Recap of NSA’s Called Conference 2018
In the third week of July, 126 high school students marched through downtown Moscow while pumping banners and chanting team mottos. They were attending “Called Conference,” a week-long worldview camp hosted by New Saint Andrews College. Students came from Saskatchewan Canada, South Carolina, and everywhere in-between.
Piling into the Nuart Theatre, they heard from radio host Steve Deace, author N.D. Wilson, NSA president Ben Merkle, and more. But not before singing, often in harmony, hymns such as “The Son of God Goes Forth to War.” The headliner was pastor-author-professor and NSA alumnus Joe Rigney, who tied each talk back to the Scriptures. “The aim,” says Rigney, “is to equip them for cultural leadership as followers of Jesus. Our culture is in desperate need of such leadership across the board.”
The talks encouraged high school students to engage the culture and advance the kingdom, and they address topics like film, writing, economics, politics, media, law, and others. When asked which talk was his favorite, a student from Colorado said, “all of them? I’m not sure. I couldn’t take enough notes.” One Texan, who was previously unable to consider his Christianity alongside these topics, said the conference opened up a new world to him. He learned all these spheres of life can work in concert under the authority of God—he finished applying to New Saint Andrews a couple days later.
N.D. Wilson emphasized the importance of a spine and teeth when entering the debauched film industry of Hollywood. Phil Gelatt, while presenting monetary strategies, reminded the audience that “spending habits reveal the issues of the heart.” These points display the central drive of the conference—while high schoolers were hooking their brain-lips up to the fire-hose, they were reminded that in all things, they should love God and love their neighbors. As Rigney said, “you cannot be a wise, faithful, creative, cultural leader, if you do not recognize that the fundamental qualification is your personal holiness.” After the conference, one parent claimed, “my son is a new man.”
Towards the afternoon, the Called attendees paraded back through Moscow, banners aloft, to Guy Wicks field. The campers split into teams to compete in friendly and often ridiculous competitions. One involved building a PVC pipe “tank” which housed a few teammates, was carried by other teammates, and run through an obstacle course, all while being sprayed in the face by a squirt-gun firing squad—Ben Merkle being the most gleeful shooter on the course. Then there was a massive and complex game of 3v3 capture the flag at the Sensing’s farm. Then a concert. Then pool day. And so on. All had fun, and only one foot was broken.
Called Conference did not have camp meals—breakfast was catered by Bloom, lunch was at various eateries around town, and dinner was catered by local grill expert, Carson Sensing.
The week ended with a ball, where parents were invited to join and watch their kids perform the Virginia Reel and the like.
Don’t miss out on Called Conference next year in July. Headlining is Steve Jeffery, a well-known worldview speaker from across the pond. As syndicated radio host Steve Deace said, “If you’re looking for a summer worldview camp, this is the place to be.”