Experiencing Spring Fling at Caswell
June 1 2001 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

Experiencing Spring Fling at Caswell | Friday, June 1, 2001

Friday, June 1, 2001

Experiencing Spring Fling at Caswell

By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor CASWELL - Diners don't go to theme restaurants like Planet Hollywood and NASCAR for the food, said Phil Stone of the Baptist State Convention's (BSC) General Board staff. They go for the experience, he said. About 250 youth from N.C. Baptist churches went to the N.C. Baptist Assembly at Caswell on May 18-20 for Spring Fling IV. What they got were various experiences. They worshiped with the aid of thought-provoking skits and fast-paced music. They developed teamwork by playing unusual games with fellow youth who the day before had been strangers. They spent time in quiet reflecting on passages of Scripture. They explored the forts on campus that date back to the Civil War. They talked, laughed and eventually slept each night in barracks housing as many as 50 people per room.

Justin Bowman hopes the youth also experienced the love of God.

Bowman headed a team from Campbell University's Baptist Student Union that planned and led the worship services, Bible studies and activities.

"We didn't want it to be a camp experience that got emotional and had an impact just for a day," said Bowman, a senior religion major, as well a youth minister at Baptist Chapel Church in Autryville.

Part of the experience was to try to keep the youth guessing what would occur next during the times of celebration and worship, he said.

Some of the skits and activities were for fun. In one activity, two volunteers set in front of the audience with their arms by their sides while two other volunteers, shielded by a sheet, reached their arms through a smock-like shirt, giving the impression the arms belonged to the person the audience could see. The hidden volunteers then tried to comb the person's hair, brush their teeth and feed them pie.

Some of the skits were worship oriented. During the Sunday morning gathering, a student pretended to be in church singing the familiar hymn of "Jesus is Calling." As she sang, another student pretended to be Jesus, standing beside her and calling out to her - "What must I do to show myself to you ... I want you to come ... Please come, please come home." But the woman just kept singing, ignoring the message of the hymn.

Dustin Wilmoth, a 9th-grader from Poplar Creek Baptist Church in Henderson, said the weekend was "very moving." He also noted the BSU counselors, who led the Bible studies, were "great, helpful."

John Parker, an adult counselor from First Baptist Church, Denton, said his church brings youth to Caswell each year for Spring Fling and the fall youth weekends. The weekends are a way for their youth to meet teenagers from other churches, to reach out to other youth in the community by inviting them to go, and to grow in their discipleship.

The weekend is also a time for the adult leaders to grow in their abilities to lead youth, as well as build stronger bonds with the youth from their respective churches. While the youth were in Bible studies, the adults learned about the methodology of teaching youth and were encouraged to develop their own philosophy of Christian education.

"Leaders must be coaches of experience," Stone said.

Instead of the leader reading about Peter's persecution, Stone suggested removing all furnishings from a classroom and then darkening it. One leader dressed like a jailer could then put each person in the "jail" where the leader can begin asking about Peter's experiences.

"They'll remember that and come back years later and talk about it," he said. "That's coaching."

Four Spring Fling weekends are held each year. They are designed for churches that don't have a full-time youth minister and use curricula created from the previous summer's four Youth Conference weeks.

Spring Flings are coordinated by the mission growth evangelism group of the Baptist State Convention.

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6/1/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments
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