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Lanna Ray & Southside Baptist | SWO Stories

There is simply no shortcut to biblical discipleship. 

Gospel-centered discipleship and sanctification is a life-long process, and that’s why we love to see how the Lord produces fruit in churches and families throughout multiple generations — long past the summer season.

This will be Lanna Ray’s third year serving in the Snowbird summer program, but she’s been visiting SWO since a very young age. Her parents, Josh and Danielle Ray, are some of our closest friends and supporters. Josh served as the student pastor at Southside Baptist for over 15 years and has planted a church in South Georgia. 

The story of the Ray family, Southside Baptist, and Snowbird doesn’t seem too exciting at first. There haven’t been any news-breaking revival stories, but the Lord has nurtured our partnership for over 20 years! Lanna and her brother, Cohen, are just two examples of Southside Baptist students who served at SWO after graduating from the youth ministry. Many are now student pastors, moms, and dads serving in churches across the Southeast.

According to Lanna, she was drawn by Snowbird’s dependence on the Word of God and the investment she had already received from other SWO staff members:

I decided to serve at SWO because I noticed the value placed on the authority of God’s Word. I was so drawn to the teaching and loved being saturated in the Bible every time I came. I saw how even the application challenged me, so I knew that a summer at Snowbird would mean a summer of growth. The LMNT program did just that, and I could see why I believed what I believed based on the Word of God. The staff prioritized leading me to the Word, and I couldn’t be more thankful. 

I am returning to work another summer on staff because I know it is a place for growth.

Lanna Ray

No doubt about it, it can be hard to send your teenage daughter to serve in ministry in another state. Here is how Lanna’s father (Josh) described her time in the LMNT high school program: 

Lanna came home with a much deeper passion to glorify God with her life. She genuinely loves Jesus but her hunger for the things of the Lord and personal disciplines has exponentially increased during her summer at SWO. If I had to pick one aspect of what I liked most about my daughter being a part of LMNT team at SWO it would be her immediate desire of living out the Great Commission lifestyle daily. She has started meeting with friends and challenging them to walk and grow with Jesus.

Josh Ray
Lanna ray, swo summer staff

Real, Gospel-centered discipleship comes from a commitment to knowing Jesus and resting in the power of his Word. Following Jesus might sometimes be flashy, but most days our growth will look like small steps of simple obedience — and we need guidance from older believers around us. 

Students need faithful moms and dads.

Students need faithful churches.

Students need faithful mentors.

Students need faithful summer camps.

Pray with us for the SWO staff and churches involved in SWO24 this summer. Real “transformation stories” are always grounded in God’s Word and led by God’s Spirit. Those are the stories that last through generations and propel the Gospel message farther than you or I can imagine.

April 18, 2024

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