MNM: The Purpose-Driven Mess Church Camp At ETBU Uses ‘Mass Mess’ To Connect With Teensby Naomi Prioleau News Messenger
MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER (7/5/13) - While some celebrated Independence Day with barbecues or fireworks, scores of teenagers spent their day in an obstacle course full of slime, dirt, pudding and water on a field at East Texas Baptist University as part of an event called "mass mess.”
Cross Camp is a camp designed for youth to learn more about God through fellowship, interactive games and stories. This was the first year it was held at ETBU’s campus.
Ben Hackler, president of the camp, started going when he was in the eighth grade and has worked his for the camp since then. He said their approach to help the youth of today become more "plugged in” to God is beneficial for them in a world of technology.
"I grew up in the camp since I was in the eighth grade and it was a great opportunity,” he said. "With kids and the troubles they fight with at home or at school, this camp gives them the chance to become unplugged and see that there is more to life than a paycheck or a house.”
The two-week camp saw more than 700 teenagers total from a number of churches in Louisiana. The camp is based out of Monroe, La., and is in its 23rd year of operation. "Mass mess” was an entire day devoted to organized free time according to camp counselors.
Roy Brown, a volunteer and family group leader for the camp, had also spent time in the camp as a youth and said it had a profound impact on his life.
"It’s altered the course of my life,” Brown said. "I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for this camp.”
The camp serves students from seventh grade to twelfth grade and invites churches with a youth group to join them for next year’s camp. The traditional "mass mess” contains a variety of food, mud and other gooey substances and ends with a pudding fight. The last day for the camp is today with campers returning home on Saturday.
"This camp is just trying to show teens Jesus and direct them in their next step in their journey with Jesus,” Hackler said. "We just want kids to pull away from their normal environment and experience this one thing (the camp and Jesus) and show them that it’s a good thing.”
For more information about Cross Camp visit www.crosscamp.org or call (318) 372-2079.
(used by permission www.marshallnewsmessenger.com)
Follow ETBU News on Twitter: @ETBU