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Is Royal Rangers Still Relevant?

The other day I was having a conversation with some friends and fellow Royal Ranger leaders. In the conversation, we were discussing Royal Rangers and perceptions people have of it. Some of the things that have been said are that: Royal Rangers is an ineffective and antiquated ministry, not relevant, costs too much money, requires too much manpower, and is too expensive. I have been pondering: how do we make it more effective and active in more of our churches?

These are the same discussions/objections that I’ve heard for 15+ years. These are the reasons given by churches that don’t have Royal Rangers. The leaders in Rangers that I know are positive that it is relevant. We know that we have helped boys, we know that there’s great spiritual fruit, because we see it all the time. We also know that fatherlessness is one of the biggest problems in our country, in the world probably. We know that there’s a lack of men active in many churches. We know that the Biblical example for mentoring is done in small groups, or one on one. Royal Rangers addresses and provides a male role model and mentoring starting with boys in kindergarten going all the way through high school. Manhood, Christian manhood is relevant! I don’t know how we could make Royal Rangers less expensive than it already is. If you still think it’s expensive, please inquire with your Sectional or District Royal Ranger leadership about how to do Royal Rangers and not spend a lot. You can also send me a message and I will help. Antiquated, I’m not sure what they mean when they say antiquated, that it is not relevant to boys “in this day and age”. A Royal Rangers outpost can center its activities on anything music, drama, camping, hiking, missions, trades, outreach…. anything. It’s not just an outdoor program. Manpower is a long-term problem, if you start mentoring boys (Royal Rangers), it will help you build (or build more) Godly men. If you start mentoring boys to be Godly men in your church, you will have Royal Ranger leaders, and more men active in the church. If we want to change the world and affect churches, then more men is a very good way to do it. Royal Rangers is a set of tools, that you can choose from to help you mentor boys. You pick the tools you want to use in your church. You don’t have to do everything the platform offers. Every Royal Ranger group is not the same… not even close.

Knowing all of this, maybe the problem is not what they say it is or was, the problem may be communications. We, as Royal Ranger leaders are not communicating well. Just maybe they’re saying those things because some of them used to be true, but no longer are. We need to own this communication problem or opportunity. We’re not communicating the wins, victories and all the positive things that we see in and because of Royal Rangers. I think, that maybe we need to do a better job of sharing what has happened not just at the events like camps and retreats and not just with other Ranger leaders. We need to share the mentoring things, we need the share relationship things, we need to communicate with the other ministries, we need to be involved with and helping with our Pastor’s vision for the church he is leading. Sharing with him what is going on with individual boys, and how they are growing. I think that that will help us. Communication is one of the keys.

The Importance of Investing in People and Practical Steps in the Process

The Importance of Investing in People and Practical Steps in the Process

Where does one start on this subject? Great question! This has been a life-long pursuit for the Ole Sarge.

I tell people all the time, “It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, at the end of the day, we’re all in the people business.” – Sarge Summers

Think about that quote for just a moment. Truth or fiction? It depends a lot on one’s attitude doesn’t it? You see, your perception of me is in fact, my reality! If you perceive someone to be a good person, then in your mind it is so…

Let’s explore how one invests in the life of another…

Step 1: Pray about it!
Sounds simple enough, right? The Bible instructs us to pray for one another and so we do. I believe, God wants us to pray in “specific” terms. In order to do this we have to do some research about the other person. Get to know them and show genuine concern for them and their respective needs.

Step 2: Know your own limitations.
Do not exceed these limitations. In other words, if you’re not a certified counselor, don’t try to give the impression that you are. You’ll find that most folks, just want someone to listen to them. Be willing to do this, but never assume that because someone says, “I’d like your advice,” that they really mean it. Be careful because many have fallen into this trap.

Step 3: Try your best to have and display the “Mind of Christ.”
The question, What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)? Well, what would He do? If we keep this thought/question at the fore-front of our thinking, it will save us a lot of heartache and grief.

