Keep our efforts in prayer!

#7: The cutting edge
We've recently submitted one of our signature man-crafts from the Warrior Camp Weapon Workshop to a toy lliason and marketing company for patenting and possibly for mass production. It's an exciting opportunity for Warrior Camp and you're invited to pray about it with us!

I hope you’re as encouraged as I am that like a 1 year old child, Warrior Camp is crawling less and beginning to walk more. Only God could have brought us this far, this fast, and with a mission this great.

Grow Strong,

Derek Bartlow

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Warrior Camp Update (8-23-08)

Warrior Camp Team,

Hey! I hope this Warrior Camp Update finds you having a great weekend. If you're receiving this update, it's either because you're on our Warrior Camp Team, you've given me advice, or because you're one of my friends or family who I thought would like to hear what's new with our camping ministry.

Here's a quick snapshot of what's in this August update:

1. Warrior Camp Facebook Profile
2. Warrior Camp in Washington State
3. Tyson's Warrior Camp Sword Fest in Massachussets
4. Stephen Lawhead writes back
5. A 2nd Warrior Camp Land Opportunity in Lynchburg
6. Big Praise: Interest in Partnering with Warrior Camp
7. Website Facelift
8. Spreading the Word
9. Coming Up: Discipleship Renovatio
10. Big Question: What is the Biblical Basis for Warrior Camp?


1. I forgot to mention this in the July update, however Warrior Camp is now set up as a group on Facebook! As Warrior Camp continues to gain momentum, this will serve as a social network where Warrior Campers can find each other, talk, interact with other Warriors and Warrior Camp leaders, post pictures, videos, post game records, and keep in touch between camps, even with Warrior Campers from other youth groups or other states whom they've never met in person. Posting prayer requests, praises, spiritual milestones, and Warrior Camp highlights are also new opportunities. If you'd like to check out the Warrior Camp facebook group, type "Warrior Camp" in a groups search.

2. Since the July update: My cousin John Bartlow, who was my right hand man at our first ever Warrior Camp, served as the paintball gaming boss at a Christian youth camp outside of Spokane, Washington this last summer. One day he shared his testimony during Camp church, and mentioned the Warrior Camp ministry he was involved in. A youth pastor from the tri-cities area in Washington heard his testimony, and, as I learned later from John's call, wanted to know if Warrior Camp was mobile and can travel to put on a Warrior Camp for their youth group. This got us pretty excited, because the portable Warrior camp blitz is exactly where we're starting from, and eager to minister through. So stay tuned, and praise God for an opportunity like this one!

3. In the last update, I shared about Tyson's upcoming customized Warrior Camp Sword Fest with his home church youth group in Attelboro Massachussetts. I got off the phone with him a few minutes ago, and it was pretty much a blast for the students (aka "Warriors"). The Warriors were a group of mostly highschool students who were taken through the Weapon Workshop in which they got to make their own padded sword. On Wednesdays and Fridays for 3 weeks, they showed up to play team slayer against each other, with Ty and the youth pastor also in the frenzy. Thanks for praying for Ty. It went great!

4. In the last update, I mentioned the letter I recently sent to British Author Stephen Lawhead, whose Christian faith and epic tales of adventure sowed the seeds that originally inspired Warrior Camp. Well, since then...he's written back! His reply is now posted on our Warrior Camp starter website. If you'd like to check it out, click on the left-margin link at:

5. Some of you might remember how God already opened a great door to an awesome land location for us in Lynchburg. This past Thursday night (8-21-08), it seems as if another door could be opening. I was out with some friends and my sister for her birthday, and one of the gentleman in our group (who will remain anonymous) started asking me about my future plans. Naturally, Warrior Camp came up! As the conversation continued, he shared about some great camping property he had purchased and how he and his wife would love us to check it out, and even go 4-wheeling with them on the property. They're an awesome couple, and another exciting and humbling reminder that God is a Provider. More to come...

6. More people have expressed interest in supporting Warrior Camp = a big praise.

7. Our starter website continues to improve with each new "facelift." To check out the latest changes, go to

8. Since the last update, two additional area churches know about Warrior Camp and our sincere desire to partner with them in helping them fulfill their goals for their youth. Pray for the youth pastors of Lynchburg. They're on the front lines.

9. Over the last few days, God has been stirring me to pour myself into growing the discipleship aspects of our camp ministry. Some of these fresh themes include adopting a strong creed that you live by, guarding your heart, and growing first into a man after God's own heart who then is a man whom godly girls can be excited about. Over the last several days, one of my friends who is a mature, godly girl allowed me to interview her on some of the biggest questions we men want to know the answer to. It was a gold mine of admonition and encouragement, and will soon comprise a valuable part of our discipleship, which is genuinely the beating heart of Warrior Camp. While we want to sculpt and paint the most unforgettable games we can, the superior triumph is when a student repents and places his faith in Christ, or when a believing student establishes another great spiritual milestone in his walk. This additional surge on discipleship is where I believe God is leading our ministry. Praise God for a crystallized direction, and pray for His anointing upon it. More to come...

10. Since the last update, I came across a question that really stuck with me, and truthfully cuts to the chase of Warrior Camp's significance. The question actually came in the form of a challenge, and said something to the effect of, "Don't give people your own plans and your own vision. Rather, give them a transcendent, greater calling. One that comes to them from God Himself. One found in His Word." That challenge rings of truth, and raised in my mind the question of Warrior Camp's Biblical Basis, which is a pretty important (and healthy) question to wrestle with!

