I’m sure many of you can relate to this one.
Have you ever been in charge of doing a particular task and then someone comes in and does that task for you? How about in a way that you think isn’t as good as your own method?
This is something that I learned about this week. For this summer and the last, we had a particular week where youth groups from around the southern portions of the state were invited to come out and experience youth group camp style. Many of the people on staff this year might complain that it was the worst week we’ve had yet this summer. However, if you look at it from a different perspective (which I suggest doing anytime you think something’s happening out of your control), it is possible that the week was much better for the staff than we thought.
So, I’m going to start from the beginning just to bring us all to the same page.
Youth Group Week is a relatively new thing we do here at the camp. By new, I mean we’ve only done it twice, once in ’09 and once in ’10. During this week a couple, Ken and Julie, comes in and leads all of the chapel times according to their own program. Also, youth groups and their leaders come to experience camp. So what this means to a staff member like myself is that our place in both the chapel and cabin suddenly becomes much lower. We lose control over how long chapel times are and what events/games are done in the chapel. Then in the cabin, the kids have come with their youth leader. This means we no longer are the ultimate authority in the cabin. We don’t lead small group time as much, if at all, and the youth leader has greater learned authority over the kids (this just means that the kids have already learned submit to their youth minister).
Now, the view point that is easiest for myself to look through and possibly other staff is, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know what’s going on or why I’m here. This sucks.” This is so easy to come to, especially in ministry, when an authority comes up over you that you previously didn’t have. But, this is also where I believe that the staff was taught a very valuable and christian lesson. If Jesus were to come to Camp St. Christopher and talk with us for a while, hear our complaints about the last week, and teach us, I believe He would say something like, “Was it not I who put that authority over you?” and then He might remind us of the times that he became lower so that we might have more authority. He might also tell us about humility and how the week that we lost control was to teach us humility.
The week didn’t go as planned for any of us. The activities were harder, the chapel was much longer and it was hard to sit through as a spectator, and there was a general sense of unease throughout the staff for atleast the first half of the week. The campers didn’t seem like they were getting what ever it was we were trying to teach and the music ministry seemed to have little to no impact on them at all. But by the end of the week, we discovered that the campers were experiencing a much different thing than we had been. These kids were coming from a place where most of them had already been saved and they were not in need of evangelistic ministry which is the type of ministry that we had been doing all summer long. This week was about discipling (disciple + ing) them as Christians and teaching them what a true community of believers looks like. The kids were taught unity in purpose and in worship. They learned more about how to read scripture and even how to wrestle over its meaning (a skill we should all have as christians).
This week, on its front, looked like a failure, however, upon further inspection there was greater success than the staff knew. We had been looking for the obvious lesson and failed to see the one that was being taught to us. We were looking at the outward appearance but disregarded the matters of the heart. I began looking at souls won to the cross as the ultimate goal and forgot that Christianity that only evangelizes is shallow. Good, but shallow.We must become less so that Jesus will be made more as one apostle proclaimed. Perhaps this week, when we lost our control of the camp, we were taught a lesson in becoming less.
Christ be glorified,