Monday morning, children from all over Memphis poured into the East and West Lobbies of Bellevue Baptist Church. Old friends greeted each other, staff and volunteers ushered guests to their seats, and bright smiles set the tone for an air of excitement. Brightly colored CampOutrageous T-shirts marked the occasion as kids excitedly prepared for their summer extravaganza. This year’s theme, Into Egypt, was chosen by Bellevue’s Children’s Pastor, Ken Hindman, to present biblical truth through the story of Joseph. Through crafts, recreation, Bible study, snacks, and an interactive musical presentation, the kids of CampOutrageous were able to experience a rowdy good time centered around biblical teaching and the love and forgiveness of God.
Most weeks, the Worship Center at Bellevue is a bit of a ghost town on weekday mornings when you could drop a pin and hear it from the opposite side of the room. Not during CampOutrageous! As kids began congregating for the Worship Rallies–a time for announcements, worship, and a musical presentation–the noise reached a fever pitch. Camp leaders got into the festivities by dressing thematically to reflect ancient Egyptian culture. Kids excitedly sat on the edge of their seats or joined in with the interactive choreography that the pep team performed on stage. Most exciting to the kids was when Joseph took center stage, making his story come to life. Through songs that ranged in style from hip-hop to Broadway, campers watched Joseph navigate the trials of his life. He faced abandonment, slavery, prison, and famine all while remaining faithful to his God. Perhaps the story of Joseph holds something for all students of the Word, not just the campers.
Ken expanded on the themes found in Joseph’s story when he described why he selected it for CampOutrageous 2022. “We chose Joseph mainly because there are so many things that boys and girls can relate to, whether it’s sibling rivalry, not being happy in the condition you are in, or the need to forgive.” Ken wanted to drive home the point that everyone, including the campers, should forgive others. In fact, Ken hoped this would be one of the main takeaways for the students. “You know, sometimes even in our culture, even though we go through hardships, even though people hurt us, God still wants us to forgive.”
These truths were also reinforced in the classroom. Camp leaders taught biblical truth through mission projects, activities, and crafts. First-grade teacher Nicole pointed out that her students learned God is faithful through difficulties and blessings. She was able to share with her kids, “God is faithful through every story.” Camisha, who taught 4th graders, also recognized this theme as something her students were learning. “God is forever loyal; He holds true to His promises, and He is always there.” Gabbie, a 5th-grade student, reinforced this idea. She shared, “We can go to Him when we need Him.”
Through CampOutrageous, we hope that Bellevue’s church family does not forget Joseph’s story whose faith in God is what carried him through many challenging moments–moments when he was abandoned and betrayed and moments when he faced slavery and famine. One of the verses CampOutrageous students memorized this week was Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Church, are we trusting in the Lord with everything we’ve got? Will we be like the students at CampOutrageous who read the Bible because, in their childlike faith, they understand it is “all about what God has said”? Will we be like Joseph who sought God in every step of his journey, choosing to forgive the worst offenses? When the Church starts to say “yes” to these questions, we will reach our community in a genuinely outrageous way!
Learn more about CampOutrageous, find helpful resources for discussing these truths with your kids, and watch the recap video by visiting campoutrageous.org.