Five churches adopt the TRIBES program

Five churches in Calera discovered a way to bring teenagers together during the summer. Youth pastors from these churches organized an event called “TRIBES” that began in May and ended on Wednesday, July 27.

Every Wednesday for eight weeks, 150-200 youth came together at Calera Middle School’s football field wearing different colored T-shirts symbolizing their tribes.

Each tribe had its own tribe name, flag and colors. There were 10-13 tribes per night.

Calera Baptist, Calera First United Methodist, Concord Baptist, Northside Baptist and Shelby Crossings participated in the event.

The program was created and written by Rusty Sizemore 11 years ago with inspiration from the TV show “Survivor.”

“In 17 years of youth ministry, TRIBES is the best summer outreach program I have ever used,” Sizemore said. “It bonds youth through teamwork, is a lot of fun, and has brought more youth to hear about Christ than any other event.”

TRIBES involves different games like dodgeball with soccer goals, where teens have to avoid getting hit with a dodgeball while trying to score goals.

Adam Cunningham, the Worship and Student Minister of Shelby Crossings, said that it is important for teenagers to stay involved with their church over the summer.

“There are a lot of other things in the world trying to get their attention and if we keep them focused on Godly things, their tendency to stray will greatly decrease,” Cunningham said.

Teens could increase their chances of winning if they brought friends to add to their team player total. Essentially, a team could bring 10 friends, allowing their team of 22 to play another team of 10.

Points could also be achieved without ever scoring a goal. Teams would get one point for every pound of canned food they brought. The food was donated to the Shelby Baptist Association and Shelby Emergency Assistance.

There was a devotional each night after the games.

Clay Farrington, the youth pastor of Calera United Methodist, said the Tribes program gave teens a free and fun way to stay connected to the church.

“It’s a phenomenal program,” Farrington said. “I’m going to use it every summer from now on. It’s that good.”