Super Summer’s spiritual truths bring teens into His marvelous light

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By Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention
August 12, 2015

Responding to the truths found in 1 Peter 2:9, a total of 63 students were called into His “Marvelous Light” as they trusted in Christ for the first time during Super Summer ‘15

Another 37 of the 820 in attendance felt God leading them to vocational ministry during the July 20-24 camp held at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center in Leesburg.

“Super Summer was an amazing week where the Lord worked in a powerful way in the lives of students,” said Billy Young, next generation ministry catalyst with the Florida Baptist Convention who serves as camp director. “Many, many decisions were made for Christ.”

Each night of the week-long event, students came to the front of the Maguire Auditorium to share their decisions with counselors and leaders.

The students responded to sermons by evangelist Brian Burgess, who told how Christ had transformed him from a rebellious teenager into a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. Leading in worship was Christian recording artists “The Museum,” best known for the song, “My Help Comes from the Lord.”

Super Summer Florida is a Florida Baptist Convention-sponsored camp for students who have completed sixth through twelfth grades. The camp is funded in part by Florida Baptist gifts through the Cooperative Program.

Thirty-six Florida Baptist churches sent their youth and leaders to the camp.

Calvin Carr, pastor of North Central Baptist Church in Gainesville, said Super Summer’s “well balanced emphasis of preaching and teaching along with Christ-exhaling worship made it a spiritual camp, where students were challenged with the claims of Christ.”

“We had one student saved, one rededication, and two called to vocational Christian ministry. Powerful,” he said.

This was the first Super Summer experience for Carr who took 29 youth and leaders.

“We were looking for a camp with solid preaching, teaching and music,” he explained, as well as a location convenient to their home.

Because the Gainesville pastor knew some of the Super Summer leadership team, drawn from youth ministries in Florida Baptist churches, he had “confidence in the direction and leadership of the camp,” he said.

The leadership team from local churches makes Super Summer unique from other camps, said Young, strengthening the youth leader’s continued ministry with their students. “This aspect provides a personalization to the week,” he said.

Youth leaders, themselves, are involved in leadership training during the camp.

And in an especially moving moment during the concluding Thursday night worship service, teens from each church prayed for the ministry of their leader.

Steve Shelhamer, pastor of Northwest Baptist Church of Cocoa, took four students to Super Summer ’15, the church’s first time experience at the camp.

“I have been to several different youth camps during my days as a youth pastor and now a senior pastor. I will say that by far this year’s camp was the best experience I have been a part,” he said.

“The overall focus of the camp on the Word of God challenging students to learn to share their faith and solid Biblical preaching was outstanding,” he added.

Two of his students were among those that made eternal decisions during the week–one for salvation and another for vocational ministry.

“I want to commend those that were a part of the planning of this camp—great job!  My prayer is to be a part of Super Summer next year,” Shelhamer said.

Sydney Burroughs, 14, of Wellington called Super Summer “awesome,” saying the nightly worship services were her favorite part of the camp. “There was a lot of energy with the singing and getting to see so many people saved at night.” Although she had already professed her faith in Christ several years earlier, she said seeing other teens respond was meaningful to her.

“I drew a lot closer to God and learned more about Daniel,” the subject of Bible studies and sermons, “and believe he will be a great example to follow when I start back to school this year.”

Burroughs attended Super Summer with 18 students from her home church Florida Gardens Baptist Church in Lake Worth.

Not only were students drawn to the spiritual emphasis of the camp, but also by the many recreational activities and competition between the grades. The week was filled with paintball, high ropes, low ropes, rock climbing wall, lakeside activities and a super-sized slip-n-slide.

The “great recreation and exciting activities” are ones “I probably could not have offered on my own,” said Gainesville Pastor Carr.

Because the original Super Summer week has been filled to capacity in recent years, in 2016 two weeks of camp will be offered—July 11-15 and July 18-22.

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