Man, did we ever jump into the school year hot this year! August is always a hopping month around here between Black Hills Bible Camp and the beginning of the new school year, but this year we were a rockin' and a rollin' more than usual. We had a great start to the new school year!
First though, let's talk about Bible camp. This year I co-directed camp with Chris Livingston, the Youth Minister from the Sunset Church of Christ in Springfield, Missouri. Chris did a wonderful job and I'm thrilled to have him on the team.
BHBC Camp Board 2017
This year is BHBC's 50th anniversary and we went big with it. We rented a big tent and some of the big bouncy house inflatable games, we got a cake, and we took a bunch of pictures. One of the coolest parts of camp is that we brought back some of the folks who have poured their heart and souls into camp over the years to be our speakers. So we had Ken Tackett, Bruce Goodwin, Carl Feril, James Telgren, Warren Baldwin, and Chris Livingston deliver our evening keynote lessons and they did phenomenal jobs. It was a great week all the way around and I'm looking forward to BHBC 2018 with our new theme “Transformed” from Romans 12:1-2.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- Romans 12:2
After camp, I took a day or two to recover and then I was back in the saddle for the new school year. I was so excited! This year I went into the new year with a lot more vim and vigor. The students and I worked all summer to get the campus house looking sharp with fresh paint and some yard work. I bought a bunch of hats with our logo on them for all our promotional events, sat through a 3:30 hour student organizational leadership meeting the school put on, and prayed.
And just like that the school year was on us. Ryan and Thomas and I helped with the Freshmen Move In Day where we hauled boxes and mini fridges up four flights of stairs repeatedly. It was exhausting, but it got our name out to a bunch of Freshmen.
Then two days later, we participated in the “Community Organization Fair” where we set up a booth and tried to drum up interest in our club. This year we decided to have a little cold-brew coffee buffet bar to draw people in and it worked like a charm. We got signatures from 15 interested students. Wahoo! Here is a picture of one of our students, Vanessa, helping with our booth:
Community Organization Booth Fair
The next day was our first Bible study of the new semester, so I emailed everyone on the list and made a big to-do about it. We usually don't get many new students from this first booth fair, but we had three new visitors that night. It was exciting! There were two young ladies from
the fair and one of our students brought her new roommate. On top of that, loads of our student from last year came back, so there was a good hum of energy in the air. And we started studying the Gospel of Mark, so that's always a good time.
I try to take every new student out for coffee at the coffee shop next to the cafeteria to get to know them and offer them a chance to ask questions about our group. I did that a handful of times over those first couple of weeks and made some good connections. Then we just started cranking out events.
We had a “Paint The Campus House Some More” project that first week, where we had a half dozen of our girls working together on our facility. That Sunday morning one of our new girls came to church with us (it was her first time stepping into a church building in two years, so it was a big deal for her). That next Monday we had two of the same three guests from the week before come back and we had two new visitors as well.
Three days after that, we had a service project at the “Artemis House.” I have wanted to get over there and help them out for years and we finally pulled it off. They offer housing and support for victims of domestic abuse, so they are a wonderful organization. We took a team (almost entirely made up of our new visitors) over there and cleaned, organized, and repaired things for a couple of hours. It was time well spent.
After that we got into September, so I'll write about those events in the next mail out, but they just keep coming. It feels like the past couple of years we have fumbled our way through the beginning of the school year trying to find what works and doesn't work. This year it feels like those lessons are finally “gelling” and we are hitting a good rhythm with it. I can't wait to see and hear what God has in store for the young people in our campus ministry this year. We are off to a great start, but we would still deeply appreciate your prayers as we recognize that God is the one who truly changes hearts and minds. You have a great day and thanks for reading!