SLA:  Authentic Community

SLA: Authentic Community

payton

Payton Moree has served the past two summers as an SLA in Nashville. She is originally from Metro Atlanta and is currently pursuing a degree in Global Studies from Boyce College at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Payton loves to laugh, drink coffee, get new stamps on her passport, and attend Fuge Camps! 

 

 

I fell in love with this group of people; these eight people who I lived life with, seven who were my age and one who was a tad older, our fearless leader. This woman led us with her whole heart and she led us oh so well. I often get asked why these people whom I just met matter so much. Well, it’s because you learn every part of them, you know what they like and what they don’t. You learn their fears and their dreams. You know what makes them laugh and at times see them cry. You live together (same gender of course, keep it FUGE people), eat almost every meal together, worship together, do laundry together, have Bible study together, serve together, and see life change happen together. I say all this to say you literally do every aspect of life together.

I’m talking about SLA, Student Leader Apprentice, the program where I had the ability to serve for two summers, a total of four weeks. During the course of my four weeks at SLA, I was challenged to live in an authentic, give-all-you-can community. Every aspect of life was shared and this brought about radical life change!

One night during my second year, I remember sitting in a circle with my group and the things God had been teaching became real to me. That night I just laid down everything that was going on and did God move in power that night! I found myself broken as I admitted the things God was showing me. I began to cry in front of these people for the first time. I allowed them to see my broken struggling self. As I poured out my heart, I took a moment to glance at those in my group— not a dry eye. I realized then that they were crying because they shared this burden with me, they were feeling this pain and brokenness with me. Just like an authentic community.

However, I couldn’t just sit on this. This authentic community gave me an opportunity to serve, because it had given me a small glimpse of what Heaven is like and I wanted others to have that as well! I wanted everyone to see this glimpse with me, so when I went into the surrounding community of Nashville, I shared what I could and I offered those I encountered the most important thing I had, Jesus Christ. When you experience authentic community in Christ, it leads to better service and this is exactly what SLA is if you make it.

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SLA is a two-week program offered by FUGE Camps for students who have completed their junior and senior years of high school. This is a two-week program available at Belmont University in Nashville and Glorieta in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Students learn leadership skills and shadow a FUGE staffer. Applications are available online at www.fuge.com. Deadline to apply is February 9, 2015.

 

 

SLA:  Intentionality & Flexibility

SLA: Intentionality & Flexibility

Walt

Walt Harper is a junior at the University of South Carolina where he studies psychology. This summer will be Walt’s third summer with FUGE, serving as the XFuge Host for the past two summers and Assistant Director this year. Walt loves spending time with his family and friends, the 90s, watching Netflix for hours on end, and Carolina football.

For those of you who don’t know, Student Leader Apprentice (or SLA) is a two-week program FUGE offers for students going into or just finishing their senior year of high school. During these two weeks, participants will take part in team-building exercises, Bible studies, and shadowing an actual FUGE staffer. I had the privilege of being a part of this experience. It was two of the most exciting, revolutionary, hilarious, and humbling weeks of my life so far. God taught me so much during my time at SLA. More than I ever expected. But of all the things I took away from those two weeks, two things stand out that I think prepared me for staff: intentionality and flexibility.

Intentionality. I had never heard this word before SLA. Honestly, I didn’t really know what it meant the first time Sean Marie, our SLA leader, said it. Intentionality is defined online as “done with purpose.” My prayer going into those two weeks was that God would break down walls for me and those I met. Man, did He come through on that one! Within the first two days of being there, my SLA group had gone from superficial conversations about school to deep, pointed conversations about our faith, scripture, and ministry. I had never been so encouraged and pushed in my faith by people my own age! It was such a blessing to be a part of such an intentional group of students. Even better: seeing the love of Christ reflected in our friendships. We bonded instantly and began to form real community. Praying for each other’s needs and struggles, sharing what God was teaching us, and encouraging each other daily through scripture and prayer. I came to realize how intentional God had been with me all my life, and I was to reflect that in my relationships I formed.

Flexibility. One thing a former youth pastor would tell us when we went on mission trips was, “you better be ready to preach, pray, sing, or die at a moment’s notice.” While that may sound a little morbid toward the end, we always laughed, knowing he was encouraging us to leave our comfort zones. During the second week of SLA, I was assigned to shadow Hamilton, a PCY (painting, construction, and yard work) track leader. To be honest, I always avoided PCY like the plague as a camper. It wasn’t that I didn’t like being outside, but it just wasn’t something I felt I was good doing. When I had gotten my assignment, I felt a little nervous and slightly defeated. “Well, there goes my second week, down the drain,” I thought. Thankfully, our great God had other things in store. That week, I was brought so far out of my comfort zone on site. God taught me that His plan is greater, even (or especially) when we have differing ones. That week was probably the best week on site that I had ever experienced at camp, getting to help lead and love students.

