Tuesday, June 23, 2009

big stuf 09: time

At Grace we take our middle school students to Student Life Camp and our high school students to Big Stuf. Student Life has a lot more organized activities and structure, and Big Stuf has a lot more free time and better production. The last thing you want in student ministry is a hyper middle school boy who can't find a place to invest his energy... and at Big Stuf there are too many of those potential situations.

Getting to experience both camps the past two years has been really cool. I really enjoyed both camps, but took different things away from both of them. As a whole, though, I think Big Stuf is probably the best camp a high school student in America could attend. Here are a few main thoughts from the week.

1. The production was excellent this year. As much as I love Steve Fee and Kristian Stanfill, I'm really not sure anyone could have done a better job leading this week than Eddie Kirkland did. He is the type of guy that knows how to get out of the way and allow you to connect with God. Also from a production standpoint, the stage was the coolest stage I've seen in my four years at Big Stuf. Awesome.

2. Our group really meshed well. In years past there's always been some kind of drama to arise at some point during the week. None of that happened this year. Everyone got along, everyone stayed focused for the most part, and everyone had a good time.

3. Service flow and transitioning could be much smoother. I love Lanny Donoho and think he was so much more focused and host-like this year, but I still just think they could do a better job of organizing their services. Multiple, multiple times Lanny would come out and explain what we were about to see in a video. Just show the video! If the video fits it will explain itself. Also, the placement of videos I thought were off a lot of the times. I almost felt like they just had a bunch of cool videos they wanted to show and so they just threw them into the service somewhere. They could have started with the videos in a lot of cases and it could have made more sense than Lanny coming BACK out to explain what was about to happen. It's not that I don't like Lanny, I just think we see too much of him sometimes.

Ultimately, Big Stuf is awesome and I absolutely love it. That doesn't mean they can't improve on a few things. I'm sure there's probably some principle or strategy behind their service flow, but I think it would be more strategic to take into account the fact there are some extreme detail oriented people who have to sit through their services. Personally I don't really mind all the randomness that goes on during the service, but I think it would be way more effective if the randomness was built into a structure rather than the structure being defined by the randomness. The whole Lanny Donoho stage presence is hilarious when he's with Andy or Reggie on stage interrupting them, but it can be a little overwhelming when he's by himself.

I do love Lanny Donoho, though. Just to clarify.

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