Step 4: Respect the other person’s opinions.
You don’t have to necessarily agree with them, but understand that their opinions are important to them and have been formed over time and that we are in fact, “a product of our own environment.” Give them space…

Step 5: Be the “genuine” article.
In other words, don’t try to be something that you’re not. People are drawn to you for who you truly are and they don’t want to find out later that you are not who you portrayed yourself to be. Be yourself and align yourself with the Word of God. Too spiritual? I hope not…

Step 6: Be cautious!
We can’t be all things to all people. Many have tried and many have failed in this role. Again, know your limitations and never over-sell. Don’t over promise and under deliver!

Step 7: Take inventory.
This is a necessity! Where are you in the process of investing in people and what do you have in the way of resources.

This is a short article and not an exhaustive study on the subject. The intent is to stimulate some thought and ideas on the topic.

My encouragement to each of you is to enjoy the process (journey) and be a “Difference Maker” in this world.

One more thought… You will need to allow yourself to be vulnerable. That’s a bonus statement! Jeremiah 29:11


Sarge Summers
God’s Faithful Servant-Leader
Director of Development, Royal Rangers International (RRI)
Joshua 1:9

Answering the Call

In 1962, God called upon a man from North Texas to establish a ministry that over time would minister to untold numbers of boys and men.  At the time, single parent households were on the rise, and it seems as though God had placed this prophetic message within the hearts of Johnny Barnes and the Assemblies of God that a forthcoming explosion of single parent households would soon grip the country and add a strain on the youth of the United States.  Between 1960 and 1975 the number of single parent households more than doubled with 4.9 million single parent homes recorded.  Fast-forward 40+ years to 2016 and the problem has grown significantly.  During the last census over 17 million children under the age of 18 (or roughly 1 in 4) in nearly 12,000,000 families were reported as being raised in a single parent home, of which over 80% were headed by single women.

There are many reasons why we see over 80% of these homes led by women, but above and beyond any specific reason we clearly see a significant gap in male leadership within these homes.  This has led to significant and serious issues within our society, and while the statistics paint a fairly clear picture of the problem it should be stated that these single mothers are not the reason that we see the statistics that we do.  While the number of single parent homes has risen dramatically since the 1960’s, another troubling statistic has paralleled that increase, as over the past 30 years, the rise in violent crime parallels the rise in families abandoned by fathers.

The evidence of the professional literature is overwhelming: teenage criminal behavior has its roots in habitual deprivation of parental love and affection going back to early infancy. Future delinquents invariably have a chaotic, disintegrating family life, which frequently leads to aggression and hostility toward others outside the family.  Many Royal Ranger leaders may have experience dealing with these types of situations and can attest to the amount of pain and heartbreak that ensues as these actions play out.  In my personal experience some of these situations have thus far had a relatively positive outcome, with only a small few resulting in negative ones (prison time, abandonment of family, etc.…).

So why all of this information?  It can be said that at no time in history has a ministry like Royal Rangers been more important to the Church or society at large as it is now.  However, “Houston, we have a problem”…  In 1962 great leaders established a proven formula for reaching, teaching, and keeping our youth from the criminal statistics and broken families that we so often hear about today, but that ministry is largely ineffective without men to lead it.  In churches all across our great country, thousands of boys attend at church where the men in that church interact with or involve them very little, removing precious opportunities to learn and know what it feels like to be loved and appreciated by a Godly man.  Many of these same boys go home each evening to a home with no father, no godly manhood from which to learn, and yet are expected to live up a pre conceived notion of what a Christian man looks like.  It should be noted that these “churches” of which I speak are not specifically outside of the Assemblies of God, which highlights another problem, and that is the lack of participation we see within our own affiliated organizations.

The truth is, without intervention and the intentional efforts of Godly men, these statistics will likely not improve, but degrade over time.  So what do we do about it?  Similar to what it says in Mark 16, we must as Royal Rangers leaders go into the all of the world and let our communities and friends know about what we do and how they can help.  This includes our own churches…  We need more men than ever to be trained and join the ranks of Royal Rangers leaders all across the world so that we can reach more boys and men than ever, more effectively than ever.  We cannot afford to be a men’s club that keep our meetings in secret or a Wednesday night classroom confined to reading and writing.  We must be the ministry that the leaders before us established to reach, teach, and keep boys for Christ.

