Church camp aye?
My first week of camp was spent at Baptist Vista.
I am personally amazed that they have a website. Anyway, I had the pleasure of teaching 7th and 8th grade boys as well as running sound for the band. It was a great time. I grew in my understanding of how the mechanics of camp works, as well as I had some great discussion of a Brazilian friend of mine.
Super Summer Arkansas is where I spent my second week of camp. I was in Prime Time 6 with dean Jonathan Whitlock. PT6 pulled out the win for rec, and then in yellow school with dean Sean Mills we pulled out the win for spirit as well! It was an exciting time with some great people, but camps not about fun and games; hence why I am writing at the moment.
One of the main things that I gathered from being at Baptist Vista was in relation to vocational ministry. What I have to write about is something that has been irking me for a while, not anything that I didn't already know. It seems that ministry has become just another profession to some. Thankfully the people I am surrounded by don't live by this standard, however it still is common. Ministry is not an occupation, it is a calling. On top of that, it is a calling that every Christian is called to do, I have talked about this in a previous post even. If you think about it though, it shouldn't be about how much you get paid, it should be about God's will in your life. God's will isn't in the money, it is in eternity. A person who devotes themselves to ministry should be grateful if they are privileged to not have to be bi-vocational or even volunteer based. A person in ministry should not be concerned about their pay, if they are within God's will he is going to take care of them. A person in vocational ministry should be so focused on the Kingdom work, that they are no longer concerned about this world. One of my favorite sections of scripture is Hebrews 11:13-16:
"13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."
Here's the deal, as followers of Christ, we are called to be different from the world, aliens as the NIV puts it, and thus so we should not be concerned about what is going on in the world, instead we should be focused on our eternal homes. The moment we grasp this concept, then we will truly be completely devoted to Christ, and show that we have no longing for the country we have left behind, i.e. secular culture.
Moving on, There are some differences between the two camps (in case you haven't already noticed). Aside from the significant size differences between the two, the content differences are noticeable as well. While what Brad talked about at Baptist Vista was definitely youth oriented, youth empowering, what Lance talked about was missional living. Both concepts were great, however the theme carried throughout Super Summer, including the school sessions, were definitely more in depth than what we talked about at Baptist Vista.
I believe that both contents were needed and useful, just that Super Summer went deeper. With camp for students, content is a must. If the spiritual content of the camp is lacking, then you have missed the entire point of camp. When we take our students to camp we need to ensure that they are growing spiritually in as many ways possible while at camp. If they go to camp and don't grow at all, then we are failing them by even offering something like that as an option.
One thing that God revealed to me while at Super Summer, was an activity that is key for every small group as they begin their time together. This was used as a "get to know you" activity. I had each of the kids in my Super Summer group, share their story. Once a student has shared their story with a group they have entered into a deeper level of trust with the group. This works great with a group no larger than 10 people, (mainly due to time constraints).
So I have spent the entire beginning of this post avoiding the title. It would be very cruel of me to write a blog about camp and avoid the subject, even more so after what the blog is titled. So the whole "camp girlfriend" experience is one that happens with at least one student from your church group each year, like a youth minister/sponsor rejoices if they make it through the week without happening. Personally I enjoy watching the romance unfold; however I realize that this can take away from the experience for the student, so this is where I am against the situation. My thoughts on the issue, pursue the girl after church camp, (if you are old enough for a relationship anyway) if the connection is still there, then go for it, just not while at camp. And guys if the girl is pursuing you, then drop it, you don't need her, she needs you, and that is not a good situation to be in.
I believe I covered everything I wanted to talk about, hopefully this was helpful/shed some light into my experiences at church camp.