While attending First Baptist Clanton as a child and a teenager, I was involved in a missions-education program called “Royal Ambassadors.” On Wednesday nights, we read RA lessons and learned about SBC missions emphases and offerings such as Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. The main educational focus of this program was to train boys to be missions-minded men and developed followers of Christ, as expressed by the Royal Ambassador pledge:
As a Royal Ambassador I will do my best: to become a well-informed, responsible follower of Christ; to have a Christ-like concern for all people; to learn how to carry the message of Christ around the world; to work with others in sharing Christ; and to keep myself clean and healthy in mind and body.
As a participant in RA’s, one also had the opportunity to play in a basketball league, which attracted many boys to the program. While I did enjoy playing basketball, there was one yearly event that I looked forward to more than basketball – the annual RA campout.
Each year, the men of the church hosted a campout for all the boys involved in RA’s and their dads. We would go to someone’s land, set up a tent, build a campfire, cook all our meals outdoors, play tackle football (without pads of course…this was a man’s event), and enjoy the finale of the campout – capture the flag.
Beginning as soon as dinner was completed and darkness fell, we would dress in our black masks and camo, choose teams, and begin an all-night quest to protect our flag while conquering the other team. It was epic every time.
I’ll never forget some of those nights – hiding in a creek bed with Morris Bramlett and his dad while capturing invaders seeking to get to our flag, using a video camera with night vision to attempt to see possible enemies, and of course, the thrill of winning as you grabbed flag and returned to your base.
I hope that one day, Cornerstone Church has enough families where we can attempt a campout with our boys – having fun while also teaching them to become men of God.