Our mission is to evangelize, equip, and empower the next generation of Christlike men and lifelong servant leaders.  We cannot do this in a vacuum, and we cannot expect the older men in our church to take responsibility for this alone.  This is a task that will require men of all ages, all backgrounds, and all talents working together the way that God intended to mentor boys and young men, providing them a glimpse of what it looks like to not only talk about living a life of following Christ, but through seeing our actions which will speak louder than our words.

Never underestimate the influence that a Godly man can have on a boy’s life.  As a boy who grew up in a single parent home, I can attest to the power of Godly manhood in the lives of our young men.  Most of the men in my life that have had the greatest impact on me have been men that I met in Royal Rangers, and I hear this from other men all the time.  If we have that kind of impact on one another, imagine how much more of an impact we can have on the boys and young men in our communities.

Fireside Discussion

What does FCF mean to you?

Ad dare servire. If you are a member of Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship, you should know what that means. And I’m not just talking about what the translation is from the Latin.  “To give and to serve.” To give of your time and your resources. To serve as the backbone of the Royal Rangers ministry. I remember the first few work days that we had at our Royal Rangers campground at Lakeview Camp. Almost every man and young man working those events, was a member of FCF.

So what does being a member of Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship mean to me? I’ll start with a story from 10 years ago. At that time, my son was a member of a Royal Rangers outpost, but I was too busy with work and everything else to be a part of that. So one day, he comes to me and says, “Dad we should go to this black powder safety class that they are doing this weekend.” Well I figured if firearms are involved it has to be a good idea! Little did I know, but that one class would change me forever. I spent time with my son, and we talked about Royal Rangers. I spent time talking to the instructor (Art Sullivan) and other members of FCF that were there teaching and taking the class. But most importantly I found that my son and I were really drifting further and further apart, and that this would be a great way for us to become close again. So I became a Royal Rangers Commander. Christopher and I went to FCF Adventure together. We went to campouts together. We went through our Buckskin testing together. He earned his Saber and his Gold Medal of Achievement, and I was there the whole way. Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship saved our relationship.

I say all of that to say this. Commanders, if you are in FCF, and your boys are not in FCF, BOTH of you are missing out on a blessing. If you are losing your older boys to the fumes, exhaust fumes and perfumes, FCF is a way to challenge them and keep them interested in Royal Rangers. Challenge the boys to advance in FCF. There is nothing better than seeing a group of young men in a Buckskin ceremony or even better a Wilderness ceremony after their vigil. But once you get the boys into FCF, bring them to camps! More than likely, if you don’t go, they won’t or can’t go. And again, you both are missing out on a blessing.

About seven years ago, my son graduated high school and pretty much finished his Royal Ranger career, and then eventually joined the Army. So I decided that I would get out of Royal Rangers and leave FCF behind me. And I did. For about 6 months. Then the Lord reminded me that he had called me to be in Royal Rangers and, more specifically, Frontiersman Camping Fellowship. And I came right back. This is MY ministry. This is what I do. This is what makes me happy. This is how I spend my spare time. This is how I spend the majority of my vacation days every year.

It is about a brotherhood. I know in our Chapter, we very seldom shake hands with another FCF member. We hug. Yep, we are huggers. I met the guy I call my best friend at my FCF Adventure!  So yeah, it’s a brotherhood. When you go to a Pow Wow or other camp with all of your boys, you spend so much time making sure they are safe, and they eat, and they are where they are supposed to be at the time they are supposed be and they maybe have taken a shower and possibly brushed their teeth and are sleeping in the right tent and are actually in the tent and not running around someone else’s camp and on and on and on, that you don’t get a chance to sit around the fire and put your feet up and talk about your life and your God with other commander and you come back more tired than when you left. I have found FCF camps to be very relaxing, once you spend all day putting up your shelter and your awning and your bed and your tables and chairs and candle lanterns and cooking area and …well you get it. I’ve spent more time with my brothers talking about things at FCF camps than anywhere else. That alone is worth the price of admission!

Oh! One more thing. We shoot muzzle-loaders! Yep, black powder rifles baby! NOTHING beats the smell of the sulfur smoke in the morning! Enough said!