So what is the Biblical basis for Warrior Camp? What a great question, and one that we must thoroughly answer if we'll be properly grounded. For starters, ever since the fall, there's been evil in this world, and evil opens the door and creates a huge, gaping need for there to also be courage and bravery, which can combat it. Take courage, valor and bravery away, and what do you have left? David would have been a coward. The Phillistines would have won. Israel would have been enslaved again. Daniel would have stopped praying. Darius would never have known of Daniel's God. Daniel's friends would have bowed to the statue. Nebuchadnezzer would never have banned idolatry and insisted on worship of the true God. Peter and Paul would have finally abandoned the gospel to save their necks. Most of the Gentile world would have remained in the darkness of paganism. And on a different continent and different time, the Nazi panzer divisions would have stormed across American soil. Ever since the advent of evil, God has encouraged us to be strong, brave and courageous. This is why God was always telling the Israelites and their leaders to "Be strong and courageous" - cause evil demands a fight, and a victorious one that preserves good and vanquishes evil and darkness. But that's not just for way back then. Today, there's still a place for those who will stand up and be the man, men who are strong, brave, good and courageous. Eldredge points out that God is a Warrior. Look at this:

The Lord Is a Warrior!
I think even a quick read of the Old Testament would be enough to convince you that war is a central theme of God’s activity. There is the Exodus, where God goes to war to set his captive people free. Blood. Hail. Locusts. Darkness. Death. Plague after plague descends on Egypt like a boxer’s one-two punch, like the blows of some great ax. Pharaoh releases his grip, but only for a moment. The fleeing slaves are pinned against the Red Sea when Egypt makes a last charge, hurtling down on them in chariots. God drowns those soldiers in the sea, every last one of them. Standing in shock and joy on the opposite shore, the Hebrews proclaim, “The LORD is a warrior!” (Ex. 15:3). Yahweh is a warrior. Then it’s war to get to the Promised Land. Moses and company have to do battle against the Amalekites; again God comes through, and Moses shouts, “The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation” (Ex.17:16). Yahweh will be at war. Indeed.. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Then it’s war to get into the Promised Land—Joshua and the battle of Jericho, and all that. After the Jews gain the Promised Land, it’s war after war to keep it. Israel battles the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Midianites, the Egyptians again, the Babylonians—and on and on it goes. Deborah goes to war; Gideon goes to war; King David goes to war. Elijah wars against the prophets of Baal; Jehoshaphat battles the Edomites. Are you getting the picture?

Many people think the theme of war ends with the Old Testament. Not at all. Jesus says, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). In fact, his birth involved another battle in heaven (Rev. 12:1–5, 7–8, 17). The birth of Christ was an act of war, an invasion. The Enemy knew it and tried to kill him as a babe (Matt. 2:13). The whole life of Christ is marked by battle and confrontation.. He kicks out demons with a stern command. He rebukes a fever and it leaves Peter’s mother-in-law. He rebukes a storm and it subsides. He confronts the Pharisees time and again to set God’s people free from legalism. In a loud voice he wakes Lazarus from the dead. He descends to hell, wrestles the keys of hell and death from Satan, and leads a train of captives free (Eph. 4:8–9; Rev. 1:18). And when he returns, I might point out, Jesus will come mounted on a steed of war, with his robe dipped in blood, armed for battle (Rev. 19:11–15). War is not just one among many themes in the Bible. It is the backdrop for the whole Story, the context for everything else. God is at war. He is trampling out the vineyards where the grapes of wrath are stored. And what is he fighting for? Our freedom and restoration. The glory of God is man fully alive. In the meantime, Paul says, arm yourselves, and the first piece of equipment he urges us to don is the belt of truth (Eph. 6:10–18). We arm ourselves by getting a good, solid grip on our situation, by getting some clarity on the battle over our lives. God’s intentions toward us are life; those intentions are opposed. Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes.
(Waking the Dead , 14–16)

Our vision for Warrior Camp is first God's vision.

I hope you all have a great week! I'd love to hear what God is doing in your life.

Grow strong,


Monday, July 21, 2008

Warrior Camp Update: 7-21-08

Warrior Camp Team,

Hey! I hope this Warrior Camp Update finds you having a great summer. If you're receiving this update, it's either because you're on our Warrior Camp Team, you've given me advice, or because you're one of my friends or family who I thought would like to hear what's new with our camping ministry.

1. Ty Smitherman, one of the mvp's on our Warrior Camp Team is gearing up to host what we might call a customized Warrior Camp Sword Fest with his home church youth group in Attelboro, Massachussetts. It's scheduled for the first week of August, and so he's already started building the padded foam weapons (i.e. "boffing swords") and engaging in trial battles with the students. I just got off the phone with Ty, and the youth pastor is completely behind it...and then some! We may be able to get some pics, so stay tuned. This is a pretty awesome God thing, so pray for Ty and the students, and praise God for the opportunity. (In case you were wondering who won the trial battle, Ty was outnumbered 9 to 1, but he still took out 7 of them before getting stabbed in the back! Way to go Ty, and keep us posted on the Sword Fest!)

2. Since the last update, our starter website has been given one if it's biggest "face-lifts" yet. New links include "How Warrior Camp Began," which (as promised) opens a letter recently sent to British author Stephen Lawhead (who is also a Christian) which describes how God used his fantasy literature to inspire Warrior Camp. The new "Blog and Updates" link will take you to a running, blog-based archive of all the Warrior Camp Updates to date and provide an easily visible overview of God's orchestration in Warrior Camp's progress from the beginning. Here, you can also leave comments, feedback, and interact with what's going on at Warrior Camp. Gotta admit...the new blog is pretty cool! The "Coming Up" link shows the slew of games, rallies and other cool stuff in the Warrior Camp Arsenal. Feel free to check out the new changes at: As always, if you have feedback or ideas, I want them! :o)

3. Just today I received in the mail some big bungee cord samples from an elastic company based in Rhode Island. Why bungee cords you ask? Because here at the "Warrior Camp Game Laboratory," we're always slaving over our beakers and test-tubes in pursuit of the holy grail of fun. One of our current projects is conceptualizing a prototype for a rocket slide that may actually qualify for the prestigious status of making it into the Warrior Camp Top 10 Games Arsenal. We're optimistic that our game-artists and game-scientists (like the Star Trek space-ship) are boldly going where no man has gone before. Stay Tuned!

4. Near the end of June, I was able to come home to Idaho for the 4th of July. After all the fireworks, I decided to tackle a job for my uncle by chinking the barn by his cabin up in the stellar Idaho Mountains. If you're not sure what chinking is...join the club! But I soon learned that chinking involves filling in the gaps between the logs of a cabin with a special pasty, gritty compound. So while packing mud between the logs, I was also enjoying the epic view of the mountains, forests, and lake, getting a mountain tan at 5,000+ feet and listening to Air One on the radio. One day while chinking, Dr. James Dobson came on the air with his "Family Minute." The subject quickly caught my attention as Dobson emphasized the need for single moms to find a healthy, masculine influence for their young boys. Dobson proposed that somewhere, boys need a strong father figure to show them things like character, courage, and what it means to be a man. Even at a young age, boys will begin to gravitate to their dad. But for single moms whose husband is M.I.A., Dobson suggested that the boy's upbringing is not hopeless. Boy Scouts, a Youth Pastor, or a strong Christian male-mentor at church can help provide a beneficial peer group, a rigorous, healthy, affirming influence, and even lay down some clear tracks worth following. So while packing mud amidst Dobson's examples of where young boys could find this kind of influence, I bellowed "Warrior Camp!" in order to expand Dobson's carefully selected list. Had you been on the adjacent range, you would have heard the echo. I think Dobson is right on, and he has unveiled a huge, gaping need (and ministry opportunity) among young men, the fulfillment of which comprises the beating heart of Warrior Camp. At the bottom of our front web-page, our purpose has now been put into words: "Training Up a Young Generation to be Men after God's own Heart."

5. Maybe I should have, but I didn't really expect the week of chinking to be much of a spiritual highlight with God. Go in. Nuke the job. Go home. That's my usual mode of operation. But I'm beginning to learn that God is interested in more than that, even when I'm doing something so basic as one week of packing mud. One night at the cabin before going to bed, my uncle and I were watching a big worship event on TV. Following the praise band, the speaker gave a challenging message. In the usual blunt style, the speaker warned everyone against the notorious "if only" kind of thinking. "If only I had a bigger house, I'd be happy." "If only I had a better job, I'd be happy." "If only I had a bigger ministry, I'd be happy." The conclusion: No you wouldn't. Cause you'd just find something else wrong with it, and complain about that. The speaker had credibility, and probably owned all those things, yet promised the congregation (from her experience) that real happiness and strength come from God. Israel wandering in the wilderness is a perfect example. God took them through the valley (i.e. 40 years in the desert) before calling them to the mountain top (i.e. the promised land). Yet why does that seem to be God's way of doing things? As the sermon concluded, God had started speaking to me, and still is. Our Warrior Camp ministry is still a new shoot. But if we're not faithful to God when it's still young, if we can't fully trust His preparation phase for us as His children when He is anchoring our trust in Him rather than in success, and if we can't have a robust faith when everything is only a vision of what can be rather than an actual fulfillment, then we'll forget God when we arrive in our equivalent of the promised land. Fire-tested, proven faithfulness first. Reward second. It seems like God often works that way. God's glory doesn't deserve to be diversified like a portfolio. He loves His children too much to haphazardly let them wander into something that will compromise, distract, or weaken their relationship with Him. So what's the answer? What I'm discovering is this: Gratitude (not ungratefulness) for what God has already done. Contentment (not discontent, jealousness, or covetousness) in where He has us now. And unrelenting confidence (not confusion or cynicism) in God's continuing activity in us, for us and through us.

6. One day at the Cabin while taking a chinking break, I finally went exploring. I hiked down to the lake at the bottom of the wide-sweeping basin flanked on the east by a stretching, forested range, on the distant south-west by the long-enduring Cascade Lake, and far in the Southern distance could be seen a rise of towering snow-rimmed mountains. It was a welcome break as I picked my way through the tall pasture grass, frequently being greeted by the curious yet sometimes frightened chirps of the valley's abundant ground squirrels, aptly named "whistle-pigs". Approaching the lake, I came across a giant abandoned barn. This thing was massive, ancient and weathered, but still standing tall. A proud, towering veteran among barns, it proclaimed it's undauntedness amidst the years of wind, rain and sun. Sunlight percolated through gaps in the high roof 40 feet overhead. The earthy, dirt floor was uneven from hundreds of cow-prints. 5 large stalls adorned each side, flanking a large spacious area in the center of the barn which was widely open to the spectacular view from each end. That's when it hit me...almost from out of nowhere. I immediately began to imagine what it would be like to have 15-20 guys hanging out there for a week. Sleeping in the barn on hay bales, catching fish from the lake for dinner, laughing around a campfire, team-planting a garden, telling stories of legendary heroes and Biblical heroes, playing capture the flag with padded swords, canoe races, mountain hikes, maybe even trapping a few ground squirrels and learning how to skin and tan. Fellowshipping. Sharing life. Sharpening each other. Growing closer to God in the middle of His creation. That's the kind of thing I'm praying for now for Warrior Camp.

I'd love to hear what God is doing in your life. If you have any praises or prayer requests, or even ideas for Warrior Camp, I definitely want to know.

Grow in the Vine and God bless,


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Warrior Camp Update: 6-18-08

Dear Warrior Camp Team and friends,

Hey! It's that time again! Hope you're all having an epic summer. If you're receiving this update, it's either because you're on our Warrior Camp Team, or because you're one of my friends or family who I thought would like to hear what's new with the medieval camp ministry I'm always talking about.

Here's what's new with Warrior Camp:

1. One of our team members recently had the chance to bring the Warrior Camp Bash to a kid's birthday party. I got to hear about it and he helped 6-7 kids make the Warrior Camp signature blow guns and deck them out in camo. After construction, they all went downstairs and had a blast with some frenzied nerf-dart warlike mayhem. Every boy got to take his own blowgun home with him. From what I heard, it was a smash hit. (This is the kind party I can only dream of! :o) ) If we're able to get some of the pics that were taken, I'll post them on the website and you can check them out. Props to Chris Pope for being the first to put on the Warrior Camp Birthday Bash in Central Virginia...ever!

2. After hours of meticulous deliberation and artistic fine-tuning in the Warrior Camp Labs, the prototype for the first Warrior Camp T-shirt has been completed! You can check it out, and even experiment with your own T-shirt ideas via the link at the very, very bottom of this page. If you click on the picture of the T-Shirt, it should take you to a design page that will let you rotate and zoom in to see the front and back of the shirt up close. If you want to help us design a Warrior Camp T-shirt via the site linked below, let me know...and maybe I can send you a packet of pop-rocks if it's really cool! Thanks to Rebekah Kemp and Katie Capraro for their help so far - your designs have been saved for future reference.

