Reflecting on Kids Camp:
This was my first Kids Camp. I had no idea what I was getting into. I have been on hundreds of church camps, but this is the first one that I have experienced that is almost completely run by adult and youth volunteers. Most of the time, Susan and I were simply off-stage prompters. I have heard from our youth over the past few months that this is their favorite camp of the year. A camp where they rarely sleep, are up before 8:00 am, sleep in “rustic” cabins, spend the day shepherding small children around camp, and are without cell phone reception. How could this outdo beach camp or the international mission trip? Here is my answer: Kids Camp is a pure example of the church in action.
The Kids Camp theme was “Power Up”. Our memory verse was 2 Peter 1:3a, “God’s power has given us everything we need to lead a godly life.” The entire week was framed around God wants you to know Him, you can know God through His Word, God sent Jesus to save us, God sent His Spirit to help you, and you can help others know God. Retro graphics and sounds from 70’s and 80’s video games made for a fun and exciting week.
Kids Camp is transformative. Not only for the children, but the volunteers. Here is one moment that captures the spirit of Kids Camp. It was after 9:00 pm. We had already had a full day of dancing, singing, running, and swimming. There were tired eyes, heads on hands, and elbows on knees all around the room. We were gathered together for our last conversation of the day. Susan Tatum asked if there were any of our youth who would like to share their testimony. One of our senior girls shared about an experience she had at Kids Camp when she was a camper.
I hope you can appreciate the significance of that last sentence. A high school senior who experienced the love of Jesus at Kids Camp as a child comes back year after year to help lead other children to God! And there were several of our seniors who would say that this is the reason they would choose Kids Camp over a trip to the beach. The kids were then asked if they wanted to share anything they had learned. One of our third graders raised her hand, “Something happened in chapel tonight. Something changed.” Susan asked, “what changed?” She replied, “My heart. It felt like a weight was lifted off my heart.” This was the most honest and articulate way I have ever heard a child articulate the first time they experienced grace. By the end of the week, we had four children express that they wanted to talk more about their next steps in faith. Praise be to God.
If you have not experienced Kids Camp as a parent, grandparent, child, sponsor, adult or youth volunteer, start thinking about being involved next year. Invite a friend, sponsor a child, consider being a volunteer. Please do not miss this opportunity to be a part of a transformative ministry.
Thank you parents for trusting us with your precious children. Thank you youth and adult volunteers for allowing God to use you in ways that are making a difference. Thank you Susan Tatum for the ways you empower our church to come alongside our children. Thank you First Baptist for supporting this ministry to children.
Everything we do in our private spiritual devotion, Sunday worship, weekly small groups, letters of encouragement and affirmation, tithing and giving, and donating meals and doughnuts, allows Kids Camp to happen. Our youth would not serve so willingly and enthusiastically if not for the ways our church has consistently modelled service to others. Our children would not be so receptive to the gospel if not for the ways their Sunday School teachers and parents have nurtured their spiritual lives.
In our faith, we work, repent, believe, and repeat. We go through the rhythms of discipleship week-in and week-out not to benefit ourselves, but so that we might be more ready vessels for God’s Spirit to work through us. One of my favorite theologians, Tish Harrison Warren writes, “It’s in the dailiness of the Christian faith—the making the bed, the doing the dishes, praying for our enemies, the reading the Bible, the quiet, the small—that God’s transformation takes root and grows”. We experienced the transformative power of God this week at Kids Camp. Your actions, big or small, allowed for this to happen. May the work that began in the lives of those present continue to take root and grow.
Do not underestimate how God might use you. Kids Camp 2019 is in the books. Look at the church calendar. Look at the world around you. How can you be used by God today?
In love and service,