Some of my favorite memories from my adolescence revolve around summer camp trips with my church’s youth ministry program. I remember sitting around campfires, singing silly songs, learning about Jesus, and getting to know the people I was with in brand new ways. My teen years were punctuated by adventures with other young people to places I’d rarely, if ever, been so I could get to know God, myself, and my neighbor a little better. I pray at some point in your life that you’ve had similar experiences – going somewhere different with people you may or may not love yet and learning to see God in a new way.
While imperfect, the trips I went on were incredibly formative for me. I asked big questions and learned how to sit with them. I challenged norms and learned how to hold love and frustration. I experienced God in bright, extravagant ways that I sometimes miss until I notice God showing up again.
We’re heading to Johnsonburg Camp & Retreat Center this Sunday, July 31, with 30 youth and adults. Things will go wrong. People will forget pillows. I’ll somehow misplace my notes for small groups or some such nonsense. And yet God will do something. God will show up. While it will be far from perfect, I am hopeful that our youth will experience something special at camp this year. They’ll know they are seen and invited into something precious regarding their walk with God.
As we prepare to leave for camp I ask that you pray for our youth, our leaders, and me. Pray that God shows up, that our youth feel loved, and everyone stays safe. Pray that the radical love of God might be abundantly apparent to every one of our participants. And lastly, pray that we return home with new enthusiasm for the gospel of love found in Christ Jesus.