It’s that time of year again. The schools have released most of their captives and the sun draws a little too close for my freckle-spattered skin. This is one of the best times of the year for me as a youth pastor and father, because I love spending time with students and my little girls. One of the best ways I get to spend time with both is also the most important event that of the year, CAMP. I love that I still go to the same camp I went to as an 8yo kid. Each year when I go back, God reminds me of what He did in my life, and what He told me about my future.
One year at camp, when I was 13, I had everything go wrong. I was hurt multiple times and was begging to go home before I got hurt worse. My leader asked me to just make to the end of the week and trust that God wanted to do something in me. Against my better judgment, I stayed and was hurt a few more times. By the time we got to Thursday, I had nothing left, nothing but a desire to go home. Again, my leader reminded me to just give what I had left to God, which was nothing, and expect God to speak to me. During preservice prayer, I remember walking down front with the thought, “Here we go again. I’ll give you one more shot God.” That moment became the most important moment in my life, outside of salvation, because I encountered God. That is the moment I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and called into youth ministry.
Every year I go back, I like to show my girls the spot where God changed everything for me. I tell them that God can change them too. Never underestimate the value of a little time alone with God. Camp is a great way to enter into an environment that points everything to God. It turns off all of the tech distractions and connects people with people and people with Christ. If you do anything this year, send a student to camp. It could be the year that God changes everything for that student. Expect God to go beyond what He has done before, and He will.