I Samuel 12:24
As camp directors, we sat around a table last September discussing conversations we heard all summer from youth pastors on what issues their students were encountering. We began to see a pattern emerge from those conversations. Topics such as identity, obedience and perseverance in their faith were overwhelmingly consistent responses from youth pastors week after week, across all our camps.
After a lot of prayer and discussion we landed on a theme we named Forsaken, that unpacks the life of King Saul. Our hope is to challenge students with the same words Samuel spoke in 1 Samuel 12:24 to the Israelites saying, “Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you.” We see that King Saul did not have a reverent awe or fear of the Lord, nor did he choose to serve God faithfully. As a result the kingdom was stripped from him and his life was a tragedy.
For years, we have chosen characters that are oftentimes relatable in their failures/victories and have encouraged students to strive to have the type of faith that compelled that character (e.g. Paul, Peter, Elijah). However, this year our hope is that students can see that they too have the tendency to fall into some of the same traps that Saul or the Israelite people fell into. We will use this theme to challenge them to trust and obey the Lord, to find their identity and worth in Christ, and to serve Him faithfully with their lives instead.
There are numerous options as to how this theme could be portrayed. From cowboys to pirates and farm animals to outer space, there is a real challenge to place a specific look and feel to the life of King Saul. One of our goals is to inquire into the youth culture of the time and choose a genre that our youth can relate to. While this needs to be a strong consideration, we have found it doesn’t always do the story justice. Our primary aim is to communicate the Word of God “clearly, carefully and creatively,” as Jay Johnson would say. So as we debate about different genres, it is typically made clear by the Holy Spirit as to which one to choose.
This year, a medieval genre was obvious to all of us. Kings and knights, war and conflict, what better way to portray Saul’s life? However, pulling off an entire army seemed impossible and the idea of a medieval genre had been shut down every year prior because of its production complexity.
The only way we were even able to entertain the idea this year was because of a vacuum-form machine created by just one of many volunteers, Jim Allen. We were able to make molds and replicate countless pieces of armor. Other volunteers were then able to cut out, sand, paint, rivet and strap all the armor to create our so-called army. Cheryl Chastain oversaw the countless number of ladies who helped sew endless gambesons, tabards, tents and flags. This was just the beginning. This would become the largest production Hume has ever seen, and we do all that to point people to Jesus and to a life with Him.
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