People often ask how we create such powerful programs for students at Mount Hermon. The first step is having a creative team of gifted people. God has blessed Mount Hermon Youth with an incredible team of people. This team follows a template for creating themed programs. The process starts with the Bible.
#1: One Main Scriptural Truth
All Mount Hermon Youth programs start and end with the Bible. Not only do we want students in their Bibles, we want them to walk away with one main truth out of the Bible and we want them to know that truth inside and out. Recently, Ponderosa Lodge did a theme built upon the truth of Matthew 13:44. That truth was simple: following Jesus is worth more than anything this world can offer.
#2: An Analogous Theme that Clearly Teaches the One Main Truth
This analogous theme is a way of communicating that one main truth clearly, concisely and in a way students can understand. This theme is ultimately the analogy, or metaphor we use to teach the truth. It determines the look and design of print material, videos, costumes and the entire camp. The theme for Matthew 13:44 was a pirate-based theme titled “Epic: Leave all Else Behind.”
#3: Daily Objectives Further Explaining the One Main Truth
Our programs have a daily objective that points back to and further explains the one main truth. These objectives are essentially answers to questions which one would ask about the one main truth, such as “How?” “What?” and “Why?” While we want students to walk away with one main truth, every day we want them to dig deeper into that truth. Some of the objectives for “Epic” were answers to questions such as “Why is Jesus worth leaving all else behind?” and “What does it look like to leave all else behind to follow Jesus?”
#4: Story Flow and Small Group Questions
For many of our themed programs, we write a story that places the one truth and its objectives into the context of the adolescents’ daily experience. These stories are written as scripts with relatable characters, and presented as skits performed immediately before students meet in small groups. After the scripts are finished, small group questions are written. We use the story to help students dive deeper into Scripture. The goal is for each student to see how this story connects to Scripture, so that ultimately they see how their story connects to Scripture. The story-line for “Epic” centered around a pirate and his best friend who were looking for an epic treasure and encountered obstacles along the way.
#5: The Schedule
The daily schedule is done last because we don’t want the schedule to drive our programs, we want the Bible to drive our programs. Putting the schedule together involves creating and planning all the games that will be played, all the teaching moments that will happen and all of the fun that will be had. The ultimate goal is that everything in the schedule points back to the one main truth. The schedule for “Epic” involved many pirate-themed activities, discussions and games.
The ultimate goal of this process is to create a memorable, impactful and transformational camp experience where students are led one step closer to Jesus.