Youth Camp...in Clichés

#1 Writing about youth camp this year has seemed a lot more daunting then last year.
#2 All that has come to mind when trying to describe the experience are a lot of different clichés.
#3 I've decided to just go with it...this should be fun.

Youth Camp in Clichés


Youth Camp...

  • ...is like opening a can of worms.  Once you pop that top...they're all going to come squirming out.
Even though I had one year of youth camp recently under my belt I still had no idea what was going to come up and out of these kids this week.  Once we all headed off in our new (to us) short buses there was no going back!

  • It's like putting all your eggs in one basket.  You have to be all in, all the way.
One thing I knew upon pulling out of the parking lot was that spending the week with these kids would cost me every ounce of mental, physical, and spiritual energy I had.  Those were my eggs, camp was my basket.

  • The writing was on the wall.  Anticipation.
All of us leaders knew something would happen this week, we just didn't know what.  We were praying for God to move in these kids...we just didn't know what His move would be.

  • You can't judge a book by its cover.  You never know what's going on inside a kid's head.
By the end of the first full day of camp some of the students started opening up and responding to the messages they'd been hearing.  Some of the kids we know really well and pretty much knew what to expect, but some of them were full of surprises.  I got really excited when one girl started asking questions and expressing a passion for the gospel that I never knew she had...I started praying right away that nothing would put out that fire inside her!

  • You can't please everyone. The annoyingly hard part of camp.
Camp activities are as diversified as they can be...some are inside, some are outside, some are active, some are calm.  There is a time of Bible study and a time of recreation.  Some of the kids lose focus of the big picture and get very tired and whiney at different points throughout the day.  It's impossible to keep them all happy and motivated.  I would like to work next year on a better strategy to help them have better attitudes...I'm laughing to myself at the near impossibility of this goal. Haha.

  • What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  This attitude should be a prerequisite for camp.
The days are long, the sun is hot, and there is a lot of whining, but by the end of every night the students are for the most part happy and satisfied.  They usually seem to feel encouraged and they love encouraging and helping each other.  By the end of the week they are stronger...physically, mentally, and spiritually.  The Lord really uses the camp experience as a whole to build these kids in different ways. 
Beyond the clichés:

We studied all about the Gospel this week.  There's nothing cliché about that. 
We learned to "know it, embrace it, live it, share it, and trust it."
We learned to be "unashamed" of our faith. 

I say "we" because I learn just as much at these camps as the kids do...the Gospel lesson is for all ages, and it never gets old.

The lesson that stuck out most to me came on Wednesday when Cliff (Cliff Jordan, the camp pastor) used Romans 12:1-2 with the point that the world says, "GET IT ALL", while the Gospel says, "GIVE IT ALL":
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
He stressed that as a living sacrifice we place ourselves on the altar of God to live as His Word commands.  If we continue to live in sin, even if we're just one step off the altar, we're not on the altar at all. This makes me all the more thankful for the grace of Jesus.

When you accept Jesus as your Savior your sins are forgiven, and God sees you as holy and pleasing, because you're covered by His sacrifice. It's all here (the Scripture says it better than I ever could):
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The Gospel...never cliché.

Unashamed.

A lot more could be said, but I'll leave it at that. 
Camp is not something to be explained, but something to be experienced...I dare you. ;)





And on an unrelated note...this is what happens when I leave IV home alone:

He decorates.  Sigh.


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