On June 4-9, 45 students attended camp at Jonathan Creek in Hardin, KY. They didn’t set up tents, forage for food, or start fires (at least I hope they weren’t starting fires). Camp serves as a unique opportunity for students to get away from all of the distractions of home and spend a week with hundreds of people their own age in a fun, high energy environment. However, the main focus of the camp is always Jesus. One of the common misconceptions about Youth Summer Camp is that the students go and mess around doing fun stuff all week and mix in a little Bible study or Worship as a side to the main dish of fun. Each morning the students have a short morning Worship, followed by a large group Bible study and small group Bible study. In the afternoon they spent an hour of time alone with God and discussion of that time with our church group. In the evening they have an extended Worship time, probably close to 1:30-2 hours followed by a debrief time where the students can talk through what God it doing in their lives.
One of the highlights of this year’s camp was seeing a young man with our group named Tyson request to be baptized while he was there. It was at camp in 2016 that Tyson started his relationship with Jesus. He doesn’t have a church home that he is able to regularly attend at home so he wanted to be baptized where it all started for him. What a special opportunity to see a young man come to know Christ through camp ministry and then to come back the next year and have the opportunity to see him take that next step in obedience to our Lord by baptizing him.
The theme for this year was Outsiders: Citizens of Heaven. In between zip lining into the lake, tubing, and shooting each other with foam balls, students were challenged to determine which residence they were living for—their home on earth or their home in heaven. Students wrestled with what their lives reflected and how they could live out their life as a citizen of heaven and many students have clear applications for how their lives have changed because of how God worked through them during camp. The unfortunate side of camp is this…it ends. The moment the bus stops in the FBC Wentzville parking lot; real life comes flooding in. Students are hit with appointments, tournaments, conflicts, and influences, that want to send them crashing off course. Living for God seems to be a lot easier at camp. The same is true for all of us, while many of us do not attend church camp once a summer, we all go through seasons of life where we feel we are spiritually invincible. Our quiet times have gotten longer, our families are doing bible study together, we are attending Sunday School, and serving in multiple ways, but these seasons seem to end and everything rushes back, and we are tossed from one distraction to the next, one priority to the other, addressing all sorts of needs around us. I don’t want camp to be the best spiritual week of the year for our students, I want it to be the first of fifty-two. We can all relate to the distractions of life pulling us from where we want to be. The reality is God doesn’t get any quieter outside of camp weeks or awesome seasons of life—we just become poor listeners. Our week at camp was great and for many students, life-changing. Pray for our group of students in these weeks following camp, that they can continue to grow and apply the truths learned at camp.
Together, let’s pray that distractions do not become derailing for our students, or for any of us.