The Champion

Personal Reflection


Many years ago, when the earth was flat and Elvis was king, there was a Christian singer by the name of Carman. A guy named Carman seems like it could have been a problem if you weren’t famous; worse than that he had no last name—just Carman.

He kind of looked like Elvis’ long lost brother. Full head of dark hair combed back, rather large eyebrows, singer. Perhaps Elvis never really did die, and he just came back as Carman.

Anyway this story is really not about Elvis or his twin brother Carman.

I was the program director at Camp Mt. Crags and at the time Carman had this really popular song called “The Champion.” You boomers are all nodding with a gleam—that song rocks!

For those who don’t get excited at the mention of DeGarmo and Key (a Christian music group from the late ‘70s), this song was Carman telling the story of Christ’s victory over Satan and death in the form of a boxing match. Sounds kind of strange, but at the time it was a very innovative song.

So someone on staff has this great idea to act out “The Champion” while the song plays. My initial thought was that might be rather funny. Let’s be honest, back in those days Christian music was, well, a little bit funny.

That night it wasn’t funny because God showed up and people started bawling. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth; people were blown away by the power and presence of God.

I didn’t really plan on that happening. I remember walking up to the microphone on stage after the song and thinking—now what do I do? I think I heard myself say, “If you would like to accept Christ I want you to come up on the stage,” thinking these young people will be too embarrassed; you are safe. They started pouring onto the stage—50, 60, 70 people crying and hugging and all looking at me.

I had no plan. So then I told them all to go off the stage to the side because I didn’t know what to do.

I was this young punky kid that God put right in the middle of powerful moment. Half the time I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but 20-plus years later, I will never forget that moment.

Every since then I have had this strong desire to put other kids in the same position—OK, without the Carman song, but with a plan. The men and women that work at camp don’t help us grown ups do ministry; they run it. They don’t assist; they lead. They don’t help out; they live it out 24/7. No back rows.

We need staff to make this ministry happen, and we need your help. Camp ministry is not easy, nor is it small, but it’s a great way to put your young people right in the middle of some awesome God moments.

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