Boot Camp draws youth leaders

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Attendees show off the Boot Camp 2017 iPhone wallpaper.

Attendees show off the Boot Camp 2017 iPhone wallpaper.

Nearly 500 youth and young adult leaders from throughout the West gathered Jan. 23-27 at Mt. Hermon Conference Center, outside of San Jose, California, for the sixth Western Territory Boot Camp.

Led by the Territorial Youth Department, under Majors Roy and Paula Wild, the conference explored the latest ideas and issues in youth ministry to educate, equip and encourage those who work with young people across the territory.  

Territorial Commander Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder welcomed the leaders in the first keynote session, reminding them of Genesis 1:3: And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

“It’s as simple as that—he spoke and it happened,” Hodder said. “When you and I speak to the children and the young adults of our corps, it happens. It may not be something we do or plan, but what we say in the words that we use accomplish everything that either we intend or that we do not intend to take place.”

There are three things we must affirm as followers of Christ, he said: that God’s word is powerful; that all of it is interconnected with a ribbon of holiness, salvation and relationship between God and man throughout; and that the interconnectedness and power places on us an obligation to respond.

“You and I have the opportunity to do in our little part of God’s vineyard what he did for the world—And God said, ‘Let there be light,’” Hodder said, repeating Genesis 1:3a. “You and I have the obligation, indeed the privilege, to go into our communities and do what we can in our faulty, inadequate way to spread light.

Redwood groups met for discipleship through common interests, including knitting.

Redwood groups met for discipleship through common interests, including knitting.

“Keep in mind this week—the children to whom you minister are very often coming out of worlds where darkness reigns supreme,” he said. “Think about the fact that all of that darkness comes into your corps, and your job to make sure darkness takes flight when you simply speak the words from the Word.”

Other guests included Reggie Joiner, who spoke about the new Sunday school curriculum from Orange, and Doug Fields of Download Youth Ministry.

“To be able to speak with the creators of the materials and have any questions we had answered was super helpful,” said Carmen Magdaleno, Children’s Ministries Director at the Tustin Ranch Corps. “You can tell that the youth department really takes into consideration the feedback from the field and works to make Boot Camp relevant. It was refreshing, informational and fun.”

Workshops ranged youth programming topics, from Corps Cadets to Bible Bowl, and issues from self esteem to special needs and environmental programs. Redwood groups encouraged discipleship through common interests—from knitting to lettering and first time parents—and community.

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