Summer Camp 2013

That was summer camp for us. And it was awesome!

For the Student Pastor of any church summer camp is something you really look and pray forward to! For me that is definitely the case. Considering I committed my life to Christ at a camp i really believe in the space that camp creates for students to encounter Christ. Camp forms bonds in a unique way and is such a huge spring board to authentic community that it’s an invaluable experience in the life of any student ministry.

There is however a dark side. 

It’s freaking exhausting! Especially as a leader / pastor / guide for the week camp is really taxing! I spent 4 summers, 10 weeks each summer, as a counselor at youth camps. They were amazing summers. I have many memories that shape me to this day from those summers (good and bad). I also remember how absolutely exhausting they were. Turn the volume up on that 2 or 3 notches and that’s what camp is like for youth pastors.

So yea, camp is amazing, i wouldn’t give it up for anything but i sure could use a few days of rest; vampire in a coffin, dead to the world kind of rest. But because of the time of year and way things are in my current ministry context that isn’t really an option. Don’t worry, i’m not going to blog cry on you right now. Just a brief vent... i’m done!

The camp we participated in this year was Illuminate Summer Camp. The owner / director fellow is a friend of mine, Bryant Underwood. Bryant is legit. One of those guys with a great heart for God and kinda oozes authenticity. I was stoked to get to partner with this him this summer! All the speakers were from his church in Chattanooga and they were all really solid. Worship was lead by AJ Cheek and Aaron Gillespie (formerly of Underoath and currently The Almost) lead one night was well, which was awesome and crazy all at the same time.

One of the great components to camp this year was the mission aspect. Now i’ve spoken at mission camps for Fuge, the M-Fuge camps but have never taken my own students to this kind of experience. It was awesome! The work adds something to the camp experience that allows students to solidify the thoughts and commitments immediately. You don’t have to wait to get home to start living out the commitments you’ve made, you just have to wake up and go to your work sites. That is amazing! I loved it!

There are a few highlight i have. Getting to pray with my small group of 8th grade guys as they were being stirred by God to lived consistent, committed lives for Christ. That was awesome! Our camp was also on the beach—VERY COOL! One afternoon i was swimming with a bunch of guys but was able to have a one on one conversation in the ocean with one of my students i had been praying for. It reminded me of living in California and sitting in the water on a surf board. The ocean seems to facilitate great conversations! This particular student hadn’t responded like the others. He didn’t get emotional, he hadn’t talked about his feelings or commitments. We were able to have a really good conversation, really more me talking about how it was ok for him to respond unquily to God. That i was ok if he doesn’t get emotional like some of the other and that everybody interacts with God in their own unique way. He didn’t say much but toward the end of our converstaion he paused and said, “That’s good to know” In a very thoughtful and matter-of-fact kind of way. I had prayed to have a good one on one conversation with this student and God facilitated that conversation. It was very cool!

You can read a little more about camp over on our churches blog. I did this write up for them, it tells a cool story and gives a few more pictures if you’re interested check that out. And here is a link to a bunch of our camp pictures as well! Check em' out!

Now i’m praying that God continues the momentum we built at camp as we approach a new school year. May the Lord be with us as we all seek to follow him and encourage our students to do that same! Grace and peace Erik