Super Summer is an intensive discipleship training week that happens every year in Illinois. I was privileged to be a part this year, teaching about 15 times if I add everything together correctly. Here are some of my own personal highlights. No, I don’t expect these all to be meaningful to all who read it. But, if you are a Super Summer person, you might find these worthwhile.
Super Summer 2008 had some major elements to it that I found tremendously encouraging. First, there was a constant reminder of the profoundly simple truth of the gospel. In session after session, I heard students challenged to remember the glory of God, the ugliness of sin, and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I know that in our blue school (soon to be ninth graders), the gospel was central in many sessions.
Also, the entire week was saturated with a love of the scriptures. Time and time again, the staff held high the glory and perfection of the word of God for students. Phil Nelson particularly challenged students to love the perfect word of God in his message on Psalm 19. And, though this is not generally common in “youth” events, the students regularly sat under and thrived in expository (verse by verse) Bible teaching.
Mark Warnock did an excellent job wrapping up the week for students. He reminded them of their identity in Christ, including a great picture of God’s grace. He also taught them that the Christian life is not always a mountain top experience. Students will still struggle when they get home. Students will fail when they get home. Super Summer highs will wear off. What must remain is the truth of who and whose we are in Christ.
Students were constantly challenged to get out of their comfort zones, to do hard things, and to be missionaries. It was beautiful to see students grasp the fact that, if you are a Christian, you are called to be a missionary. Such service is not optional, it is expected.
And, though I could go on forever, the worship team was simply outstanding. This group of guys put their whole hearts into leading worship. They did not act the part of the big-time rock band, because they’re not. They are a group of young men who are growing in Christ and playing loud music to help others follow them in glorifying God.
Laughs are a big part of the Super Summer experience. If you weren’t there, you won’t get these for the most part, but hey, those who were there will only get some. Here are a few things worth remembering:
· The video which taught a piercing lesson by rewording worship songs to make them into worship of self rather than worship of God—“I exalt me”, “Lord I lift my name on high”, etc. (Was the video funnier, or just the fact that Chase kept singing those songs to me as we passed?)
· “Arr, go get me brown pants.”
· “Hey, what ya got there? Yum, my favorite.”
· “I threw down my notes and just wung it.” (never parsed a verb like that before)
· “It’s like youth ministry—totally entertaining while completely missing the point.”
· “I didn’t’ notice anything strange about the way Zaxxson was playing.”
· Travis: “Phil, I think you’re sitting on my cane.” Phil: “No, it’s in the crack of the pew.” (Ironic choice of words)
· Crazy Naked Guy (not actually present at Super Summer for those who are worried).
· “This year safety is going to be priority #1 at rec time.” (1st day we have a student with staples in his head)
· A dean (dean I say) came to SS and forgot to pack underwear. (The problem was remedied without grossness)
Mark Warnock taught me that coffee is an adult drink. I must simply learn to embrace the bitterness. (And I drank mine black for the rest of the week so as not to be a child)
Phil Nelson taught me that, if I let him give answers to questions too quickly, he’ll get one, both, or all of us kicked out of the denomination.
My Blue School students taught me that “I Don’t Love You Since You Ate My Dog” is still a funny song.
Shawn Key taught me that the best way to respond to a student saying, “Hey, I just drank a whole bottle of hot sauce” is to say “Yeah, I just drank a whole Diet Coke. Now, let’s talk about God.”
I taught the group: If you come up behind someone, placing one arm under their arm with a hand behind their head to force them down, that is a half nelson. If you do the same with two arms, that is a full nelson. If you tell the person to get saved while in the process, that is a Phil Nelson.
As we shared with our students on how to evangelize, we had between 5 and 7 (reports vary) students pray to receive Christ. We had several students who were convicted of sin and who committed to go home and make things right with parents and others. And many of our students learned for the first time how to share the gospel from start to finish.
The following is what Lonnie Trembly wrote to me detailing the response of his youth group:
Just a short note to let you know: Feedback from last week: Since Friday in my youth group, one boyfriend witnessed to and dumped as he did not want to go with a religious fanatic, gospel shared 8+ times, 3 additions to the kingdom, 3 parent student confession times on sin, one girls accountability group formed, one boys accountability group formed, one student rejected by his friends as a religious nut, more than doubled the Monday night student led study of “The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges, girls day Bible study doubled in size, and the Lord knows what else has happened that I am not aware of. It has been spontaneous expression of the Lord in their lives.
and it continues!!!!!