Successful Summer Sr. High Camp
Last week, as a speaker for the Sr. High Camp at Camp Timberedge, in Beach Lake, PA, I enjoyed beautiful weak of perfect weather, heart warming fellowship, and an experience that changed lives. Pondering its success, I realized that all five passions, points of view, and drives were evident in very practical ways.
I combined the evangelist with the teaching component as the evening speaker, sharing Biblical principles that sparked small group and individual discussions. The camp counselors provided the pastoral, shepherding, nurturing care to those in their cabins/tents. They took what I had taught and applied it to their everyday life, helping the campers to walk out the principles. They also reinforced the teaching component in a more intimate setting. Their nurturing care developed a “family” atmosphere rather than a camper/counselor pyramidal structure. Their built relationship with the campers was genuine, real, and caring, not authoritative.
The worship leader had a prophetic passion, drawing everyone into a more intimate desire to grow in Jesus all weekend, sensing tit-bits of directions, information, and encouragement, leaning everyone even closer to Jesus in their personal relationship with him. “Worship” was monumental to him and his band. He brought Rhema, or life, to the Logos or written word that I taught.
The couple who were camp directors had apostolic talents, networking everyone in their staff as well as campers in serving one another, taking personal interest in each camper’s spiritual growth as well as the corporate growth of the entire group. They let counselors be counselors, never micromanaging, allowed me to be myself, and basically “saw over” what the holy spirit was leading and doing rather than “overseeing” from an authoritarian position as many administrators do.
I taught about service and grace, and the counselors, staff, and leaders practice it. Campers willingly volunteered to do dishes after every meal, clean up the camp, throw out trash, watch or play with the staff’s young children. The owners of the camp complimented the staff at how immaculately clean the camp was at the end of the week. Everyone served willingly, not out of obligation. They submitted to each other through service, and it worked!
By mid week, campers were praying for one another, supporting one another, serving one another, yet still being themselves competitively playing quirky games, challenges, and competitions. Friday night’s “Country Fair”, featuring booths for dart throwing at balloons, knocking over milk jars, floating duck pulls, ping pong balls in fish bowls, etc. to earn tickets for cotton candy, funnel cake, and drinks in ball jars with straws, could have been taken as “old fashion boring” by most teenagers, but these kids engaged in them all as a family, cheering for one another, supporting one another, making sure everyone was a winner. Even at the talent show, when talent was thin, everyone cheered, clapped, and supported one another. There were no rude remarks or catcalls as teenagers are normally prone to do. Truly everyone felt like part of the family that night.
The lessons that I taught became practical applications by the staff the next day, real life experiences for the campers. These campers opened up in worship, extended grace instead of blame, never criticizing only complimenting, served one another, and bonded in friendship and unity. They even began to minister to the staff.
The power of evangelism, nurturing, caring, teaching by doing, prophetically bringing life, and apostolic oversight by networking were just some of the ingredients to the week’s success. The staff sacrificially laid down their lives for the campers and each other, and their serving attitude was reflected by the campers by the end of the week.
I saw typical teenagers coming to camp, but experienced dramatically changed lives by the time they left. They came, not sure how to define God in “godly” or Christ in “Christ-like” but became living examples of them before their departure. I worked with the staff where no internal conflict was evident to me, but attitude of service, understanding, and open communications pervaded.
The five fold doesn’t have to be “spiritual”; it is just practical!