Super Summer Takes “LEAD” in Gospel Activities on Mississippi College Campus

As a ninth-grader in Kosciusko, Lakelynn Fancher had never heard of Super Summer — or Mississippi College — when her church’s youth minister suggested she attend the leadership training conference. , evangelism, apologetics, and discipleship training sponsored by the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.

Fancher had been identified as a leader in her youth group, so she agreed to attend. The week she spent interacting with other religious students from across the state and learning basic leadership skills turned into a transformative experience.

“That was the turning point that God used in my life to not only turn it around, but to call me into ministry,” she said. “After Super Summer, I rededicated my life. It was then that I knew I had fully accepted salvation and been saved by God.

“As a leader, people are always watching you. Super Summer taught me how to handle that position in a God-honoring way.

Now a rising junior marketing student at MC, Fancher continues to lead through service, volunteering at Fuge and Super Summer at MC and sharing her story with others. She spent most of a hectic first day at Super Summer helping register more than 1,000 attendees from Mississippi Baptist churches — a huge gathering, but typical for the annual conference.

“Super Summer has given me so much; I wanted to be able to give back to some degree,” Fancher said. “It’s cool to be ‘behind the scenes’ at the conference, to be part of what makes camp work and to see how the Lord brings people together from so many areas.

“There is something different about Super Summer. It is energy. You can’t go out to the MC this week without seeing someone from Super Summer.

Those who venture onto the Clinton campus will quickly notice the groups of brightly dressed young people talking, laughing and singing happily. According to Ken Gilliam, MC’s director of continuing education who oversees the conference each summer, it’s a sight Christian University has hosted every year but two since its inception in 1987.

“We are proud to host and be the site of Super Summer Week sponsored by the Mississippi Baptist Convention,” Gilliam said. “This is a time when MC has youth from every Baptist church in Mississippi on our campus. It’s our biggest group of the summer, and it’s the only group on campus that week.

“These are some of the best and brightest, and our prospective students. They attend to strengthen their faith and leadership skills.

Attendees must meet certain requirements to register for the conference, according to Ken Hall, student ministry consultant for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.

“It’s for students that Mississippi Baptist churches have identified as emerging leaders within their churches,” said Hall, who is in his 15th year as Super Summer director. “Our goal is to train students in the four areas of leadership, evangelism, apologetics, and discipleship, so they can help share Christ in their communities, homes, and schools. .

“We want them to have a passion to make disciples, to be strong in their faith and to know what they believe.”

He said church leaders in Mississippi see him as a worthwhile investment. This year, 90 different Baptist congregations are represented at Super Summer.

“It’s a lot of churches that see the value in Super Summer,” Hall said. “They have between one and 30 students here. We even have a few out-of-state churches represented, because their youth pastors were part of the conference and the state they’re from doesn’t have a Super Summer.

Super Summer provides qualitative spiritual growth while helping to develop young leaders for Baptist churches in Mississippi and surrounding communities. The conference uses a progressive learning system that challenges students and ensures they grow each year.

Super Summer students are divided into “schools”, designated by color, based on the number of years they have attended and their age. Students spend the majority of their time at these schools, which are run by a service staff of student ministers and other church leaders selected by the Super Summer Planning Team. There are a total of 14 Super Summer Schools at MC.

This year, 118 young pastors from across the state make up the Super Summer staff. They are joined by college-age student volunteers, like Fancher, who serve as team leaders.

The heart of Super Summer is what happens in family groups, led by the team leaders within each school.

“Children spend most of their days in their school teaching sessions on the four LEAD domains,” Hall said. “It’s a pretty intense period of teaching. They will have about 10 teaching sessions while they are here. This year we will also have two afternoon focus groups that they can choose to attend, depending on their interest.

“We also have a worship service at the end of each evening, where everyone comes together.”

This year, Erik Reed, founder and senior pastor of Journey Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, is leading the service. Reed is also founding minister of Knowing Jesus Ministries, a nonprofit organization that provides resources for Christians to grow in their daily walk with Jesus.

Kara (Young) Fincher provides music for worship services. Fincher was a Super Summer student for five years. The singer, songwriter and worship leader from Birmingham, Alabama, is an associate student minister at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Homewood, Alabama, where she leads weekly worship for college congregations and student disciples.

As a former youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Columbus, Hall has seen firsthand the impact Super Summer can have on young people.

“I brought students here for 13 years, and it was the biggest event we had for the young people in our church,” he said. “Because the kids who came to Super Summer wanted to be here and qualified to be here, our church saw the potential for growth and saw how they were rising above your normal teenager. They really became leaders.

“The Super Summer gave them a solid foundation for when they left high school to go to college. Many of these children serve today as pastors, missionaries, ministers and youth ministers because of the Super Summer. .

The conference also proved to be a bonding experience for Fancher.

“You really form lifelong friendships,” she said. “Super Summer at MC is such a memorable place. People come for the right reasons and because they are leaders, so everyone is on the same level. It’s nice to be able to talk freely about your faith with other like-minded people here.

“I like to share my personal experience with Super Summer with others. I tell them that it has led me to a deeper relationship with the Lord.

She said the conference provides high school students with an opportunity to learn more about Mississippi College.

“It’s a great recruiting tool,” Fancher said. “I don’t know if I would have come to MC if I hadn’t come to Super Summer. It gives students an idea of ​​what it’s like to be a student here, and it also helps us complete our mission statement as a college, especially as a Christian university.

Hall said Super Summer is available to students at Baptist churches of all sizes.

“It’s an investment in the lives of teenagers who are already followers of Christ,” he said. “In the past, there has been a misconception that Super Summer was only for large churches. It’s for any church that has teenagers.

To learn more about Super Summer, or to view an evening worship from a past conference, visit mssupersummer.com.

Barry F. Howard