By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector
KNOXVILLE — All they were trying to do is find a way to promote Impact youth camps of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, explained Jeff Williamson and Kevin Perrigan of the TBC staff.
So they came up with the idea of holding fifth quarter events on high school campuses to inform students about the camp.
“We realized that we had to think out of the box to find ways to reach youth … so they would get a little bit of a flavor of Impact camp,” said Perrigan, a former youth minister who is director of Carson Springs Baptist Conference Center, Newport.
The result has been very exciting and been led by God, the two men agreed.
Early on, the two camp directors knew they probably would need help from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which already has ministries at many high schools, to help them obtain permission for an event on a high school campus.
So Williamson called Keith Jones, long-time teacher at Impact who is associated with the FCA at Jefferson County High School where he teaches. Jones also is minister to students, City View Baptist Church, Knoxville. He agreed to help.
Then Williamson came up with the name/theme, “Any One,” after referring to John 3:16 in The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language — “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, ANYONE can have a whole and lasting life.” Williamson also is associate pastor, youth and administration, Union Avenue Baptist Church, Memphis.
Three Any One rallies were planned — at Sevier County High School in Sevierville, Jefferson County High School in Jefferson City, and South-Doyle High School in Knoxville — mainly to start an Impact camp at Carson Springs Center. For years Impact camp has been held at Linden Valley Baptist Conference Center, where it is currently held for two weeks. Last year students were turned away from the Linden Valley Impact camp.
Also helping with the rallies were Marty Blakely, area director of FCA, Lakeway area, based in Morristown, and Scott Galyon, another FCA director who also is a Baptist. He is a member of First Baptist Church, Morristown. Blakely was a Baptist minister for 23 years.
The event “made for a natural connection for FCA and TBC to work together on the campuses,” noted Blakely.
Local churches also made the Any One rallies possible, Williamson and Perrigan agreed. In addition to New Hopewell Baptist Church, Knoxville (see story on page 1); First Baptist Church, White Pine; First Baptist Church, Dandridge; Leadvale Baptist Church, White Pine; and Bethel Baptist Church, Sevierville, supported Any One.
As they look back, the effort, which was funded by the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions of Tennessee Baptists, promoted the camp. But more importantly, they saw God work out the logistics for a total of about 350-400 students to hear the gospel and at least 15 students make professions of faith.
That made it all worthwhile, the camp directors agreed.