When I first arrived here at Family Church, one of the things God put on my heart, was to start a summer camp for our teenage students. So we scheduled from July 22 to the morning of the 26th to be our High School Week. Then we would drive back, drop off our high school students, pick up our middle school students and head back to camp and remain there until July 29th. Our theme for camp was Elemental. In life, to remain faithful in the mission God has given us, we must build our lives on key elements : Calling, Character, Creed, and Commitment. So to be Elemental people, we must move beyond mere passion to become people of mission who change the world.
On Sunday night during high school week, we talked about Character. I shared a story about two girls I knew in my past ministries. Both of these girls came to church every week, went to youth services and to all the events every year, and were also involved in the student leadership team. If you based their lives off of their commitment to the student ministry, you would come to the conclusion that both girls loved Jesus and would keep Him as their rock for the rest of their lives. Oh, how I wish that was true. The reality was, one girl had the emotions of a Christian, but didn’t have the connection to Jesus. Because a relationship with Jesus is about heart deep, not skin deep. As we peeled back and looked at each of our lives : Are we just talking a “good game” or are we really “playing the game?” At the conclusion of the message, I gave the students an opportunity to respond. Around 20 students came forward as Jason, the Green Campus Student Director, and I had the opportunity to pray for each of them as they made the decision to begin the process of having Character that is built around Jesus.
During middle school week we had high school students help with two important jobs during camp. We had four high school students who were our Hands Crew. This crew was in charge of setting up and tearing down games, staying up late to make sure no one sneaks out of their cabins, and serving the camp in any way possible. We also had 8 high-school students as part of our Dorm Staff. They led cabin devotions with the middle school students, prayed over them, played games with them, ate with them, hung out with them, and simply became their friends. These high school students made Middle School Camp the greatest thing since sliced bread! I was more than impressed with these students and was proud to say I was their Youth Pastor. They were the extension of Jesus’ hands. Even when it was hard, even when they were tired, they just served their socks off. As I look at this past camp season, I truly believe that Jesus has stirred up something in each of the high school and middle school students who came. I am excited to see what this next school year looks like.