Epic Monday is as traditionally “camp” as Wheatstone gets. It’s a joy-filled day where puzzles and challenges dominate, while exploration and group dynamics are encouraged. This year’s Epic Monday took place at Lake Spaulding, a glorious wilderness about an hour from William Jessup University. It has a peninsula, great gray rocks, neon lichen and moss, tall trees, clear cold water and innumerable wildflowers. This wild expanse of creation served as the backdrop for the day’s adventures.
Group Challenges and Relay
First up, are group challenges. These physical puzzles are not possible for groups to complete unless they work together. The challenges are meant to stretch and even to frustrate groups. Frustration forces them to work out differences, communicate effectively, and recognize their strengths and weakness. After each challenge, mentors debrief with their groups.
After group challenges comes the Epic Relay! Groups race to complete a series of tasks in order to claim the prized purple flag. Groups go from physical challenges, like building a boat for a lake crossing, to mental puzzles like riddles, which they need to complete before moving on. Penalties and creative constraints abound where not following the directions can lead to getting soaked with a squirt gun or starting over. By the end, each team has a flag and an animal mascot. Check out the video for the highlights of the day!
Listen below to hear how the flag challenge was created. Phoenix, Ox, and Gryphon all had unique perspectives on the challenge and fun of designing their logos.
During Peter David Gross’ talk about community, he spoke of how hard it is to love people. Still harder to love people who are unlike ourselves. Small groups create an environment where students have to love different people. True community assumes the risk of pain in the pursuit of love. Walking through pain with someone is hard and meaningful. Meaningful because God promises to one day redeem all our pain and show us His glory.
Community is fundamental for every Christian, because Christ brings us into the family of God. If you are a Christian, you are never alone, whether you feel like it or not.
If each person is valued by God, why shouldn’t we get to know other people? God gave us each other as a way to experience His hope and love. People who are willing to endure with us in pain bring hope. Hope that our pain, in whatever form, is always being transformed by the grace of God.
So, Gross calls students to really look at their small groups and themselves. He asks them to consider the risk and the beauty of loving others and participating in Christ-like community. Christ himself waded through pain to save us, was betrayed and was abandoned. This truth transforms re-directs our desire for fellowship toward a God who shows us the way through pain.
There is no pain you can endure that Christ can’t make beautiful in the end
Sunset Hike and Doxology
By evening, the whole group hiked out to a lookout point on the peninsula. There they sat together in silence. They watched the sunset together. They sang the doxology.
The doxology is a tradition at Wheatstone Ministries. It’s one of the few songs that most Christians know and sing. At Wheatstone, we use it to close each day in worship and praise to Him from whom all blessings flow.