Jacksonville Pastors Conference

M3 camps yield 603 decisions

August 20th, 2018 / By: Kaylan Preuss | TEXAN Correspondent / comments

M3 camps yield 603 decisions

Over 1,600 students attended the M3 Camp held at Glorieta. Recreation provided a time for fellowship among campers from many SBTC churches. PHOTO BY BRITTANY DICKENSON

Moment. Mission. Movement. These three words define the summertime M3 Camps.

This year, students in grades 7-12 traveled from all over Texas to attend these annual camps in: Highland Lakes, Spicewood, Texas (June 18-22); Camp Zephyr, Sandia, Texas (June 25-29); and Glorieta Camp in New Mexico (July 20-24). 

Total attendance this year was the largest ever at 2,865 students with  Glorieta holding the top count at more than 1,600. Over three weeks, there were 603 total decisions, 178 salvations and 96 calls to ministry.

Across all three camps, keynote speakers included Chris Lovell, Sammy Lopez, Brian Mills and Chad Poe. Featured emcee was comedian Jason Earls and worship was led by Jared Wood, Mike Romero Band, and Micah Tyler. In addition, hip-hop artist Dillon Chase performed in concert.

Brent Burden, minister of students at Rock Hill Baptist Church in Brownsboro, saw a moment turn into a mission that became a movement within his group at Glorieta. 

It started when Saul Williams, a rising high school senior and star running back on the football team in his hometown, gave his life to Christ during the worship service on the second night at camp. He said, “It was time to stop running and turn it all over to Jesus.”

After worship, Rock Hill students gathered for church group time. Burden said, “What I’d planned for the group quickly changed when Saul said he wanted to share what had just happened to him. It was neat because here was a guy who had been a believer for maybe 10 minutes. He didn’t know how to share the gospel, but he did.”

Saul, who’d gotten caught up in the wrong crowd from time to time, stood in front of his peers and said, “I don’t know where you stand with God, but it’s time for us to stop running and give our lives to Jesus.”

“There wasn’t much meat to it,” Burden said. “It was simple, but bold. He encouraged the other kids that they could have the same freedom in Christ. It really touched the hearts of some guys in the group—even two of our guys who I thought were saved.”

After Saul’s impromptu testimony, seven students received Christ that night.

After camp, Saul was baptized and now feels led to stand up in front of his teammates to share what Christ has done in his life. 

Burden said, “What I’m praying is that God uses Saul to really go on mission with his peers. He’s started a gospel movement, which is exactly why we go to this camp.”

Trent Kelley, student minister at First Baptist in Groesbeck, saw something similar happen in his own group. Eleven students were saved in the first night at Glorieta and three more came later in the week, including one of the adult leaders.

“I’d already shared the gospel with one kid, Brendan,” Kelley said. “We’d had three dinners—that’s nine hours of discussing Jesus prior to camp. Every day, I’d ask him if he was ready to believe. He kept saying there was something he couldn’t pinpoint, but he just couldn’t trust Jesus. That first night, he was so ready and got saved. It’s nice to see the fruit of all the planting and watering.”

As for the adult leader who trusted Christ, Kelley says it was unexpected. 

“I never would’ve thought it was true had he not told me,” Kelley said. “He said he’d struggled for 20 years, off and on, to make it a real thing. He would hear a good sermon here and there, but he never actually made the decision—until he came to camp with us this summer.”

Of the 45 students that went, Kelley says one-third are committed to church, one-third are occasional church-goers and one-third have no relation to church at all. He says the camp offered breakout sessions on current cultural and social issues they’re facing, like sex and sexuality, suicide and depression, and more. They left feeling empowered and encouraged by the discussions.

“Some of my seniors went to the breakout session on racism and oppression. They weren’t satisfied with the answers they got, so the guy who led it stayed an extra two and a half hours to talk them through everything. The staff really took time to listen and respond,” he said.

Kelley says the number of decisions that took place in his group has given his church the firepower it needs to continue reaching these students, start new discipleship initiatives and create a movement within their own community.

Garrett Wagoner, student evangelism associate for SBTC and point person for M3 Camps, said: “We want to see students, youth pastors and adult leaders come here to have these moments where they encounter Jesus so their lives are changed, they begin to live on mission with him, and they start gospel movements when they go back home.”