Mission Lab 2018

LEAD Camp develops high school students into church leaders

August 1st, 2017 / By: Morgan Collier / comments

LEAD Camp develops high school students into church leaders

SBTC Lead Camp students Kim Strasber (left) and Emily Leonard (right) practice their songs for the end of the week performance. Photo by Morgan Collier

LIVINGSTON With open hands lifted high in surrender, young adults praised the name of the Lord with their gifts and talents during the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s LEAD Camp at Lake Tomahawk Encampment July 10-14. The summer boot camp designed for high school students trained them how to lead their churches and communities through multiple skill sets. 

“The goal of this camp is to send these students back home to start ministries in their churches,” Lance Beaumont, camp director and SBTC music and worship technology associate, told the TEXAN. “We try to do everything so that a student has tools and resources to go out and do something.”

During the week students have opportunities to learn how to study Scripture, share their faith, work together to arrange a worship service and utilize lights and sound in a worship service. 

“We try to develop the leaders to go back and serve now, and not to wait,” Curtis James, leadership track instructor, said. “We teach the importance of ‘you’re saved, it’s time to get to work, right now.’”

Students choose between three tracks—worship leadership, worship technology and Christian leadership—where they develop leadership abilities and technical skills to apply after leaving camp.

“[This camp] has taught me first to be a better musician but also how to use that as a spring board to be better at leading people in worship and in ministry,” Jacob Cates, a senior and LEAD Camp participant of four years, said. “It has taught me some awesome life lessons about the ministry and a Christ-filled life.”

According to James, the Christian leadership track teaches topics such as team building, hermeneutics (interpreting the Bible) and apologetics, foundations of faith, how to share your faith, event planning and having a global vision for missions.

“We are planning events as one of the things that we are learning. Each group is coming up with their own events, so we have to work together then present it to our leaders,” Esther Par, a high school senior and Burmese refugee from Lewisville, said. “It is a way of spreading the gospel toward other people so we can evangelize, worship and grow with Christ.”

Houston Arledge, a recent high school graduate and third-year LEAD camper, has sensed God’s call to youth ministry and said the camp has helped prepare him for seminary.

“This camp has really helped me learn a lot more about the intricacies in our walk with Christ,” Arledge said. “Apologetics was a huge thing last year, they brought in a speaker and covered it again this year. Hermeneutics has also been a big thing; we’ve learned how to study your Bible better. That is one thing that I am really taking away this year, just really looking at all of the context.”

“[This camp] has taught me first to be a better musician but also how to use that as a spring board to be better at leading people in worship and in ministry. It has taught me some awesome life lessons about the ministry and a Christ-filled life.”
-Jacob Cates, a senior and LEAD Camp participant of four years

For the worship leadership track, students collaborate to put arrangements of songs together, while also learning how each instrument contributes to the whole and what it means to lead in worship, Cates told the TEXAN.

“We do ensemble experiences where we actually put the students in bands and have them work with worship leaders to practice and perform a few songs at the end of the week,” Beaumont said. “Each group has chosen different styles to play as well. One group took a reggae approach, another group chose to perform an old school country route, and the third group chose to play a more contemporary version of southern gospel music.”

The worship technology track gives students the opportunity to work with video, sound and lighting equipment to enhance a worship service. 

“At the beginning of the week, we taught the leadership team how to tell their testimony in two minutes or less and then filmed them for the tech team,” Beaumont said. “So, not only has the tech team been able to see how audio and lighting work in a worship service, but they are also working on editing together a video of those testimonies at our showcase.”

Beaumont explained that the camp originated in 2003 by the SBTC for the purpose of training up student leaders so they will go back as the future leaders of the church, better prepared.

“The convention’s commitment to funding this camp financially keeps this camp running every year,” James said. “The convention helps pay for the camp, aids in renting equipment that we use, and they give us any materials that we need.”

The camp will return to Lake Tomahawk next year, July 9-13, 2018. For more information visit sbtexas.com/lead