Kids Camp 2010 for our kids was pretty phenomenal. There are some things I’d like to see different for next year, but the experience was powerful. We took 58 kids this year and I can’t imagine we’ll take any less than 100 next year, not with the feedback parents and kids will hear from this year’s camp.
Personally, this was one of the best camp experiences I’ve ever had. It was a really unique opportunity for our church as for me. I guess I’ll start off at the beginning. I’m a HUGE believer in the power of camp. I went to summer camp as a 3rd-5th grader and have very specific and tangible memories of God’s work in my life at summer camp. Although I asked Christ into my life as a 4 year old, it was at camp as a 10 year old that I wept at the alter for the first time feeling sorrow for my sin and how it affected my relationship with God. In many ways, I see that experience as a 10 year old as the linchpin that put me on the path for who I am now. It was even at that summer camp where I got my first glimpse of my calling… something I still treasure today.
So, for the past 10 or so years, I’ve been organizing camps for the kid’s ministries I run. Only twice have I attended a camp I didn’t organize. So, in running these camps, I was responsible for organizing everything as well as delivering the messages every evening. It’s a lot of work… but I still love it.
When getting ready for camp this year, we originally booked a facility near Dallas and we would have complete control of the experience. However, by January, I was getting nervous that we would get enough kids to cover our financial responsibility. In this late hour, we found a camp (one that my children’s pastor had been involved with for years) that programed the same way we would. With this camp, there would be no financial risk as we only would have to pay for what we bring. Last of all, they hadn’t yet hired a Camp Pastor, and they offered the opportunity to me. It was a huge blessing that God just put in our lap.
So, this summer at camp, I spent as much time with our Gateway kids as possible. I also made sure to join the activities of other kids from other churches so I could get to know them as well. However, my only responsibility was to speak to the kids. It was wonderful. I spent time every morning and every evening looking over my messages and actually rehearsing, something I rarely do. By the time I actually delivered my talks, they were pretty much memorized… I could speak from my heart and not be tied to a podium. It was a wonderful experience to have just one focus.
I discovered something. I rarely get to speak to kids anymore. Maybe one or two times a year I’ll speak to the elementary kids and 3-5 times a year I’ll teach the baptism class. However, in this week of speaking 9 times in 5 days, I recognized that when I’m speaking to kids, I’m doing what I do best. I love what I do now. I’m passionate about it too. I know that I can’t speak to kids every week and still do the job I do now… and that’s fine. However, I know that I have to find ways to speak in this way becasue it truly is a gifting and a passion.
So, it was a powerful and fulfilling week for me as a Camp Pastor. I look forward to doing it some more next year.
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