It has been many years since I participated in Super Summer youth evangelism leadership camps. I was a freshman at Hardin-Simmons University, and I assisted with the recreation team at First Baptist Church in Euless. I served on the recreation team for three years while I was in college.
I had another chance to connect with Super Summer last month at Houston Baptist University as I was the rainbow speaker for the week. The theme for the week was “Follow Your Leader,” a challenge from 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
What a wonderful experience and examples we all shared as we studied, played, worshipped and lived together all week. It was a joy for me to reconnect with this camp and see what a wonderful experience it is for students to deepen their faith in God. I was amazed at how well-organized and structured it was and how they used outstanding people from all over the state to be volunteer leaders for the week. These leaders love students, love Christ and are great examples to follow.
The challenge for all of us is to understand the cost involved in following Christ. It will take more than just going to camp or just going to church. It will be a decision to sell everything as Jesus told the rich young ruler—give it all up, hold on to nothing, then come and follow him. Then we will also need to understand God created us in his image so that we have a desire to be like him. Finally, we have to ask ourselves: “Who are we following? Who is our leader?” Can you honestly say Christ is leading your life, or are we listening to other voices instead of the voice of our Shepherd? It was a challenge that God wanted me not only to speak, but to understand. It was an incredible experience to be with the students and adult leaders—and to encounter the Christ I follow.
Super Summer is a camp your church needs to look at seriously for your youth to participate in next summer. They will, first of all, have an optimal opportunity to grow spiritually, to develop their leadership skills, to enjoy meeting other students from all over the state and to learn how to share their faith.
I was so blessed to be part of this wonderful camp again. I am also thankful for Leighton Flowers’ leadership and the wonderful team assisting him with these camps.
Texas Baptists have a wonderful resource for their students in summertime camps. They will not be disappointed with the experience and the wonderful people involved. It will give your students a chance to “Follow Your Leader.”
René Maciel is president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and president of Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio.