Listen to Barry, a group leader from Mississippi, talk about why he chose to take his students to FUGE camps and participate in the MFuge program.
Andy Buckwalter served as a FUGE Bible study leader at Ridgecrest last summer. He currently serves as the Director of Youth Ministry at Crux Youth Ministry. Andy and his wife, Leann, reside in York, Pennsylvania. He has a degree in Youth ministry from Messiah College. Interesting fact about Andy: He once punched a fish underwater because it bit him!
Some of us have lived it. All of us have dreaded it. I’m talking about an all too familiar scenario. You are in Bible study, or youth group, and a teenager in the back raises his hand and asks “that” question. The question you went to great lengths to avoid during this Bible study, the one you have been avoiding like the plague for one simple reason. You don’t know the answer.
Now, as the room temperature steadily increases, you have several options. Option one, you can come up with some weak “Sunday school” answer and try to fake your way around it, without actually answering the question and get back to what you wanted to talk about. Option two, disregard their question by saying it is off topic, and say, “we can talk about that another time,” with no intention of doing so. Option three, you throw a bunch of big words at them that you are sure they do not know what they mean (and neither do you). Or option four, fake a heart attack.
But there is another option, and it is one we often forget: Just be real with them. It is ok to say, “I don’t know”. Believe it or not, not knowing everything there is to know about God will not cause you to lose their respect. In fact, being so open with them will gain more respect from them. A technique I have used in the past is to say, “That is a great question. I don’t have an answer for it. What do you guys think?” Turn the question back to the group. Let them discuss it. Feel free to say what you think, but listen first. Be real with them. Some of my best evenings with youth have started with a question that I could not answer, and ended with them dialoguing together about our Lord. Isn’t that what we want?
So the next time this happens, let’s not worry about our pride and how intelligent we look, but rather look to the opportunity God has presented us with.
When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say – Luke 12:11-12
Carly Miller is today’s guest blogger. Carly currently serves as the Assistant Director at FUGE Nashville. This is Carly’s second summer of camp; last summer she worked as a Centrifuge track leader at North Greenville University. Carly is a senior at Christopher Newport University where she is studying social work. Carly loves to root for the Dallas Cowboys.
After preparing for camp since January, it seems pretty unbelievable that we were all finally together. As our team discussed what we are excited for and nervous for about the summer, they all seemed to have very similar answers. Staffers are excited about the time with the students, but are also nervous about whether or not they would know enough information, or that discouragement would just weigh them down. A lot of these answers went back to needing to trust the Lord wholeheartedly, which I know that many of us, especially myself, struggle with. It is so “natural” to try to rely on ourselves and trust our own strength, when in reality we are never going to give God the glory that He deserves if we try and do that.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
The Lord’s power is made perfect in our weakness. He will give us the strength and wisdom that we need to continue to go through our lives, we just need to trust Him. I pray that throughout this summer that my team and all of the FUGE teams really just focus on the mission that we are all called to: to glorify the Lord. I pray that glorifying the Lord is what brings us together in creating unity within our teams, in learning and teaching the Bible study material, in going out to ministry sites to serve the cities that we are in, and in everything that we do.
Today’s guest post comes to us from FUGE staffer Jared Cornutt. Jared will graduate this May from the University of Alabama with a degree in History and Political Science. This summer, he will serve as the Camp Director at FUGE in Charleston. Jared is arguably the biggest Bama football fan you will ever meet, so much so that he has appeared on TV and in magazines over 15 times due to his love for the Crimson Tide.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:13-15
Pray, Give, and Go is the mission emphasis at FUGE Camps. In late March, twenty FUGE staffers had the opportunity to “go” and be the Church in Johannesburg, South Africa, ministering to people in the inner city and in the township of Soweto proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Christ commanded his disciples to go and make more disciples of all nations in the 28th chapter of Matthew , and we had the opportunity to be obedient to this command.
We formed two teams to serve the inner city of Johannesburg and Soweto. In a city full of millions, it could be frustrating to not see the fruit of our labor on this short trip. We live in a “we want it now” society, but we were reminded that our God is faithful. Hebrew 6:10 says “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” We are incredibly blessed that God allowed us to be apart of his ministry to the people in South Africa, and we believe He is faithful to that ministry.
The Inner City team partnered up with missionary Kurt Holiday and Bellevue Baptist Church to serve an area needing the Gospel. In the same area as Bellevue Baptist were five to six other churches who claim Christ, but are not Bible teaching/believing Churches. Their signs point to Christ but unfortunately their message does not. As we spoke with people in the community, many would claim to be Christian, but when we asked them what it meant to be a Christian, they could not tell us. Many went to these false churches and our prayer is God lifts up Bellevue in that community as a light to the people, and is able to deliver to them sound doctrine rooted in Christ. We also praise God that we were able to speak with many about our faith, and introduce them to leaders at Bellevue who invited them to their Easter service. God displayed his power through our work as we did see one woman come to know Christ and we praise the Father for that.
Another thing the Inner City team had the opportunity to do was participate in sports camps in the afternoon, working with local students in basketball and a little league baseball team from Alexandra. We were able to teach them new drills, financially support the baseball team to travel to Cape Town, and teach daily devotionals with them. It was an incredible opportunity to love on children and show them Christ through athletics.
The Soweto team had the incredible opportunity to go into the Tshepisong community. There, they visited patients (some infected with HIV), homes of people, and played with children while holding a Bible School. They were able to share scripture and speak about the love God has for us with the people. They worshipped alongside them and served them faithfully all week. Led by IMB missionary Allen Locke, this team gladly went into areas that many back home would not deem as safe to proclaim the Gospel and obediently serve our God.
Though our trip is over and we are now home, this does not mean our focus is away from our ministry in Johannesburg. Please join us in prayer for the people we ministered to and the churches/missionaries we served alongside with. One prayer is that the ministry we had there did not end when we came home and that the Great Commission never ends. Our God is faithful to those who serve Him. So please pray, and please continue to give, but also join us in going and serving others. Love God, love others – Serve God, serve others.