3. Some of you may not know how God originally birthed the vision (aka BHAG for us LU students!) in me for Warrior Camp. It's a powerful story of how God works, which in this case was through a fantasy book called The Paradise War. Yesterday, I mailed a hand-written letter to the book's author (who is also a Christian and who lives in Oxford, England) telling him how God has used him and his fantasy lore to impact me richly and also the students who either set spiritual milestones or gave their life to Christ through Warrior Camp. Apparently, he responds to every snail-mail letter, so yeah, I'm pretty excited! Summary: This author has never met me or the first Warrior Campers, but the way God uses the most unexpected things to orchestrate His will and purposes throughout to the world is always a fresh, awesome, and worshipful epic. If you'd like to read the letter I sent him, I'll post it through a side-link later this week on our starter website at:

4. Up until recently, the primary groups which we've extended the Warrior Camp invitation to have been big in scope: Area camp directors around Central VA or youth pastors of decently sized churches which also have an internet presence. This is nothing against the small country church which doesn't have a website, but they weren't as easy to find or contact. Recent Paradigm Shift: Sometimes bigger churches already have air-tight summer calendars 19 months out, or just prefer to keep their ministry in-house, rather than...out-house! :o) But smaller churches, with little or no internet presence, fewer supporting youth staff, a smaller # of youth who still love to have fun at big events, and whose church calendar has a comparatively flexible summer schedule, these churches can be uniquely assisted by the kind of ministry partnership Warrior Camp specializes in. But since not all smaller churches have a website, email was out. So yesterday I shipped out snail-mail invitations to Warrior Camp to a dozen churches in Lynchburg, Madison Heights, Evington, and Forest. If Warrior Camp can help these smaller church youth workers accomplish their summer ministry goals to their youth (as I believe it can) pray for a fruitful ministry partnership with them. I'll keep you posted. If you know of a church that you think would like to partner with Warrior Camp in hosting the day-long camping blitz to their youth, feel free to let me know or shoot them my email.

5. Good news! Since our last update, Warrior Camp has received its very first donation. A professor at Liberty University recently donated a large box of flags to Warrior Camp. They're huge, multi-colored, made of canvas, and were used as signal flags for elementary schools in WWII. (Yeah, they're pretty hard-core flags!) Our use: we've got a few signature games and activities (i.e. capture the flag, king of the hill, march of the clans, etc...) that involve flags or flag raising and lowering to mark the winning team. Thank you very much Professor!

6. As of May 28th 2008, I have successfully completed my thesis and the oral defense with a passing grade = praise God! My topic involved the beauty of nature as a pointer to the existence of a Master Artist, as well as a critique of naturalistic evolution. It was a 2 year marathon, and after a 2 hour final "interrogation" to cap it off, my committee gave me some constructive criticism, positive feedback and the conclusion that I had passed. Academically, this moves me along to complete my final requirement of learning German, after which my Master's degree will be conferred. Practically, this finalization will create more freedom and time for me to devote to our Warrior Camp ministry.

7. Before long, I plan to go through and archive all of the previous Warrior Camp Updates on our website. (If you have a favorite one, but deleted it from your inbox, there's still hope!)

8. Creative game ideas, epic activities, and discipleship content/methods, continue to flow like Niagara.

9. I hope you're all doing well and having a great summer. Praise God for what he's done in Warrior Camp already - bringing it from not-even-a-blueprint to a reality in less than 3 years! As always, if you have any creative ideas, I'd love to hear them. Stay connected, and God bless!

And now, here's Johnny!


We Have No Idea Who We Really Are

"We have no idea who we really are. Whatever glory was bestowed, whatever glory is being restored, we thought this whole Christian thing was about . . . something else. Trying not to sin. Going to church. Being nice. Jesus says it is about healing your heart, setting it free, restoring your glory. A religious fog has tried to veil all that, put us under some sort of spell or amnesia, to keep us from coming alive. As Blaise Pascal said, “It is a monstrous thing . . . an incomprehensible enchantment, and a supernatural slumber.” And, Paul said, it is time to take that veil away. When anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:16–18) A veil removed, bringing freedom, transformation, glory. Do you see it? I am not making this up—though I have been accused of making the gospel better than it is. The charge is laughable. Could anyone be more generous than God? Could any of us come up with a story that beats the one God has come up with?"

- (Waking the Dead , 80–81)


Warrior Camp T-Shirt Prototype!

Your friend just finished creating this custom design called warrior7 at CustomInk and would like to know what YOU think of it!
It's probably for a team or group you're a part of together or perhaps for an upcoming event you're planning. Is it a custom t-shirt, hat, mug? Take a look:

Design: warrior7

Visit the design details page for warrior7 to find out more about your friend's creation, including product details, cost, delivery dates, sizing information, and more. Plus if you're feeling inspired, you can load this design in the CustomInk design lab and change it yourself, or create something new!

Here are some additional handy links:

Design Ideas – for when you need a little creative inspiration

Ink of the Week – pictures of customers just like you in their custom apparel

Full Product Catalog – thousands of products to customize – custom koozies anyone?

CustomInk has printed exciting custom products for over 200,000 teams, individuals, small businesses, student groups, and more since 2001. Over 99% of customers enjoyed their experience so much that they say they'll come back! Take a minute to get the scoop on our beginnings on the green couch and then read what customers have to say about CustomInk in the uncensored customer reviews.

We look forward to working with you!

– The CustomInk Team


Warrior Camp Update: 5-15-08

Hey Warrior Camp Team!

This is Derek.

(If you’re not officially a member of the Warrior Camp Team, you’re either a good friend or family member, and I thought you might like to be in the loop on what’s happening with Warrior Camp).

It's now time for the bi-monthly run-down. Here's the update for the most recent developments in Warrior Camp!

1. Since the last update, the grant writer from Spokane , WA has contacted me with details on the grant writing process as well as how to pursue this option with him. Even though we may not chase this just yet, it's a good resource to have for future use when we're ready to upgrade to the next larger phase of Warrior Camp.

2. I've recently started targeting a different demographic for Warrior Camp, specifically, summer camp directors. You know how traditional, week long camps will sometimes offer special, extra, optional events or excursions like white water rafting, or a ropes course expedition? Well, I think (for many good reasons) that would be a perfect way to join Warrior Camp with other area camps this summer in a dual camp partnership. In the middle of the camp week, we would come in and take on 20-26 youth, pull them aside for the 1 day Warrior Camp blitz, and host our Warrior Camp right there. The director of the Master's Inn Youth Camp (who "ironically" was the first camp genius we discussed Warrior Camp with approximately a year and a half ago!) likes the idea alot, and I'll keep you posted. If you have any feedback or other ideas, hit us with them.

