NTS Camper’s often refer to camp by the theme, rather than the year. I’ve always thought that was pretty cool, and a compliment to our team. They’ll say, “I was at “Radical” or “Word” or “Fame.” A lot of students will often associate their experience with God that year at camp closely with the theme.
I’m glad for the strong connection because we at NTS Camp take the theme VERY seriously. There’s an honest sense of God’s leading each year in what direction we feel we are supposed to go. There’s a lot of time, thought, discussion and prayer into choosing our theme.
How Do We Choose our Theme for NTS Camp?
We start with Scripture. We don’t find an idea and work towards a theme; we begin by looking in the Bible for teachings we feel compelled to explore with students. We thought Jacob’s story from Genesis was right last year, and it became the theme “Obsession.” The year before, for our “Word” theme, we wanted students to gain a greater love and understanding of God’s Word and spoke about light and life from the Gospel of John. We tend to go back and forth between Old and New Testaments year to year, but not always. One of our goals is for everyone at NTS Camp to walk away having known more about the passage or person that we explored all week together while at camp. This makes up part of our thought process into choosing our theme.
So, for 2015, let me reveal the theme. (SPOILER ALERT)
However, before that, let me reminisce from our past just a bit. Admittedly, this is for the more hard-core NTS Camp fans who may happen to care about what we’ve done in the past. So, if you want to skip ahead, scroll down for the reveal. If not, and you’re really into NTS Camp history, let’s go back in time for a moment.
Obsession –Jacob from Scripture, what a guy! He chased after his obsessions until he finally found what he had been looking for all along. If only he had the U2 Rattle & Hum album to save him some time. Many students took the “Never Alone” pledge. And Darth Vader stopped by.
Word –ahhh, Marilyn Laszlo. Her story, (if you haven’t seen it, watch this) loving God’s Word enough to live with amongst a people for 30 years to give it to them in their own language. And learning to read & understand Scripture, guided by master theologian Pastor Buck Yancey. Good times.
Radical –learning from the book of Daniel where Daniel and his friends are stuck in Babylon. Learning from some radical people & hearing their stories. People like Richman, Patty, Tony, and Mallery in the “Radical Lives” films. We also met a guy named “Carl” and were introduced to some Mood Pilots.
Fame –where do we find what’s important in life, and who are we trying to promote were questions we discovered about ourselves. We also were introduced to a man named Rick Squire. (whisper: “Rick Squire”)
2009 The Box
2000-2003 we didn’t have a theme.
Okay, that’s out of the way.
The NTS Camp theme for 2015 is…
Our theme is “Kingdom.” Coming from the teachings, particularly parables of Jesus. Jesus spoke often about the Kingdom. He spoke of it in terms of it growing, many times using terms referring to it being uncontrollable in its expansion. Using metaphors connecting to their agricultural culture, he used visuals that were filled with nature through organic examples. Weeds, wheat, harvest, plants, fields, trees, seeds, and farmers were often mentioned.
Our theme will focus on the stories of Jesus about this Kingdom. It wasn’t a Kingdom people were used to thinking about. He reframed this term to introduce a new kind of kingdom, one that wasn’t visible on the outside, but inside the hearts of people. While at the time people were looking for a political & military uprising, Jesus came to build an uprising within.
God has a plan for His Kingdom; it’s a blueprint to redeem people’s lives. This redemption, calling people to surrender leads to a renewed mind and produces a new way of living. His Kingdom isn’t accidental or random, but purposeful in how it grows and subdues fallen creation, renewing it into its original image. This Kingdom is invisible, and it is unstoppable, and it is born and lives in the hearts of people. It confronts our selfish nature, and transforms those in it to an old/new way of unselfish existence. It demands submission to the King of this Kingdom, Jesus. In Jesus we see the perfect example of Kingdom living, a prototype for us to follow.
Our part in this Kingdom is surrender and cooperation in which we embody the principles of Jesus’ life and teachings in the Gospels.
We can’t wait to explore this with you this summer at NTS Camp!
By the way…what was your favorite theme and memory from NTS Camp? Let us know in the comments on our Facebook page.
Jeff Eckart, CEO/Founder
© 2015, Never The Same