Yes, intentionality and flexibility were both extremely important for staff life. But more importantly, they have been SO important in my everyday life. God knew what awaited me when I got home from SLA: college life and the challenges and struggles that come with it. I was constantly reminded by God to be intentional not only with other people on campus, but with my time as well. To make sure that I gave Him the time He deserves. I was pushed to be flexible with ministry opportunities I received and class scheduling, knowing that at the end of the day, God was to be glorified in it all. I wouldn’t trade my two weeks with my SLAmily at SLA for anything and I am so thankful I was given the chance to participate in this program. If you or one of your students is thinking about applying, go with Nike’s slogan: just do it!

 

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Listen Closely

Listen Closely

haleybiopic

Haley Lavergne participated in the Student Leader Apprentice (SLA) program for two years: 2012 in Nashville, TN and 2013 in Glorieta, NM. She is currently studying at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In her spare time, you will find her outside in a hammock immersed in a good book or creating art with various mediums.

 

“Welcome to SLA, where questions about the future aren’t allowed and getting thrown outside of your comfort zone is guaranteed.”

Although I wasn’t greeted with these exact words when arriving at Glorieta, they certainly sum up my experience. I arrived asking the Lord to move in mighty ways and left in awe of how He exceeded my expectations. Being quiet and being a friend to listen and encourage was the trend for the entire two weeks. It sounds small because I am a small part of what God did. He doesn’t need me but He chooses to use me. What a beautiful God we serve.  I was given the opportunity to watch God use something as simple as truly listening, in such a huge way as He began to heal hurting people. All the while, I had a front row seat listening to fellow SLAers, staffers, campers, site friends, and most importantly: the Lord. I was continually taken back by our innate desire to be heard and known. It was simultaneously: overwhelming, wonderful, powerful and humbling. SLA’s focus on service leadership taught me how truly listening and serving the people in front of me are crucial.

James 5:16a says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” I think much of the healing James talks about also comes from listening. I learned that that’s where ministry happens: in intentional moments packed with sincere love and genuine care for God’s people. Jesus took the time to not only heal people’s physical needs, but He took care of them as human beings with the desire to be loved. He saw desires to be seen, accepted, and deeply known. It went beyond physical healing. He went deeper to care for emotions. He loved past the surface. He loves deep and He loves well. I learned about that at SLA and it is something I am grateful to say I’m still learning.

A Life-Altering Experience

A Life-Altering Experience

madison bio

Today’s Guest post is from Madison Newberry, who served this past summer as a Student Leader Apprentice at MFuge Nashville.  Madison is originally from Prattville, AL and is currently a freshman studying at Mississippi College in Clinton, MS.

 

By God’s abounding grace and blessings, I was given the opportunity to attend FUGE Camps’ Student Leadership Apprentice (SLA) program during the summer of 2013 in Nashville, TN at Belmont University. As time approached to go to camp, I became more and more anxious about the whole idea of going to a foreign place where I knew absolutely no one. But, I am so glad I did!

The first week of SLA was life changing. The Lord put me in a place of complete uncertainty, and for the first time in my life, I was at total peace with that. Through various leadership activities, the Lord taught me how to be intentional, how to see everyone through the eyes of Jesus, and how to put my full trust in Him. Having the chance to witness the amazing wonders of God through such unforeseen activities and to be able to share these life-altering experiences with my SLA group and the Nashville community was awesome.

The second week of SLA was all about serving others for the glory of God. After I was assigned a staffer to shadow for the week, I began to understand how to implement what God had revealed to me during the first week into my everyday life.  God allowed for me to be intentional with many different people in the Nashville community and to see those people through the eyes of Christ. The staffer I was assigned to was such an example of what it truly means to live for the Lord, and I cannot thank God enough for allowing our paths to cross.

SLA was easily the best experience I have ever had. Not only was it fun and adventurous, but the Lord also enabled me to serve others for His glory during my two weeks at camp. I was able to be His hands and feet serving the city of Nashville. I cannot thank Him enough for giving me such an incredible experience and blessing me with the most amazing group of girls who are now my best friends. My life will be forever changed because of my experiences with SLA.

For more information about SLA, click here: http://lfwy.co/14s6dpQ

FUGE Night Life

 

 

SLA group MN