NASHVILLE—Randy Parks remembers the music, the games, and the wacky events from the first summer he attended Centrifuge in 1979. But most of all, he remembers the clear message of the gospel and the strong conviction that a life following Christ was exciting and worth living.
That summer at Glorieta, N.M., when Parks was only a high school junior, laid the foundation for his future as a hospital chaplain.
"Centrifuge changed the direction of my life," said Parks, now a chaplain at Newton Medical Center in Newton, New Jersey. "It was there I answered what I believed to be a call to follow God in the path of Christian ministry.
"Since that time, I have lived out that calling through the local church, in university chaplaincy and for many years now as a health care chaplain."
Parks credits his summers at Centrifuge for helping him develop a regular quiet time and sparking a passion for evangelism. "It changed my life forever."
Parks is not alone. Since 1979, LifeWay's FUGE Camps have seen God work in the lives of more than 1.7 million students and adults across the nation. In 2018, more than 55,000 students and adults will attend a FUGE Camp. That includes more than 2,300 participants representing 92 churches in Kentucky.
What began as Centrifuge—with a full-time staff that plans and leads Bible study, recreation, worship and other camp elements—has grown to include four types of camps in multiple locations across the country and overseas.
"We are thankful for all of the ways God has and continues to use this ministry in the lives of students," said Ben Trueblood, director of student ministry at LifeWay Christian Resources.
"The spiritual needs of students have not changed over the last 40 years," Trueblood added. "They still need the convicting, healing, redeeming love of Christ."
A ministry of LifeWay Christian Resources, FUGE Camps are designed to take students out of their normal routine and place them into an environment focused on life change through a relationship with Christ. FUGE Camps are for students having completed 6th grade through 12th grade. Youth pastors can choose from one of four programs at FUGE—Centrifuge, MFuge, XFuge, and XFuge on Mission.
Students can participate in either recreation or missions with everyone at camp, or churches can stay together and choose their own customizable experience.
"This summer's theme is The Mission," said Joe Hicks, LifeWay's lead coordinator for FUGE Camps. Students will study the life of Paul and discover how to live a life on mission for Christ.
FUGE has had an emphasis on missions since its early years and in 1998 hosted its first international MFuge camp in Quito, Ecuador. Since 1984, FUGE campers have given more than $12 million to the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board through an annual summer missions offering.
This summer FUGE Camps are located in 21 locations, including Southern Seminary in Louisville. For more information or to register your student or group, visit fugecamps.com or call 1-877-CAMP-123.(BP)