3. The starter Warrior Camp website has been updated with an in-your-face snapshot of what goes on at Warrior Camp. The address is Check it out. As always, if you have cool and creative ideas, hit us with them.

4. At the Liberty Seminary Prom last Thursday, there was an awards ceremony for exceptional students. I was a little surprised and very grateful to receive the award that recognizes the distinguished Masters thesis. Dr. Provenzola also asked me to share a little about the ministry I'm involved in, so, to make a long story short, much of the seminary body and many professors now know about Warrior Camp! At the After Party, Dr. Caner (the President of the Seminary) said he wanted to know more and gave me his phone number = big honor!

5. One of our Warrior Camp team members was recently in a camping ministry class at Liberty University and profiled Warrior Camp for his camp project. Way to go man! Can’t wait to see it.

6. Want to encourage you all to guard and nurture your character, integrity, growth and passion for our awesome God, not just because we’re on the Warrior Camp team and will lead by example, but because it’s what we were made for, it’s God’s call for us as men, and our lives are intended for a strong and beautiful relationship with Him.

7. That's it for this week! Keep praying, spreading the word, and thinking creatively. We've got a great ministry blue-print that fills an unmet niche for young men in a creative, God-honoring and high-energy way.

Gotta end with our good friend Johnny...hard to one-up the man’s man who encourages us in our vision:


Can Our Lives Be Green Again?

"Can it really happen? Can things in our lives be green again? No matter what our creeds may tell us, our hearts have settled into another belief. We have accepted the winter of this world as the final word and tried to get on without the hope of spring. It will never come, we have assumed, and so I must find whatever life here I can. We have been so committed to arranging for our happiness that we have missed the signs of spring. We haven’t given any serious thought to what might be around the corner. Were eternity to appear tomorrow, we would be as shocked as I have been with the return of spring this week, only more so. Our practical agnosticism would be revealed. Pascal declared, Our imagination so powerfully magnifies time, by continual reflections upon it, and so diminishes eternity . . . for want of reflection, that we make a nothing of eternity and an eternity of nothing.But of course we aspire to happiness we can enjoy now. Our hearts have no place else to go. We have made a nothing of eternity. If I told you that your income would triple next year, and that European vacation you’ve wanted is just around the corner, you’d be excited, hopeful. The future would look promising. It seems possible, desirable. But our ideas of heaven, while possible, aren’t all that desirable. Whatever it is we think is coming in the next season of our existence, we don’t think it is worth getting all that excited about. We make a nothing of eternity by enlarging the significance of this life and by diminishing the reality of what the next life is all about."

- (The Journey of Desire , 110–11)


Warrior Camp Update: 4-4-08

Hey Warrior Camp Team!

Hope you're all having a great week and growing stronger in your walk. I pray for us all the time.

Here's the tri-monthly update for what's been stirring:

1. Some of my roomates and I are starting to talk about beginning weekly discipleship. It's still taking shape, but we'll probably go through Chesterton's classic (but strangely somewhat unknown) book Orthodoxy together, and pray for each other when we meet once a week. If you haven't heard about Orthodoxy, it's probably one of the greatest Christian books of the last 2 centuries, and is like an autobiographical apologetic of one man's journey to Christ. If you're ready for some spiritual t-bone and ready to move on from spiritual milk, this book is apparently a gourmet feast. Chesterton is also one of the wittiest of authors, which makes it a great and fun read. If you would like jump in on the discipleship, pick up a copy of the book and let me know the 3 times that work best for you during the week. We'll do it.

2. I've written a letter to the camp grant writing agency I mentioned in the last update, and am now awaiting feedback from a professional grant-request writer. I'll keep you posted. Pray for it!

3. Our website has been updated with a new feedback section entitled: "What others are saying." This new section includes feedback and statistics from the warriors of our first warrior camp. It also includes some letters of recommendation which have come in since the last Warrior Camp update. Feel free to check it out under the links section of our website:
If you personally have camp/youth work experience, kindly request your current or former youth ministry boss to write you a letter of recommendation, and we'll post it on our website to give interested youth pastors a better idea of who our Warrior Camp Team is and what we're about. But do it early rather than later, cause letters of reference have an uncanny reputation for taking weeks or even months to receive!

4. I've emailed 3-5 new churches/youth centers about Warrior Camp this week, including Grace Evangelical Free and The Center. For the Center especially, we would customize Warrior Camp specifically for their venue, and probably bring 2-3 of our best signature games and 1 youth talk for a 1/2 day customized version.

5. The one day version is now being called the Warrior Camp Blitz, instead of the Warrior Camp Marathon. (Blitz sounds better for an action packed 1 day version!)

6. Pretend a youth pastor is planning a Fri/Sat/Sun youth retreat, but doesn't have the time/resources/ideas to pack some awesome games and/or rallies into Saturday. I was thinking about this this week, and want to know what you all think of basically putting on the Warrior Camp Blitz for a youth group on a Saturday, even though the youth group will have a retreat going on the Friday before we get there and the Sunday after we get there. We would basically bring the fun stuff for an all day event Saturday, and maybe even 1-2 rallies at the youth pastor's request. In this way, we would partner with the youth pastor and help make his retreat very fun and spiritually monumental. What do you think?

7. Other Warrior Camp Ideas:

Offering a 1 day father-son heritage building event at a church's property or Peaksview park, where boys and their dads get to do Warrior Camp together, build swords together and compete against other son-father alliances from the same church in the Warrior Camp signature games. The church's pastor could do the speaking, or we could bring the Warrior Camp signature rallies = customizable.

Warrior Camp Birthday Bash: a mom or dad contacts us and books us for 3-4 hours for their teen son's birthday party. We would bring the weapon workshop and every boy at the party would make a sword or blowgun and get to take it home with them. After they make their weapon, we play capture the flag, team slayer, king of the hill etc... in the back yard. (If this was me, it'd be the greatest birthday ever!)

