Before “Secret Church” Ever Was…

David Platt has a tremendous teaching and seminar called “Secret Church.”  He attempts to bring into the American church setting what house churches have to endure to meet and worship in countries where Christianity is outlawed.  The focus is primarily how to study the Bible.  “Secret Church” has been quiet effective… but it’s about 30 years behind the curve on one level.  Let me explain…

I was a summer youth counselor at Kings Arrow Ranch with Campus Crusade for Christ in 1980.  It was a time of fun while sharing the Gospel with the kids.  There was one night when the counselors would have a Bible Study with all the kids in their bunk-houses.  Then the counselors would “raid” the older kids/youth as having “illegal Bible studies.”  We “arrested” them and took them to the dining hall that had become a makeshift “jail.”  The counselors doing the Bible study would be taken “by force” and would tell their campers to run and hide.

Aside: We were careful to only do this with the older campers.  We also had adults close by to watch out for those who may take things too far (Counselors).  They also looked out for young people who may have been a little too rattled over the “arrest” so as to explain what was actually happening.

There would be several counselors who had been “arrested” and already in “jail” when the youth got there.  At some point, the already jailed counselor would find a way to divert the “guards” attention and remove them from the jail (They’d stand outside guarding the door).  Then one of the other jailed counselors would encourage the youth who had been arrested.  They’d play a Paul or Silas character from Acts by calming them about how suffering was part of being a Christian.  That there was no reason to worry because Christ promised never to leave or forsake us.  Then they’d lead in singing and worshipping God.

After doing that for a while, the counselor would share the Gospel with those who had been arrested along with the others who were Christians… but were not Christians themselves.  Usually there were some that night who trusted Christ for salvation.  After the event was over, we’d bring all the kids together for a time of worship and the director of the camp would remind them of Christians in other parts of the world for whom what they experienced was real and not an act.

It was along the lines of judgment houses that were popular a few years ago, but it was much more carefully done and great pains were taken not to use undue emotional pressure to persuade youngsters to “pray a prayer” to get saved.  So before “Secret Church” ever was… Secret Church was played out in a Campus Crusade for Christ youth camp in Lumberton, Mississippi called Kings Arrow Ranch.


3 comments on “Before “Secret Church” Ever Was…

  1. Michael Clogher says:

    I was a camper at Kings Arrow Ranch in 1980. I was one of the younger kids because I think you had to be 9 years old to attend, and I turned 9 during the week of camp. I don’t remember exactly who my counselor was, but I do remember the secret church activities.

  2. Susan Christman says:

    I was a camper at KAR from the time I was 6 until I worked as a “mouse” in the kitchen and KAR shut down the summer I was scheduled to be a counselor. It devastated me when it closed because it was such an integral part of my life. Dave and sandy Simmons had a passion for ministry. I remember playing secret church from when I was 6 until I got to be one of the ones leading a bible study! I will forever remember that camp!

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