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Royal Rangers is an activity-based, small-group church ministry for boys in grades K-12 providing “Christlike character formation and servant leadership development for boys and young men in a highly relational and fun environment.”. The Royal Rangers program is active throughout the United States as well as over 90 other nations. Royal Rangers in the USA is a boys-only program, unless the church does not have a girls ministry program; programs in some other nations allow both boys and girls to participate. The uniforms, mottoes, practices and operation are very similar to the Boy Scouts
Note: This article refers primarily to the Royal Rangers program as it currently exists in the USA. For information about Royal Rangers in other countries, refer to Royal Rangers International below.
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- 1960 Rev. Burton Pierce comes to Springfield, Missouri as Men's Department Secretary. He helps develop "The Group of Brothers"—Burton Pierce, Lloyd Colbough, Charles Scott, Weldon Colbough, and Dick Champion—to pray for God's direction in the development of a new boys' program in the Assemblies of God.
- 1961 Rev. Pierce travels to Texas to meet North Texas District Christ Ambassadors President Johnnie Barnes. Rev. Johnnie Barnes is considered founder of Royal Rangers. Rev Barnes's memorial tombstone states that he is the Royal Rangers Founder and the handbooks as well state he founded the ministry in 1962.
- 1962 In January, Rev. Johnnie Barnes moves to Springfield, Missouri, to put together a program for boys. Rev. Charles Scott suggests the name "Royal Rangers". Rev. Barnes becomes the first Royal Rangers national commander. The first pilot program is conducted at Webster Park A/G in Springfield, Missouri, with a second unofficial pilot program conducted at Bethel A/G, also in Springfield, using the same materials.
- 1963 The Royal Rangers Leadership Training Course is developed.
- 1964 The first district-wide "pow wows", large annual camps, are held. The Gold Medal of Achievement and the Medal of Valor awards are first offered.
- 1966 Royal Rangers ministries are set up in Australia and Latin America. The Frontiersmen Camping Fraternity (later Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship; FCF) is formed. The first Royal Rangers Week is held. It celebrates the Royal Rangers ministry and encourages reaching, teaching, and keeping boys for Christ.
- 1968 National Training Camps for Royal Rangers leaders are held in four states: Missouri, Colorado, New York, and California.
- 1974 The first National Camporama, a camping event that happens every four years, is held at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ministry established in Worcester, England.
- 1977 The National Royal Rangers Council is formed and meets in Springfield, Missouri.
- 1986 The National Royal Rangers Training Center (now National Royal Rangers Center) at Eagle Rock, Missouri is dedicated. It is also called Camp Eagle Rock.
- 1989 National Commander Johnnie Barnes dies due to an apparent heart attack. For twenty-seven years he led the Royal Rangers, developing its ministry. (Commander Barnes is buried in Maple Park Cemetery, Springfield, Missouri.) Rev. Ken Hunt is named national commander. He guides the ministry for ten years.
- 1999 Rev. Richard Mariott is appointed national commander. He was the commander for the Northern California/Nevada for seven years. His goals are to encourage Royal Rangers and develop new programs.
- 2002 Ranger Kids, the first portion of the newly revised Royal Rangers ministry, is tested and released to U.S. churches.
- 2003 Discovery Rangers and Adventure Rangers materials are released to U.S. churches.
- 2004 Expedition Rangers materials are released to U.S. churches.
- 2006 Rev. Richard Mariott announces that he will resign as National Commander on December 31, 2006.
- 2007 Rev. Doug Marsh is named National Commander. He was previously Director of Royal Rangers International. His appointment was effective February 1, 2007. Marsh will continue to also direct Royal Rangers International until a transition in leadership in that department can be made. Marsh is also the first National Commander to have been involved in the ministry of Royal Rangers as a boy, having earned his Gold Medal of Achievement.
- 2008 At their annual National Council in Springfield, Missouri. in March, Royal Rangers announces plans to expand the scope of the program beyond the traditional camping emphasis to include activities of common interest to all boys (i.e. sports, technology, trades, drama/arts, outdoors, and ministry).
- 2010 The new advancement system for Discovery Rangers, Adventure Rangers, and Expedition Rangers is released. This new system will run concurrently with the previous 2002 version until Dec 31, 2012.
