May 14, 2024

Faith’s Summer Ministry Teams Prepped to Serve

 

ANKENY, Iowa–On Wednesday, May 1, Faith’s summer ministry teams, the Contenders and Team Impact, held their annual Skit-a-palooza on campus. This event marks the conclusion of the teams’ preparations for a summer of ministry as they perform a selection of the skits in their repertoire.

These skits are just a small part of what these teams will do over the summer months. In the words of Carter Whitcher, a 2024 Contender, “We just have to be ready to serve in any way.” Members of both ministry teams have prepared to counsel and teach campers, assist camp staff behind the scenes, present the gospel through skits, direct programming, lead games, and assist in worship services.

Since 1995, the Contenders have served at Iowa Regular Baptist Camp (IRBC). The team spends eleven weeks at IRBC and serves in youth and family camps. This year’s Contenders are Daniel Subra (team leader), Josiah Anderson, Mercy Kelton, Kaylie Murray, Kyla Rounds, and Carter Whitcher. Carter is our first second-generation Contender. His father, David, was a Contender in 1996. 

For the second consecutive summer, Team Impact will split time between the camps on Faith’s campus and more traditional summer camps in the Midwest. They will serve a total of eight-and-a-half weeks, starting at Faith’s sports camps, Jump Start, and Next Steps YOU. Then, they will spend the final weeks of their summer serving at camps in Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Minnesota. This year, Team Impact includes Cade Sanders (team leader), Emma Johnstone, Parker Lundberg, and Reagan McPeek. 

Students interested in serving on summer ministry teams apply in October of the fall semester. The application process includes an interview with staff from Faith and, for students interested in serving as Contenders, staff from IRBC. After these interviews, select applicants are invited to a group audition. Teams are selected near the end of the fall semester, and they begin their training in January. Teams are mentored and prepared by Mr. Mark Davis, Vice President of Enrollment, Miss Brenda Hendrickson, Extension Ministries and Event Coordinator, and guest speakers. 

The teams find that pre-ministry training is vitally important and beneficial. “It has been a blessing to have wonderful ministry directors in Mark and Brenda. They have invested in our souls greatly,” said Emma Johnstone. “A key factor of the growth I have experienced this semester in preparing for the summer has been learning from them and all of the awesome guest speakers they have brought in to share godly wisdom with us.” Parker Lundberg also noted the benefit of learning from guest speakers. “I have enjoyed having speakers in to teach about ‘hot topics’ that we will encounter over the summer. These sessions have been super beneficial not only in helping us learn how to share with teens but also in helping us grow in our walk with God.” 

When asked what defines success for their teams this summer, members of the Contenders and Team Impact were quick to say that success ultimately would be in being faithful to point campers to Christ and to serve joyfully. “I would describe a successful summer of ministry as one in which we serve others and point them to Christ through our actions, attitudes, and conversations,” said Kyla Rounds. She also noted that this is a lofty standard, one that the teams will struggle to meet at times. Even so, that struggle can be fruitful. “We will undoubtedly miss this mark at times because we are sinners, but we can still point others outside our team and within our team back to Christ by our actions after we mess up. I pray that we will do this every week no matter what and that we will be a team that encourages through our service.” 

Cade Sanders described success as focusing on developing relationships with people rather than merely creating memories. “Camp ministry will bring us into contact with so many people that it will be easy to pass by every week with a handful of highlights without a handful of relationships,” he revealed. “I think success is fostering as many relationships as possible and seeing new disciples made as the Lord uses us in the lives of others.” Josiah Anderson sounded a similar note when he said, “This summer, I want God to grow in me a genuine, godly love for the people I am serving.”

Faith has been sending out traveling teams and summer ministry teams of various kinds since the 1940s when the school was located in Omaha, Nebraska. After many weeks of training and practice, this year’s teams are prepared to carry on this legacy of serving Christ and others selflessly over the summer.