Sunday, July 20, 2008

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)

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