Back from Church Camp

Now that I’m back from church camp, regular posting should resume.

I worked Senior High camp at Lakeview Methodist Camp. Our camp had about 160 kids and was very well run. Richard Luna & David Luna (no relation, though both on staff at Pollard UMC in Tyler) did a fine job directing the camp. I’ve been working camp since 1981 and this was clearly one of the best. Strengths of the camp this year include:

  • A large number of hard working adults. We had 6 pastors, numerous youth directors and other adults who gave of themselves from early in the morning until very early in the next morning (that happens when you get to bed after midnight everynight and have to mobilize the kids in your cabin to get to breakfast on time. These leaders showed clear dedication to Christ and to the kids. We had both quantity and quality.
  • Good small group interaction. Since I had a group, I don’t know the details about the other groups, but from what I did see they went well. My group came together better than any other I’ve had a camp. This was partly a function of the adult leaders (we had three), but also of the kids. They were hungry for God & for his work in their lives. It makes a big difference.
  • Good preaching. Jeff Gage, pastor of FUMC in Hooks, Jonathan Bynum pastor of Greggton UMC in Longview, Eric Ryburn, pastor of St. Andrews UMC in Mt. Pleasant, John Whitehurst, pastor of FUMC Ore City, Richard Luna, and I were the preachers. Good, challenging, substantive preaching – the kids responded well.
  • Changed lives. The more time I spend with kids today, the more I see broken and hurting lives. Huge numbers are impacted by divorce. Huge numbers are affected by major tragedy. Many are struggling. Most of the things they deal with don’t come from within but from without. At the testimony time Thursday night many shared about their experiences of God during the week. Bishop Huie’s vision is to plant 10 new churches a year for the next 10 years. Some of those future pastors were touched by God at camp this week.
  • Technology. Adam Lema (on staff at Greggton) and John Whitehurst integrated technology into camp with skill and humor. The movies John’s video workshop participants made were entertaining and fir well with the message of the day.

Things to work on:

  • Raising the articulacy level in youth. Of course, we need to do this with all ages within the church. We’ve understood Christian education too long as a passive activity – sit still and be quiet. We need to work on helping people develop skills at articulating the (and their) faith. This is a job for the local churches, but perhaps we can find more ways to do this intentionally at camp.
  • Bringing kids into leadership. In his worship workshop David Luna did a great job of drawing kids into planning and leading worship. Perhaps next year we can find a way to have some kids who are spiritual leaders who will connect with the mission of the camp from the get-go and join in the prayer support needed for each segment of the camp.
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