One of the exciting opportunities that comes with being here at the Franklinton Center is the chance to run a full program on our own. Everything from the work (in consultation with FCAB staff), the daily theme, the games, the small groups, the rooming assignments, the devotionals, the challenges, is all something that we have worked to plan and coordinate.
With our group (57 students 13 chaperones) we also have found that we need to be flexible with our scheduling in order to accomplish the goals for both the development of our work projects and student relationships.
Last night for example, our group was tired. Willing, but tired. We figured an extra hour of sleep was much more conducive to a friendly community than an extra hour of Forced Family Fun (for their has already been HOURS of that).
All that theobabble to say, we are having a blast!
It was our expectation that we would have a student blog every night about the days activities. They reminded us last night though, that if our major goal is to build intimacy and community, then tearing away from community to right a blog didn’t necessarily fit the objective.
And that’s our group for ya.
They want to meet the objectives, and “Raise the Bar” and they own their mission.
So, here is a brief synopsis of our week:
Our weather has been beautiful, in the 70s, and sometimes cooler. A couple drops of rain, which is miraculous considering we were expecting to have to shut down for the day yesterday after looking at the radar… but for some reason… no rain.
Our group has worked hard, building food pantry shelving, sealing windows in the old school building, building picnic tables, and all kinds of other projects.
They’ve mixed extremely well. The boys were working on a way to organize in ultimate frisbee tournament during free time. Right when I was ready to go all youth minister and step in and over-control the situation, I walked into the common area last night to see them dividing up the teams, mixing gender, and age, negotiating until everybody was on a team that was fair.
The FCB staff continues to compliment us on the quality of the work our students are doing. I’m not sure if community makes good work or good work builds community, but I would suspect it’s some combination of the two.
One of the ways we have been complimented has been through Ms. Mary’s cooking. This is not the best “camp” food we’ve ever tasted. It is some of the best FOOD we’ve ever tasted!
Today, our evening program takes a shift.
We have been focusing on building community, and our students have owned it. One group is responsible for leading worship each night, and it has been incredible!; Energetic, Real, Honest, Relevant, and fun!
Our themes have been “Welcome Home”, “Sankofa” (A mythical bird that flies straight ahead while looking backwards), and “We are Family”. Today’s theme: “teacher, teacher.”
Our students are now leaders. They are truly a different more intertwined community than they were just two and a half days ago. And now we ask them to lead further… to “raise the bar”.
This afternoon, we will be having a special worship/celebration led by Greg and Rodney Milton, whose father Ervin directed the FCB for years. They are phenomenal teachers and musicians, we cannot wait for that.
After that Gary Grant, from the Concerned Citizens of Tillery, NC will come and speak to our group.
From this point on, we will be challenging our students to raise the bar in terms of how they understand justice, loving their neighbor and walking closely with their God.
Over the next couple of days, in addition to all the manual work, we will be having a Guided Meditation walk around the grounds and a Group Communion Feast.
The best is yet to come for sure!
Be sure to check out a live stream of our evening worship at sometime between 8 and 830 tonight. Without WiFi, here’s to hoping that the cell quality around here is sufficient enough to transfer just a portion of the energy of this wonderful, committed, driven, and vibrant group of students!
Hang in there, parents, you’ll get them back soon. In the mean time, you have much to be proud of.
I leave you with a (forced) blog entry from one of our students, Seth Williams, who tells of his day yesterday:
Today in the life of the youth of Community Church many an exciting event occurred during this glorious Wednesday at the Franklinton Center. The day started off with as cold morning with a slow start as the groggy youth shuffled about attempting to prepare for the day to the best of their abilities. After the exodus to the meeting area under the magnolia tree next to the dorms we have taken temporary residence up in we were told of todays themed scriptures which included the story of Jesus healing the blind and crippled and of Jesus feeding the four thousand people who had followed him with a loaf of bread and fish. After this short briefing the youth and counselors alike made their way to the dining hall where a delicious breakfast of pepper and onion eggs with other side dishes were waiting for us. With our basic human needs met it was time to work like we were meant to do in this place. Today the work for my group, group four, was to help to finish refurbishing an old pool house that’s wood has degraded over time and was rotting and become structurally unsound. The group the day before us had done much work and we came in as sort of a finish up group. Our main task for the day was to finish up the back wall to the pool house and to get a coat of paint on it. I spent most of my day on and off a ladder with a hammer almost seemingly in my hand nailing up the wooden walls and back boarding. Throughout the day the people in my group acted as expected with someone named Andrew reciting trivia and being of a lighter mood than I generally am. There was also the occassional people putting their lives in my hands while they were on the ladder no big deal. At one point during this all I was told to strengthen some of the support beams for the ceiling with some pieces of wood to give some cross support. This led to me spending a horrible ten to twenty minutes of my life in a room where and entire family of twenty spiders had decided to take up haven in. through every repetition of the hammer against the nail I was anxiously waiting for one of those evil little eight legged demons to descend upon my head. Once I got out of that room of horrors I spent the rest of the work day finishing up the trimming on the outside walls and then finally helping to paint. At some point during this there was a brief lunch break but this is irrelevent to everything else that had happened. I will say it was composed of chicken, rice, brocolli, and strawberry shortcake that I sadly could not partake in because of a gluton allergy. Now I am sitting here on my freetime that was given to me after work was all done listening to my youth pastor and some of the youth sing songs and perform some renditions of some classic songs and some newer charting songs that I don’t care about. That is how this glorious sunny day at the Franklinton center went.