- 2012 Royal Rangers USA celebrates its 50th Anniversary during its 10th National Camporama at Camp Eagle Rock in Eagle Rock, MO.
- 2014 Doug Marsh resigns as National Director to return to full-time leadership of Royal Rangers International. Karl Fleig, former District Men's Ministries Director for the Indiana district is appointed as the new National Director for Royal Rangers USA.
Core Program Elements
The Royal Rangers Emblem consists of a ring of red encircling 16 points, similar to the points of a compass. Each point signifies a particular meaning. The four gold points represent the four ways a boy grows – mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually (based on Luke 2:52). The four red points represent the four Core Beliefs of the Church (Assemblies of God) – Salvation, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Divine Healing, Second Coming of Christ. The eight blue points represent the eight points of the Royal Rangers Code – Alert, Clean, Honest, Courageous, Loyal, Courteous, Obedient, and Spiritual.
The Royal Rangers flag is the Royal Rangers emblem centered on a white field
With God’s help, I will do my best to serve God, my church, and my fellowman; to live by the Ranger Code; to make the Golden Rule my daily rule.
A Royal Ranger is: Alert, Clean, Honest, Courageous, Loyal, Courteous, Obedient, Spiritual.
ALERT. He is mentally, physically, and spiritually alert. CLEAN. He is clean in body, mind, and speech. HONEST. He does not lie, cheat, or steal. COURAGEOUS. He is brave, in spite of danger, criticism, or threats. LOYAL. He is faithful to his church, family, outpost, and friends. COURTEOUS. He is polite, kind, and thoughtful. OBEDIENT. He obeys his parents, leaders, and those in authority. SPIRITUAL. He prays, reads the Bible, and witnesses.
The Royal Rangers motto is "Ready". The meaning of the motto is "Ready for anything. Ready to work, play, serve, obey, worship, live, etc.
Advancement System & Awards
The Royal Rangers advancement system includes discipleship, leadership, and skills development aspects. Each age group in the program utilizes an appropriate advancement trail for that age group. Boys complete advancement steps by earning a specified number of merits and other requirements. Achievement Awards and advancement steps form the advancement trail for Ranger Kids whereas skill, leadership, and Bible merits form the core of the advancement trails for Discovery, Adventure, and Expedition Rangers.
The highest award in Royal Rangers is the Honor Gold Medal of Achievement, which is awarded upon the completion of the entire Royal Rangers advancement system, representing a full 13 years of work. Recipients of this award must earn the highest award in each age group, as well as other requirements.
The program features a number of components of special interest to certain types of our membership. These include: Frontiersman Camping Fellowship (FCF), Royal Rangers Alumni, The Outpost Ranger of the Year, The NSSP (National Shooting Sports Program), The National Championships, Brownells/NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Program, and the "Together Plan".
Royal Rangers worldwide
Royal Rangers ministers to young people in the United States and in over 90 countries through the support of Royal Rangers International, the Assemblies of God World Missions organization tasked with the responsibility to support Royal Rangers worldwide (see RoyalRangersInternational.com). The largest organization outside the United States is in Australia, with groups in all areas except Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Royal Rangers has a variety of different training opportunities for adult leaders and boys, or Junior Leaders. Training takes place in various parts of the country and is mostly given at the District and national levels. The following are for adults:
In 2013 many elements of training were made available online including; Ranger Safety, Outpost Chaplaincy, Preventing Child and Substance Abuse and more. National Elementary Education Conference and Ranger Safety Course were updated.
Adult leader training
Outpost leaders can participate in spiritual, Royal Ranger skill, and leadership development through opportunities provided to outpost leaders and organizational leaders.
Junior leader training
Equipping the next generation of boys and young men involves preparing them for leadership. In Royal Rangers, the process of preparing boys for leadership and engaging them in leadership roles today is an integral part of what we do. The process of training junior leaders currently takes place both within the local outpost as well as at the district level. Both play a vital role in leadership development in Royal Rangers. Boys can participate in local or district leadership training as well as the Trail of the Saber.
Additional leader training
Additional leadership training is available for instructors, organizational leaders, and more.
- Royal Rangers Leader Manual, c.2010, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO USA, p12
- Obituary, Springfield (MO) News-Leader, June 17, 1989, page 2B