If you want more information about FCF, look me up on our District website, ntxrr.org. Or ask any one of your local Chapter officers or members. Royal Rangers needs more Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship members. Besides, if you get a boy hooked on black powder rifles, primitive knives and leather working, bead necklaces, canvas tents and wood furniture, he won’t have time or money to chase after anything else!

Watch Yer Topknot,

David “Spotted Bull” Shook

Shawnee Trail Chapter

Vice President

Effective Outpost Communication

In marketing, there is a strategy named “The Rule of 7”.  Behind this strategy is the notion that consumers need to hear or see something seven times before they remember it.  In reality, there is no science to the number of 7, rather the strategy simply implies that the marketer must constantly keep their message in front of the consumer in order to get through when the consumer is positioned to receive the message.

Before we lay out possible ways of applying these principles within an outpost, let’s first take a glance at some different types of barriers that exist which obfuscate or dilute our message.

Barriers to Effective Communication

The biggest issue that we must overcome within church circles is noise.  From Sunday morning bulletins to announcements, to newsletters and all things in between, most of our parents are inundated with the latest and greatest from every ministry that their family is involved in.  Additionally, church time is an excellent opportunity for people to fellowship and catch up with one another, so the pieces of paper that we are handing out do not always get the amount of attention that we’d like.  Likewise, passing conversations can easily be forgotten because chances are several other conversations will occur between the time we’ve said our piece and that person gets to their car.  Noise in the context that we’re using it does not entail anything bad, it simply is a challenge that we must contend with.

Parents may not always understand the need or urgency of our message.  For example, they may not realize that the weekend activity that you are organizing is a leadership merit meant to challenge their son and help him on his way to meeting annual goals.  This can be especially challenging when attempting to get boys signed up for a camp, and rest assured this issue is not specific to Royal Rangers.  Youth and children’s ministries are constantly battling against the same issues that we do with regard to communicating with parents.

In our constantly changing economy, family finances are constantly in flux.  If you are trying to raise money, schedule an event, or take a boy on a trip there is typically a cost involved.  Not all parents will be able to shoulder the financial burden that so many of our ministries place on them.  Believe it or not, your message may not be receiving traction due to the time of the month it is based on the parent’s pay check cycle.  Having your message come out at the wrong time could mean that it is ignored.

Another issue that we face in communicating with our Outpost is trust.  Do your parents know who you are?  Do they know what the Royal Rangers mission is, and do they believe that you are working toward that mission with their son?  It is very important for us as leaders to constantly reinforce the mission of Royal Rangers to avoid trust issues.  Looking at it objectively, many parents only see Royal Rangers before and after service.  For many outposts this time is spent as recreation or forming and can appear on the surface to be unorganized chaos.  Any Royal Rangers Leader knows that a lot of what makes our ministry special does not occur before or at the of our outpost meeting, but during the time that we spend mentoring our boys in bible study, developing a skill merit, or experiencing an adventure outside of church.

Applying the Rule of Seven

First and foremost, we can never rely on one type of communication.  People recognize and perceive things very differently from another, so we should attempt to share our message with them multiple times using four different methods of communication.  We must also be cognoscente that timing can impact the effectiveness of our message, so anything that is important for us to share should be coordinated well in advance of any due date.

The following list provides some ideas for different types of communication methods that can be used along with how that method is effective.

Printed Letter
This is a very common communication method, and is typically something that we should try to do multiple times.  The printed letter is effective because it can be referenced multiple times.  The challenge with this method is ensuring that it gets to the proper audience.  Trusting that a boy delivered the letter to the intended recipient is not a certainty, so unless we are able to specifically hand this to the proper person we cannot know that the message was received.

Many parents rely on email for work related matters and have become accustomed to checking them and reading them daily.  If you are able to harvest the email addresses for your parents and target email to them then you have a good chance that many of them will see your message.  Again, email is something that can be flagged or kept for an indefinite amount of time which increases the chances that it will be viewed.  There are barriers to this method, which include lack of email capabilities for your audience and junk filters which hide your message.  If you are going to employ email as a method you should ensure that parents know where the email is being sent from so that they can add it their safe list, or at the very least be looking for it in their junk list.

