“I bet, if you’ll be honest, you have a birthday every year. What does this mean? It means every year, the church gets older with the average age unless you have vision to reach younger people.“ — Pastor Rick Bezet
Our lead pastor, Rick Bezet, shared this during the opening session of our first-ever NLC Creative Camp. He was even bold enough to say that he doesn’t like any part of our church where young people are not involved — WOW. I love this! Talk about placing a mantle of leadership on these students right off the bat.
The idea of hosting a camp for young creatives was sparked by our lead pastors, Pastors Rick Bezet and Darren DeLaune. During our weekend services, we have services going on for our students in 1st-7th grade. These services include audio and lighting, but there are very few people who know how to run them. So, we were originally going to host an audio camp where we trained young people on how to run their services — but my visionary husband and Production Director, Justin, thought this was too small. So, he took the idea and multiplied it by six.
NLC Creative Camp is a one-day camp focused on giving students in 4th-12th grade an opportunity to explore and discover their creative gifts and passions with discussion, teaching, and hands-on learning in these areas: audio, lighting, worship, graphic design, environments, and filmmaking.
How did we do this?
Our Creative team reached out to the student pastors at our Little Rock and Conway campuses, asking them to recommend a few students from their ministries to sign up for camp. Since this was our first camp, we didn’t want to open it up to the public and end up with more students than we could handle. When the students signed up for camp using this Google form, they chose one of the six tracks to be trained in throughout the day. We then met with those student pastors and got their input for the day of camp. We wanted to bring in the people who are gifted in student ministry to help us keep our content and activities relevant. Let’s just say the day after our meeting with them, I ordered fidget spinners and high five confetti cannons.
Our Creative department prepared hands-on, relevant teachings in all six. Each area had around ten students ranging from 4th-12th grade. There were three 45-minute track experiences, so the track leaders split their teachings into three sections. We also asked our track leaders to create some sort of tangible project that the students could take home with them at the end of the day. Each track consisted of:
- Learning about teamwork and collaboration while designing a t-shirt for our upcoming student conference
- Learning about the “why” behind worship while writing a song for our Kid Life ministry
- Learning about storytelling and gathering footage (on GoPros) for next year’s Creative Camp promo video
- Learning about the “why” behind environments and creating stage set pieces for a new series in Kid Life
- Learning about the “why” behind lighting, DMX cables, and programming lights for our 412 ministry (there was a lot of haze involved in this track)
- Learning about the “why” behind audio, the technicalities of it, and getting to mix their own song
How are we going to grow and improve for this next year?
We have a lot of ideas of how to improve Creative Camp in 2018, a lot but I’ll spare you the small details. :) We want to include more areas: photography, social media, marketing, hospitality, etc. We also want to host separate camps for each ministry, so that we can better aim at certain age groups and even include our college ministry. We’ve even thrown around the idea of having one aim for the entire camp, so that each area is working on something that is a piece of Creative Camp as a whole. For example, worship might create a song that is for a video that the video track is making, which is a part of a service that lighting and audio are programming on. That is really how our church works — each area collaborating together so no part works individually.