Pacesetters is a student leadership camp led by Glowing Heart Ministries, out at Focus Pointe Base Camp in the middle of Alba, Texas. The purpose of Pacesetters is to disciple and kick-start a new generation of youth who will go back to their homes, schools, churches, and communities and represent Jesus Christ in the way that they show true leadership to those around them. This idea is emphasized during Pacesetters through the idea that true leadership begins through genuine, selfless service to others.
I attended Pacesetters for the first time as a shy, 14 year-old, freshman in high school, not knowing how much of my future life would be built around that camp and the people involved in it. Pacesetters was unlike any other camp experience I had ever had: a whole week spent having team and personal Bible studies, worship and teaching times, kitchen duties, and community service. Pacesetters was a week of taking the focus off of ourselves and putting it on those around us. This was exemplified by the way all the teams took turns cleaning the kitchen and doing the dishes for one another, or the various ways groups would go into small neighboring communities to serve. I was surprised by how much fun it could be working outside, cleaning bathrooms, or doing dishes alongside people who loved God and wanted to serve him joyfully.
I would date my first Pacesetters experience as being where I was really encouraged to become serious about serving God. I had always felt subconsciously that I would just wait until I was grown up to be a full-fledged Christian, but that idea was challenged by all the God-seeking, genuine students I saw around me who were just as young as I was! I remember being surprised during the evening services (led by Glowing Heart) at how free and genuine the worship was of those peers standing around me. I believe that week was also the beginning of my true love for worship and the music behind it, as well as my inspiration to serve others in the footsteps of Christ. Needless to say, I loved Pacesetters, as did so many other students, and came back every year throughout high school. I went through the leadership track during my third Pacesetters, and returned for my fourth summer as an official Glowing Heart member.
Pacesetters is one of Glowing Heart’s yearly highlights; something that we spend months preparing and praying for. The schedule is jam-packed with teachings, discussions and worship, and outdoor activities, which for us means lessons to write up, music to learn, and outdoor work during prep week. While there is a lot going on, there are plenty of times for fun during Pacesetters, such as recreation in the mornings and the various games of Ninja and Chugga-Chugga that go on during free time. The students run short on sleep, but get an extra dose of worshipful reflection, opportunities to serve, solid, Scriptural teachings, and encouraging friendships.
Out of everything we do, the evening worship services and the community service projects are probably my favorite times. It’s so much fun to see my students willingly step out of their comfort zones and enjoy talking to strangers or getting their hands dirty while cleaning up gardens or animal shelters. I love getting to see it from the leaders’ perspective now, to see DSC_0564the different ways in which students are challenged and grow from year to year. Because Pacesetters is a place where God is experienced, the camp feels like a second home to a lot of the students who return every summer. I have only to look around during the week of camp to see that sense of unity and excitement for serving God in those around me, and I’m incredibly thankful that God has allowed me to be a part of Pacesetters Leadership Camp.
– Amber Watson, Soprano Vocalist