Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christian Summer Camps

This has to be quick.  So at camp today, I was talking to a counselor who just got back from a month-long camp where she was a counselor.  She had a disappointing experience for a number of reasons.  The primary disappointment was that she thought the staff focused more on numbers for the wrong reason.  The focus was off.  There was a herd mentality to get all the kids "saved", with no real interest in their lives or discussing how to live for Christ.   They seemed to be in it purely for the numbers.  

I guess I never considered this kind of thing at children's camps.  The camp I am at is amazing - well, it's the people involved.  I know these people, know their hearts and have seen them in action.  Some have taken a week off work to be here.  A few are driving 1-1/2 hours just to be part of the praise and worship team in the evening which lasts maybe 15-20 minutes and then drive 1-1/2 hours back home.  That's love.  

I'm sad to think of those kids who went to Christian camp and missed out on the full meal deal.  And I'm so glad to be a part of something that I'm experiencing here.  It has opened my eyes, that's for sure.  

So, if you send your kids to camp - be sure to do a little investigative work.  Or better yet, go volunteer!    :)


  1. It is sometimes this way in churches, too. We want to count them among our numbers, and that's where it ends. Praise God for good churches that understand that Jesus said to go and make disciples--not converts.

  2. Have fun at camp Julie Anne. Here's a little YouTube video that will make us grin, or angry, depending on your point of view. I find it amusing. But what's with the verse at 2:10 in the video?

    How To speak Christianese:


    1. verse at 2:10 is 1 Corinthians 6:1 "When you have something against another Christian, why do you file a lawsuit..?"

      The idea was funny, but I felt they could have done a whole lot more with the video, specifically in throwing in a whole lot more Christianese. a Bel Air Presbyterian Church production

    2. Yep. They could have gone much further with the Christianese, but it does make a point, IMO, in a very humorous way.

      They took a very simple example, "alter call". I would have just assumed everyone knew what that meant. But maybe that is part of the point. Those of us who grew up in the church just know all the buzzwords.

      Now since we have the prosperity gospel being preached we have a whole lot of new buzzwords. A lot of them not found in the Bible. And a lot of them would be (are) labeled 'heretical' by mainline Christians & theologians. I would tend to agree.

      I certainly did not intend to imply that the lawsuit part was funny. NOT.. I had seen this video a couple times before and totally missed that verse at 2:10. But this was before I had ever heard of a pastor suing an ex-member of his church.

  3. I was in South Africa last month - which was the perfect place to read the book, "The Hole In Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns (president of World Vision).

    He's right when he says that we've focused so much on the great commission, that we've committed the great OMISSION. Just as you've said, we care about the numbers, but we don't seem to care about the real needs of the members of our family - our Christian family. Jesus didn't seem to worry about numbers - he met the needs. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, raised the dead, and lifted the broken, and along the way his love led people to The Father.

  4. I grew up under the pressure and full weight of this thinking! I am an survivor from Prairie Bible Institute in Canada, where there have been close to 100 victims come forward.

  5. Julie Anne, it sounds like you are having a good week - how awesome. I was full-time in camping for 15 years and have spent another 15 years volunteering and have always been amazed at how trusting parents are. The American Camping Association has great questions for parents to ask (www.acacamps.org/)that cover safety and training (also important if we really want to show how loving we are).

    But we should ask other questions to. What's the mission of the camp? Is it on salvation or relationship? That sounds like what you are talking about. Where do the Bible studies come from? Who writes them? What is their theological focus?

    Personally I always felt kids learned a lot about God through watching counselors drive 3 hours every day just to lead worship. Or having a counselor who will go to the restroom with them in the middle of the night because they are scared. Or a counselor who will hide the fact that they wet the bed or had some other embarrassing problem. And a big one - counselors who talk to them at the dinner table instead of focusing on other counselors. It's still important they learn though word, but in their home world, they will have to know how to live it and they learn that through people like you.

    I worked with thousands of campers over the years, and whenever one of them sees me now or finds me on Facebook, the story they tell is the relationship story and what that meant to them. One woman I've known for years is now in full-time ministry. She just told me a few weeks ago that the defining moment for her was when she was late to her first leadership training event at camp. She was stressed out, nervous (age 14), and her mom was mad. She knew she'd feel weird walking in late. But when she arrived, we all turned to her and welcomed her, saying we had been waiting for her and were so excited to see her. She decided to enter the ministry to show other people what it meant to live in a Christian community like that.

    May you feel energized this week and may the relationship you share with the youth touch their hearts.

  6. Hi Soundsblue and Welcome! Good to see you join the folks here!

    So glad that the 'weight of that thinking' has been lifted from your mind and that you have experienced the 'real deal' heart Gospel and are faithful to share that with so many others!

    Liz, Thanks for sharing about that book. Looks intriguing. I thought that your 2nd paragraph made an excellent piece to quote.

    I still meet people who believe in the button-holing method of instant evangelism. How can I gently tell them that it ainta gunna work. People just freeze up and turn off. What works is: Caring for people, over time. As you say: "along the way his love led people to the Father."

  7. You know, JULIE ANNE, most of yesterday and much of last night I could NOT get that song out of my head and it's still there!




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