8. Let's be praying for God to prepare us as a team in the duration. This is where our faithfulness or flakeyness emerges - in the early, waiting phase when our team is new, and nobody really knows about us yet. Right now, Warrior Camp seems like more of a vision than a reality and it's a little frustrating because I think most of us are ready to hit the ground running. But when we look at Nehemiah with the Wall, or David with the conviction that Goliath should be challenged, or Christ preparing for ministry for 30 years, for some reason God insures that great things are not cooked in microwaves, but in crockpots, and the feast is all the more magnificent. So lets take heart that God has brought us this far already, encourage each other, hang out as a team, pray for each other, and be growing spiritually with Christ. Then, when we get a hit from a youth pastor, we're ready to rock and roll - cause God has prepared us for it.

Speaking of being ready, here's something I got from John Eldredge this week:


"A curious warning is given to us in Peter’s first epistle. There he tells us to be ready to give the reason for the hope that lies within us to everyone who asks (3:15). Now, what’s strange about that passage is this: no one ever asks. When was the last time someone stopped you to inquire about the reason for the hope that lies within you? You’re at the market, say, in the frozen food section. A friend you haven’t seen for some time comes up to you, grasps you by both shoulders and pleads, “Please, you’ve got to tell me. Be honest now. How can you live with such hope? Where does it come from? I must know the reason.” In talking with hundreds of Christians, I’ve met only one or two who have experienced something like this. Yet God tells us to be ready, so what’s wrong? To be blunt, nothing about our lives is worth asking about. There’s nothing intriguing about our hopes, nothing to make anyone curious. Not that we don’t have hopes; we do. We hope we’ll have enough after taxes this year to take a summer vacation. We hope our kids don’t wreck the car. We hope our favorite team goes to the World Series. We hope our health doesn’t give out, and so on. Nothing wrong with any of those hopes; nothing unusual, either. Everyone has hopes like that, so why bother asking us? It’s life as usual. Sanctified resignation has become the new abiding place of contemporary Christians. No wonder nobody asks. Do you want the life of any Christian you know?"
- (The Journey of Desire , 64).

See also the Ransomed Heart Podcast at


Stay True and God bless,


Warrior Camp Update: 3-11-08

Hey fellow Warriors,

It's that time. Here's the bi/tri-monthly Warrior Camp update!

1. Todd recently talked to the youth pastor (YP) at brentwood about warrior camp. Todd told me the yp said the camp ministry looks good, but what is the yp gonna do with his girls while the boys are out having fun? For some youth pastors, this would make them feel like they have to schedule/set up a separate event for the girls in their youth group so they don't get left out. Obviously, that''s not what we want. In fact, we want Warrior Camp to take the logistical/preparatory burden off of the youth pastor, not just put a different one on him. So, the brainstorming wheels started turning...

2. That's when a warrior camp sister ministry came onto the brainstorming horizon. Because no better term exists, I'll call it Princess Camp! :o) I've already contacted some spiritually mature, leader-type girls who are friends at Liberty (what a great team-building base!) and am corresponding with them about defining the vision together and passing this baton to them. One girl is a secretary in the seminary office who previously served as a GA for undergrad women's ministry classes. Another girl is on the LU cheerleading squad (don't let that throw you!) who has a strong walk with Christ and appetite for missions, and a hearty dose of warm southern hospitality in her blood. There are a couple more girls who I've bounced Princess Camp off of, and they would both be a huge asset to the team due to their own walk, spiritual depth/desire and heart for ministry. If you want more details on how Princess camp would/could run, send me an email and I'll send you the current rough draft outline. It's cool because Ty and his wife have (from the beginning I think) desired/imagined a way to target both sexes with the medieval theme and signature youth talks.

3. And now, the other side of the coin! As a Warrior Camp team, I think right now we need to be focused with our eye on the ball (at least during phase one) at all costs. If we cannot help launch/delegate Princess Camp during these early stages without being distracted from our main goal, then I think we need to postpone Princess Camp until we're completely ready. We don't want to bite off more than we can currently chew. If this turns off some youth pastors, then (with all kindness) it's going to be their loss, and we can't afford to lose perspective as a new team. The boys are the unofficial student leaders of any youth group, and if they go to warrior camp, I really believe their growth will trickle down to positively change the dynamic of the whole group, including the girls who never attended warrior camp. If this turns off some youth pastors because of the girls who will be left out, then maybe we need to respect that yp's opinion, and target youth programs which are excited about getting behind the vision statement of Warrior Camp. Again, I'm not saying we forget about Princess Camp. I am saying I think we should pursue Princess Camp only if we can help define, launch and delegate it to a reliable team of spiritually mature girls and leave it in their hands without having our energy and attention split in half. The potential girl leaders I'm corresponding with will help answer these questions in the upcoming weeks. I definitely would love to hear what you are thinking on this.

4. The blow-gun prototype which I brought out to the farm has been newly improved with handle-grips. It looks more like a real weapon now and will resonate really loud with our jr. high target audience. It will also be a good addition to the list of Warrior Camp man-crafts, which now include swords and blow-guns. I think Ty mentioned hand slings and/or thracian staff slings, and these are a couple other man-crafts that will be cool to think about, expand our retinue, and I have a book with blue-prints for both. An expanding list of man-crafts creates some valuable diversity and variability, especially if 1 church were to book 2 warrior camps fairly close together. And guess what? All of these man-crafts were actually used by warriors. We definitely don't want to fall into the trap of some camps, whose originality and creativity struggles in the quagmire after a camper has been there 2-3 years. For each warrior camp, we'll discuss which man-craft we want to go with as a team, but Swords will probably be the signature man-craft for a first time youth group. Any other ideas? Shoot out an email to us.

5. Most of you know I served as the GA for Professor Love (at LU) for 3 years. His Thursday night discipleship has recently started up again. He invites his students to his house and we all hang out and/or tackle a big project together. I'm really starting to like his discipleship method - there's nothing fancy about it, but it reminds me of the rabbi-disciple relationship of Jesus and his disciples: they ate, drank, fellowshipped, talked, did practical stuff, and lived together. It was a discipleship fine-tuned through the centuries, and it produced high impact in his disciples, as can be seen by New Testament heroes like Peter and John. (I think it will be great if we can brainstorm how to implement some of the strengths of this approach into Warrior Camp). Anyway, for this past Thursday, Professor Love asked me to run the big project...and so I brought my portable blow-gun workshop and we all made blow-guns in his basement shop = lots of fun! It also gave me a good experience and some ideas on how we can put on a blow-gun workshop at Warrior Camp in the fastest/most efficient way possible. Professor Love even made one, and said he'd be willing to write a letter of reference for Warrior Camp's blow-gun workshop. It will be posted on the website as soon as I get it.

