Can You See the Campers for the Trees?
The Sunday afternoon and evening following annual conference, I went out to Kingswood camp to teach the “theology” session for our camp counselors. It’s great fun, partly because most of them are young adults and I enjoy listening to and interacting with them. Although, two of our camp counselors are retirees (think about that!).
I shared my presuppositions about camp:
1) Parents send kids to camp for spiritual formation.
2) Church camp provides in its 24/7 format the opportunity for more than 1 year of Sunday School impact.
3) Over 80% of adults in church today became Christians by or during their teen years.
4) 60-85% of those adults made their first commitment to Christ at camp.
So, the week of camp is an important one in the life of campers, counselors, our annual conference, and the mission of our church which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ! These camp counselors have a big job–please pray for them.
I share the United Methodist understanding of grace and how it relates to the various ages and stages of young people as they come to camp. Some campers need to be made aware or reminded of God’s grace and unconditional love (prevenient grace); some need to be invited to make a commitment to Christ (justifying grace); and some need to grow in their relationship with God (sanctifying grace). In fact, all campers need all three!
I ended by saying that I expect each counselor to make it his or her goal that each camper:
1) will connect to the Creator and creation;
2) experience God’s unconditional love through him or her and their peers;
3) will witness an example of faith and find it compelling in the life of the counselor;
4) will have the opportunity to draw closer to God;
5) will have daily Bible study and prayer that connects with their lives;
6) will experience Christian community; and
7) will have fun!
Our camping program is going through a year of continued assessment and reorganization. I would appreciate it if you would share something about the following:
1) What difference has camping made in your spiritual journey? Or your child’s?
2) What’s the most important aspect of camping and how can we do it more faithfully and fruitfully?
3) What input would you give the camping program about camp overall?