This past summer, we did a series called Basic Training. It was a military-themed series that spanned from June to September. The whole theme was pointing to the fact that in the military, ‘basic training’ is designed to teach the recruits the ‘basics’ of being a soldier so that when they are finished, they will be ready to be the best soldier they can be.
We believed that we could use the summer to put our students through our own version of ‘basic training.’ We combined the Simply Youth H.A.B.I.T.S. series, their Welcome to the Planet (5 Purposes), threw in a Beyond Camp review, a Dayton Mission Trip review and you’ve got our summer. Here are some of the elements that we used for our series.
FIELD GUIDE: We also gave them a 5-day devotional (written by myself and our summer intern) that was given to them every Sunday that dealt with the topic we covered that day. We called it the “Field Guide” and was a highlight for us in Middle School because it connected what we talked about on Sunday to Scripture through questions about Scripture written specifically for Middle School Students.
DECORATIONS: Since we knew we’d be in this series for the whole summer, we decided to spend some cashola on some ‘set design.’ We hit up an Army-Navy store and got: a 20ft x 10ft camouflage tarp that we cut out giant letters (BASIC TRAINING), taped them on the tarp, and hung it as a backdrop; 3 recruiting posters, an American flag, some camo netting, a military-style cot on the stage (with a camo sleeping bag), and a Marine uniform from one of our adult leaders. It helped set the scene and was a nice change from the ‘normal’ set up.
ARTWORK: We had 3 primary slides that we used throughout the Summer: The main slide, the ‘notes’ slide (for the message), and the slide that we used as a background for our worship songs. Each had a camo background, but the 2 secondary slides had a slightly different twist. Below is the main slide, and all of our artwork was done by our resident artwork guru, Janet Beaver.
BUMPER VIDEO: For this series, we decided to make a video that we would play before message. We tried to incorporate the military scenes with what we were doing and below is what we came up with. It was put together with clips from a documentary by Canaan Brumley called, “Ears, Open. Eyeballs, Click.”
It was a long summer, but a good one. We as a Middle School team feel like we’re ready for the fall, and after this series, we feel like the students are too.