6. I should be done with my thesis and the current dlp term in the next several days. This will free me up a little more to start working on the one voice mother web page, which will be more impressive than our current starter page.

7. Chris Pope is the director of a traveling ministry team called Youth Quest. He brought an Excalibur sword and a warrior camp talk which he developed on the road. Both were apparently slam dunks and a God thing. Some of the boys in the youth group got to hold the sword and physically swing it, much to their delight. Punchline: warrior camp type stuff engages them where they love to live, and in a way that brings God glory and invites them to live as a man, a man of God. Chris has agreed to let us use Excalibur for Warrior Camp - a knighting/dubbing ceremony at the end of Warrior Camp would be epic.

8. I traveled with a ministry team to Tennessee this past weekend for a discipleship weekend. My age group: five 8th grade boys - woohoo! We had some quality discipleship time and many students in attendance committed to Christ and broke down bad walls in their life = a big God thing. On a different note, our host dad was awesome, and in the free time we managed to scrounge up, he took us to Lowes and guessed it - we all made blow guns and played dart tag and marksmanship games until 3:30 in the morning! They loved it. Conclusion: Warrior camp stuff is a fulfillment of boyhood fantasy.

9. I went on this trip for ministry to youth, not to benefit Warrior Camp. However, while I was in Tennessee, our host dad took us by a cool place called Warrior's Path State Park. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Practically speaking, if we ever host a camp in Tennessee, it's got everything that would make for a great warrior camp, especially with the church we were partnered with that weekend. It has water, hills, forest, flat field etc... From this past weekend, here's a few helpful things that strangely materialized:
1. A big church with approximately 150-200 youth
2. Close proximity of the church and campground
3. The camp ground has been roughly scoped out and approved as a great candidate location for possible Warrior Camp use in Northeastern Tennessee.
4. I now have the church's contact info and website
5. I have the contact info for my host dad, who is awesome.
6. A foot in the door because I now know the youth leadership and some church members
7. The 8th grade boys and I bonded and we all want to be in the same group next year.
8. The church has the same go-big-or-go-home attitude that characterizes Warrior Camp.
9. In the next few days, I'll probably plant the idea with them about partnering for a Warrior Camp.

10. Huge God thing: My mom knows a lady that works with an agency that grants donations to Christian camps. I'd been trying to get the contact info for weeks, but my mom called me last night with the email for the camp funding people. They want to know about the camp leadership and what Warrior Camp is all about. I'll be contacting them within the next week, so be on your knees!

11. The weather is improving and while we're in a word-spreading/waiting phase for Warrior Camp, this is where God grows and stretches us. It's not easy to wait when we're excited about jumping into something with both feet, but God has been showing me that He's not only interested in our high-impact ministry. He's also interested in our growth that happens during the early, growing pains of Warrior Camp, probably just as much as He is interested in our ministry to youth. For me, this is the anvil God is currently forging me on, and I trust it's yours too. Israel waited in the desert for 40 years. Why? According to God, it was because there were enemies and obstacles ahead that Israel wasn't ready for yet - they were an infant nation, and would have failed miserably if God let them skip the training phase. I think that's kind of where we're at. Let's be faithful in the duration, dilligent in our spiritual growth, active in spreading the word about Warrior Camp, and always trusting God.

I pray for you regularly.

Stay True and God bless,


PS: I listened to this today from Stuart McCalister and wanted to encourage you to check it out in your God time this week. I'd love to hear how it grows you.

Check it out:
(Part 2)

Warrior Camp Update: 2-29-08

What is up fellow Warrior Camp leaders,

It's been nearly 2 weeks since we first met on the property, and I figured now would be a good time to keep in touch and relay the quick Warrior Camp update.

1. I finally got to meet Johnny Blanding this last week. (By the way, everyone including Johnny is now tagged in this email, so feel free to keep in touch with each other or go to Myrts as a group sometime). Why Johnny? About a year ago, a mutual friend told me that I should talk to a guy named Johnny Blanding, cause he wants to start a medieval camp. So I finally got to meet him this week, and to hear his passion for God and his big ministry plans, one of which (no joke) involves building a castle for a youth camp. Johnny, feel free to meet/get acquainted with these Warrior Camp leaders whenever you want, but I just wanted to say it was awesome meeting you this week, and whether you're on a missions trip this summer or in Lynchburg, your encouragement and passion to help out with Warrior Camp means alot. (PS: Johnny was Leonidas in the historic Spartans vs. Sword Fight Club showdown that happened at Liberty last year...a day that will never be forgotten. Check out the you tube video).

2. This week I contacted 5 area church youth group ministries about Warrior Camp. Todd told me he proposed Warrior Camp to the youth ministry at Brentwood. Go Todd! The near infinite # of churches in Lynchburg should create some opportunities. Keep spreading the word to churches within a 1 hour radius of Lynchburg. Yeah, it's a slower process and I'm sure you're all ready to roll, but laying groundwork and building ministry bridges is key, so lets be purposeful, deliberate and thorough. As soon as the temperature warms up and a youth pastor gives us the green light, I'm confident we'll all be ready to hit the ground running. When I was in Idaho, it happened rather unexpectedly.

3. Quick reminder: For now, we are starting out with the 1 day version of Warrior Camp. Our target audience for now is strictly boys, primarily jr. high, and we're keeping the group limited to between 20-30 boys. This way we can play to our strengths, be awesome at it, hit them with some quality spiritual t-bone, pray hard, and start off with a practical phase 1 that is tangible and not unrealistic. We won't expand to the Warrior Camp weekend until we are absolutely ready.

4. I scoped out Peaks View Park this week and it's way bigger than I thought. There are some perfect areas and bridges off the beaten path that would be great for field games, capture the flag, bridge battles, etc... There's also trails that I didn't even know about that would be perfect for group devotional hikes. It's always good to have a couple locations in our arsenal.

5. The website ( has been updated on the front page, and will soon be transfered onto the onevoice ministry page. This will be a good change, and will make our web presence even more impressive.

