NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Vacation wasn’t just about hanging out at the pool or watching television for more than 70,500 teens and children attending Centrifuge, M-Fuge, Crosspoint and Centri-Kid camps this summer.
Instead, they spent time learning more about God and giving to missions.
Campers attending Centrifuge across the nation gave $445,120.76 to help fund home missions projects being conducted by the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board. The Centrifuge campers give alternately each year to projects sponsored by NAMB or the International Mission Board, said Joe Palmer, director of the student events department for LifeWay Christian Resources.
Centrifuge camps are designed for teens in grades seven through 12, with youth groups of all sizes from across the country coming together for a fast-paced week of Bible study, recreation and inspiration.
Crosspoint campers gave a separate offering of $40,697.36 to fund Southern Baptist international sports ministries around the world, Palmer said. Crosspoint, a Christian sports camp for fourth- through eighth-graders that began in 1986, uses sports a ministry tool to reach children and adults. The camp includes a focus on athletic instruction, Bible study and physical and spiritual growth.
“I believe that the offering reminds us of the stewardship that the Lord expects from Christians,” Palmer said. “Youth learn that God not only has a call for their lives, but also for the way they spend their money. Campers learn the joy of giving to help a hurting world, and our prayer is that this will last a lifetime.”
NAMB mission projects to benefit from the campers’ giving include:
— Fishermen’s Club, a Southern Baptist ministry in Seattle to homeless teenagers.
— Campus ministries in emerging regions.
— Summer and semester student missionaries in emerging areas where missionaries may not have been stationed before.
— Missions work in Utah during the 2002 Winter Olympics, including development of evangelistic resources, summer/semester mission projects and volunteer training.
While missions and missions giving are an integral part of the summer camps, Palmer also underscored what kids learn about the Bible and the ministry of Jesus Christ.
“It is our desire to help change youth culture,” Palmer said. “We want kids to be properly related to Jesus Christ — to know him as their Lord and Savior, to have a proper worldview and to grow in discipleship.”
Palmer said 10,266 campers made decisions for Christ this summer, with 1,817 accepting Jesus as their personal Savior; 5,127 rededicating their lives; 848 publicly deciding to follow Christ in some type of vocational ministry; and 2,356 making other types of decisions.
Centrifuge began in 1979 with two locations and nearly 7,500 campers in attendance. In 2001, Centrifuge took place at seven stationary camps and also included three traveling teams and five special teams, serving a total of nearly 40,000 campers.
M-Fuge campers follow the basic plan of Centrifuge, but add another component by allowing campers to serve the community through various ministry projects. The projects include construction work, children’s ministries or work with the homeless, sick or elderly.
M-Fuge International, which began in 1999, combines Centrifuge elements with personal ministry opportunities in other countries. A partnership between LifeWay and the IMB, the weeklong camp is designed for students in grades 10 through college. Destinations have included Mexico, Wales, Venezuela and London.
Centri-Kid, the newest addition to the camp program, began this year. The camp is designed for children in grades three through six. It focuses on Bible study, worship and devotions and recreation.
For more information on the teen or children’s camps or to register, call 1-877-CAMP123 or visit www.fuge.com on the Internet.
Crow is an intern in LifeWay Christian Resources’ communications department. BP photo to accompany this story is posted in the BP Photos Library.