Social Media
Social media is all the hype these days with the rise in popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  These communication methods are effective because statistics indicate that many people utilize social media multiples times per day.  Facebook alone serves over 1 billion users daily.  Communicating your message over social media not only has the potential to reach your intended audience, but in the process you may also be able to communicate the activities that you are doing with new families.  When using social media it is important that we understand the role of each of the major social media sites.  For communicating ministry events the most applicable site is Facebook.  Twitter is more single thought based and not really intended to communicate a large amount of information.  It seems that anymore Twitter has been relegated to social awareness and trending news and events.  LinkedIn is purely a professional networking site and should for the most part be avoided when communicating outpost activities.  Social media is another method that if used, should be employed numerous times leading up to the activity.

Many churches have abandoned the traditional bulletin to save on costs and reduce administrative overhead.  If this is an option for you, having a regular spot on the bulleting can be an effective way to share what you’re doing.  Challenges include making sure that the content is updated regularly and not static, and that the deadlines for submitting are understood and adhered to so that messages are timely.

Text Message
SMS texting is yet another option that can be used to communicate with your outpost.  These messages are delivered directly to the parent’s mobile device and there is a very good chance that they will receive it.  Challenges include collecting applicable mobile numbers and ensuring that parents agree to receiving text messages from you.  We must be mindful that some mobile users still pay for SMS messages per message.  When using this method messages should be concise and sent sparingly.

Service Announcement
If your church allows your message to be shared in a pre-service video or by someone who recites upcoming news and events, this is a great way to get a message out to your church.  Challenges with this include knowing that your intended recipients are seeing or hearing the message, and unless you are delivering the message, ensuring that it is accurately conveyed to the audience.

Last but not least is the age old method of verbally sharing your message.  This is likely the most effective way to convey your message and requires that you know who your audience is personally.  Drop off and pick up times are excellent opportunities to share a message verbally, and by studying body language we can get a good feel for whether or not our message was heard and understood.  The downside to this method is that it can easily be forgotten and there is not anything tangible to reference back to.

Regardless of the method or methods employed, all of the aforementioned methods can be an effective part of your communication strategy when applied at the right time with the right amount of information.  Additionally, with all of these methods, there is an opportunity after our activity has concluded to communicate the results of the event.  This type of follow up helps to effectively break down trust issues and earn buy-in from parents who want to know that you are ministering to their son.

The Seven Experiences

Royal Rangers uses seven experiences to guide boys on their journey to godly manhood. You can easily customize any of these experiences to reflect your church’s vision, preferences and practices.

    Boys and men build relationships side by side as they do activities together. Regular, consistent interaction between boys and men is key.
    Boys want to participate in a variety of activities, and the Royal Rangers ministry features a vast collection of resources to support their interests. Leaders are encouraged to plan a wide range of activities to appeal to a broad spectrum of boys.
    The Royal Rangers advancement system is an outcome-based discipleship journey. Boys and young men are encouraged to earn special recognition in each group, quarterly and annually. The system intentionally connects the Royal Rangers discipleship process to the boys’ journey to manhood—adventure, character and task.
    Boys learn best when they hear instruction, see it demonstrated, immediately do it themselves, and when appropriate, have the opportunity to teach others.
    Boys and young men want to feel as though they are part of a winning team or program. Attire contributes to a sense of belonging, to a sense of being part of something bigger than self.
    The Royal Rangers program provides boys and young men with opportunities to learn and practice leadership skills that will help make their God-given dreams a reality.
    The Royal Rangers program encourages and provides tools for boys to make a difference in the world around them.

Junior Leadership Development Academy, Empowering the NEXT Generation

We have seen promotion videos, Facebook posts and heard other Commanders talk about Junior Leadership Development Academy (JLDA).  You may be wondering if it is everything that it is made out to be.  You may have never experienced it or even know what it is all about.  Will it stand up to the hype?  My experience through serving on staff as well as having many Rangers graduate JLDA, says yes, it will meet or exceed your expectations.