6. Point #6 is a little tough, and I've wondered about the best way to say it. But if you hear anything negative about a fellow Christian from anyone, personally, I would insist on this: (1) That you know the whole story before drawing conclusions, (2) That the person telling you about another person has the proper motives and does care for the offender (3) That they correct the offender in the Biblical manner, or otherwise that they keep it to themselves, (4) That they have room in their mind and heart for God's grace and forgiveness toward imperfect Christians who have offended them, and (5) That they don't needlessly infringe upon very important things with issues that are more personal and perhaps largely unrelated. If you don't know what I'm talking about then that's fine - feel free to ask me individually. If you do, then please keep this in mind.

7. Ty brought up a great point this week. Whatever we do, we're going to pad the nerf out of it, i.e. make every aspect of our games foolproof and safe. We dream and envision the greatest medieval games that campers will never forget and that corroborate spiritual themes. Camper's moms dream about their young warriors being safe and coming back home in one piece. So basically there's a two-fold attention requirement from us. While safety isn't really that inspiring and didn't make it into our vision statement, it's an essential, without which we're sitting ducks. If a kid gets injured, he's probably not gonna have a fun time or a spiritually growing time. (Although, I've known some kids who would brag about their femur stiking out of their leg!). So, there's stuff we do well and then there's stuff we dream about and implement. The stuff we do well will be safety, injury prevention, having a medic kit on site, logistical prep, youth talk prep, game equipment and organization, etc.... This stuff may be comparatively uninteresting, but it's hugely important and can sabotage the accomplishment of our vision without it. Then there's things we'll dream about, like students getting saved, discipled, teams building a cardboard castle and levelling their opponent's, or playing king of the hill with swords and growing closer to God because Ephesians 6 is fun now and they begin to know that God made their masculinity and initiates them into having what it takes as a man of God. This the bulls-eye stuff that comprises the unique beating heart of Warrior Camp. So with the stuff we do and the stuff we dream, let's do it all with excellence and for God's glory.

8. Wanted to close with this:

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

-W.H. Murray
Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Keep your sword sharp and God bless,


Warrior Camp Update: 2-17-08

Calling all Warrior Chiefs,

Wow. Thanks so much showing up yesterday. What an encouragement. It's awesome how we all get to meet and cast the vision together, especially on the land which we can use for Warrior Camp. Whether our next Warrior Camp is in Lynchburg or abroad, the land we saw is a really good model for the kind of land that will work best, i.e. land that includes flat grass fields, forest, hills, picnic shelters, and water. This results in being able to put on a wide variety of games.

I've included the contact info for all of us at the bottom of the email. Here's a couple other things I thought would help direct our energy and focus even more:

1. We want our game programming to be something that even a hardcore atheist student would look at and say, "Wow! I really want to go to Warrior Camp!" Creative, top-notch, high-energy, memorable, and excellent games are inseparable from Warrior Camp. Let's look at conceiving and actualizing great game experiences as an art form, and an expression of worship. Whatever we do is all for the glory of God, so let's Go Big or Go Home and blow the warriors away with the best games they've ever played.

2. As a team, let's explore creative ways to infuse the Rallies (i.e. youth talks) throughout the day and think outside the box of the traditional camp service. What if we could use short, hard-hitting parables (like Jesus did) and which are directly tied to the game the warriors are playing? We could call a time-out right in the middle of Capture the flag and share a testimony or brief and powerful youth talk. I think this spiritual approach connects to the fun/life side in a way that avoids some of the weaknesses of the separate time block method, which (methodologically) begins to compartmentalize God to an isolated and detached block of time, and by relation could influence teens to relate with God in the same way. How do we do this? Examples might include a rally hike where we adapt the book "Pilgrim's Progress" into a hike through the woods with all the signature good and signature bad elements of John Bunyan's book. The warrior has to make choices just like Pilgrim did, and these choices will take him down specific paths through the forest to very different destinations (i.e. Bunyan's celestial city, or heaven). Creative adaptation of Pilgrim's Progress will be fun, effective and impacting.

3. Because we're all either college students or young professionals, money is tight. So lets look at what we do have, and play to those strengths with excellence. What do we have? Well, we've got sweat, which means we can work our tails off to make it happen. We've got energy, drive, and a resolved will to do something impacting about the need for boys to embrace their masculinity as a gift from God. We've got each other, and it's amazing what a united team can do. We've got creativity, and even though we don't have a fat budget or traditional camp stuff yet, we can conceive and implement creative games and rallies (i.e. youth talks) that are impacting on youth. We have mobility, which means a wide ministry radius. We can operate without a bunch of red-tape. We can think and implement on a dime without a lot of time or committee meetings. We can shape Warrior Camp into what it should be because the same team (i.e. us) are both the doers and the planners. Most of all though, we have the great commission to make disciples. We have the Holy Spirit sent by Christ. We know Warrior Camp is set up to meet a need that is usually overlooked. We know Warrior Camp should be and can be. We have God's favor because His way to live as a man of God is our way, our desire.

4. We're in the early phase right now, and it's not going to be easy. But that's when God wants to see our faithfulness to Him emerge as well as the vision He has birthed in our hearts. We don't want to fail or falter in this early phase just because we don't have big facilities or a fat budget. Let's be faithful and excited now, eagerly embracing the growing pains, knowing that we honor God with what He has given us, and He calls us to be dilligent with it. We set the spiritual tone of Warrior Camp by how it's launched, more than how it's run after success comes. We're not going to be able to have a strong faith at a more advanced phase that we don't first start with at the early, tough phase. I know all of us would rather be able to say we started by trusting God and continue to trust God in the midst of success, rather than to say we started weak and full of doubt, and only began to trust God when things got easier and more affordable. Forget that! God is far more deserving. So when it's tough, let's get on our knees, encourage each other, and dig deep into our faith. That's where God wants us.

5. A friend showed me a verse today and said it would be cool for Warrior Camp. Check it out: "Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things." - Ecclesiastes 11:9

6. Praying for you all. Keep in touch. Stay True. Love God.

Warrior Camp Update: 9-28-07

Hey guys!

How are all my fellow Warriors? Hope all is well there in Lynchburg and Oregon. Just wanted to let you know the Warrior Camp website has been given a facelift...and it's pretty cool, I ain't gonna lie (especially when you compare it with the initial website, which is also linked through the new website). Thanks to Sir Brent for the googlepages idea!

You can check out the new website through the web link on my facebook or just look it up at this address:

Keep your swords sharp and God bless,

Sir Bartlow of Idaho.