Over the summer I have spent my time traveling from camp to camp teaching high school & college students about Christ. It may come as a surprise to some of but I love participating in these Christian camps & conferences. I know I am not a big fan of the skinny jeans worship leader & the laser lights & the lets sing worship karaoke & do a Christian pep rally for a week. What I have discovered over the past few years is that some incredible kingdom breakthrough happens when students get away for a week and seek God!
But here is why I believe in Christian camps & Conferences:
1) – The fundamental principle of leadership is disruption
These week long conferences & camps disrupt students lives. God is an interrupter & for many of our students their normal patterns, relationships & lifestyle must be disrupted before they can hear from God. These weeks of camps allow students to abide (many of them for the 1st time). They integrate spiritual disciplines of listening to God & responding to Him and they allow students the opportunity to rest in Him.
2) – Adult Leaders need lead
I have not attended an event this year where I have not had long conversations about life, ministry, discipleship, pain and hurt with at least 4 or 5 leaders. Most of our student leaders have no one pouring into them, speaking truth to them, giving them a model to imitate and telling them they believe in them. At every event I do I get to take some guys to lunch or dinner or to the cafeteria (Camp food may not be a strength of these events) & just let them know they aren’t alone, and they aren’t crazy. That God is with them, working in them and that he wants to give them His authority & power!
3) – The presence of God drives out fear
I find that many students are simply scared. Scared of not fitting in, scared of not meeting Gods expectations for their lives, scared of living out their faith alone. One week in the presence of God & in the presence of other Godly examples emboldens students to live out their faith. I love events that believe in students, that believes that they can change the world. That call students to do tough things and one week away from the world in the presence of God gives students the strength to “do something” with their faith.
4) – Healing comes where authenticity rules
Because I serve in a messy ministry I often tell messy stories. Of real life events & painful experiences & terrible pain followed by incredible redemption. You would not believe the stories students tell me and share with their adult leaders at these events. I heard at least 15 stories of college & high school girls being raped or sexually abused this summer. I heard stories of physical abuse & unbelievable pain & I watched students forgive, repent, grieve & heal because they had the space to openly discuss what is really happening in their lives. Our students live in a different world than I grew up in & they need a safe place and safe people to help them walk through the difficulties of their world!
I work with all of those events, I trust the leaders & God is working & moving in powerful ways at their events!