I have served as Patrol Advisor for Adventure Training Camp (ATC) (no longer available), Camp Commander of Ranger Training Camp (RTC) (the replacement to DTC/ATC) and just recently I had the privilege to serve as Camp Commander of a newly developed Action Camp called Shooting Sports Action Camp (SSAC).  If you look at my 13 plus year career as a Royal Rangers Commander, serving at three camps and observing other JLDA camps, it may not sound like a huge commitment.  Many of the years my work schedule did not permit me to have the time off to be at camp.  Though I couldn’t be there, I always had our boys attend.  We saw the value of junior leadership training from the very beginning and it did not take any time for us to see the benefits that came through JLDA.  The boys were more confident in their skills, decision making, and understanding of their role in the Outpost as a Junior Leader.

In my opinion, there is no better camp that Royal Rangers offers.  I have seen first time Salvations, deliverance from addiction, healed relationships and boys baptized in the Holy Spirit at the altar of a JLDA camp.  I have seen a boy who wasn’t very excited about Royal Rangers get recharged, refocused and set new goals for his life after attending JLDA.  I have seen Commanders rediscover their passion, mission and calling at a JLDA camp.  But the lasting result that is easily identified after camp is over is the sense of responsibility and state of maturity that a young man possesses at his local Outpost when attending Junior Leadership Development Academy.

JLDA is a process.  You can’t receive all of the benefits I am talking about by sending them just one time or by rushing them through the Academy to earn their saber as quick as possible.   The process works best when he comes back year after year and when the young man is able to apply what he has learned at his local Outpost over a period of time.  Age and maturity also plays a role in the results you will see.  We encourage our young men to continue to go through other Action Camps even after earning their saber to gain more experiences, apply their leadership knowledge and continue to develop as a man of God.  It teaches them that leadership development is a journey, not a destination, and that serving God and people is a part of the culture of a Ranger leader.

Action Camps are not just for young men.  This year was the first time Oklahoma had a Commander attend an Action Camp.  He was a Ranger Kids Commander that wanted a new experience and he was able to do it with his son.  The father and the son were able to work in the same patrol and experience the challenges, time shortages and accomplishments together.  We see many advantages to having a Commander in a patrol, so if you have been hesitant on “pulling the trigger” with this new way of training, I would encourage you to give it a try.

I believe there are many reasons for you to support your district JLDA camps.  If your District does not have what you are looking for, there are also several options for Action Camps throughout our Region that you may want to take advantage of.  Whatever you decide to do, I hope I was able to shed some light on this powerful tool Royal Rangers has called Junior Leadership Development Academy.

Kasey D. Bruce
NSSP Field Advisor


Why is it important to be involved outside of your Outpost?

Why is it important to be involved outside of your Outpost?

Perhaps a better question would be why so many leaders are not involved outside of their outpost…

Here is my take…  I’m not just speaking about leader events or training either, although I don’t think that you’ll find any better training for what we do anywhere else in the world.  I am talking about everything from camps, to leadership meetings, from sectional training events to National training events and everything in between.

As I meet new leaders each month it is interesting to see and hear how varied commitment levels are.  I meet a lot of lifers (folks who have invested 20 or more years) and these tend to be the people I see at all the big events, District Conference, National Conference, etc…  I don’t meet as many 20-30 somethings, and I know some of the reason, I share those with them.  Kids, career, etc…

As a young parent I know the value of being involved in your family and for me that is even more reason to invest in fellowship with other leaders.  These people are dedicated to serving God and mentoring boys and young men; exactly the kind of influence that I as a young father need in my life.

Regardless of our age, men need other men in their lives.  Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NIV) says, “If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.” And Proverbs 27:17 says “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”  These are an open invitation for us as leaders to sharpen one another for the works that God has in store for His ministry.

By getting involved in this ministry outside of your local outpost you expose yourself to the countless years of experience of those whom God has placed before you.  You learn the history of what we are doing, and stay informed of where we are heading.  This results in a consistent approach to mentoring boys and young men that families can count on from Outpost to Outpost, from District to District, and so on…  Additionally we are able to share in each other’s victories, pray through adversities, and in unity give Glory and Honor to the King of Kings.

Let’s help each other share the importance of involvement outside the local outpost with every leader.  Your next Sectional Commander or District Director may be operating under the radar, so reach out to everyone you know.  By getting more leaders involved we can only get stronger.  I believe that this starts with all of the leaders that are currently involved reaching out to those who are not and expressing all of the reasons for them to get outside of their comfort zone.  Thoughts?  Opinions?  More Reasons to get involved?