As I wrote in my last post, the 2019 version of Worship Band Camp was great! There were lots of highlights through the week, but here are three that stood out:
- God moved in a powerful way in the campers’ lives. In our fourth year, I felt like our camp took a big step forward in focus. In the first three years, I think we were worried we wouldn’t have enough time to teach the campers what we needed to on their instruments for them to be successful in a band and so we were more focused on the music and the competition. By this year, I think we were confident that the music would be fine and so we made a concerted effort to constantly bring the focus back to God and our worship of Him and walk with Him. Pastor David did a great job with the daily devotions and we sprinkled in a short little “Worship Focus” idea each day as well. Pastor David also had the brilliant idea to teach the kids how to do a short devotional thought at the beginning of each rehearsal just like our adult bands do. It was awesome to hear the students sharing with each other during these times. But regardless of what we did (and maybe in spite of it), God did the biggest and best part: we had at least 13 kids make a decision for Jesus during this camp! We were so humbled that God allowed us to be a part of that and it really put a sweet spirit over the camp through the last day.
- We had some fantastic student assistants. After doing this camp for three years, we’ve had some “graduates” that have grown up and continued to play and sing for the Lord. A lot of them want to still help with band camp after they’ve aged out, so we have them come back as student assistants. This year’s camp had 85 campers, which was our most ever, but we also had the help of 15 student assistants. These high schoolers all gave such a great effort and showed such grace and love to the campers and I was really impressed by them. There is no way we would have survived without them. Several of them were assigned to different bands and one of the best parts of the week was watching them encourage, cheer for, and worship while the bands were playing in the competition. Some of our assistants were new this year, and I made some great new friends!
- The Battle of the Bands. As I’ve previously mentioned, we had more campers this year than we had ever had before. That meant we ended up having 8 bands, which was also a record high. In the battle, each band plays a song that we assign to all the bands (this year it was “Build My Life”) and they get to pick a second song to play. They play both their songs in the morning, with a transition in between, and then in the afternoon they pick the song they think is their best and play it again. In the past, we have probably built the competition up to be bigger than it should be. Unfortunately, this often stressed out a lot of the students and made them pretty upset if they didn’t win. By taking an approach this year that focused everything back to God the competition was kept in the proper perspective. This made it much less stressful and more fun. Plus, no one got that upset when the winner was announced. But the bands still sounded great and did an outstanding job.
I could write another long post about our great team of leaders and instructors as well as our food team which is just fantastic every year. It was great to meet two new drum instructors this year (who had no idea what they were getting into and did great!) and we also had a “percussion” instructor who taught the students all about percussion instruments other than the drum kit and was amazing! I am so blessed to be a part of this ministry and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for next year’s camp!