In case you didn't catch it from my last post, I loved loved LOVED my week at camp.
I think tweens and teens are fun, creative, interesting, energetic
We had incredible speakers and a worship band that taught the kids and really led them into worship. The devotionals were thought-provoking. There were skits and programs and studies.
But I have a feeling most of the kids won't remember exactly what was said. Sadly, they probably won't remember any of it.
But I guarantee they will remember the games and the mud and the bad cafeteria food and the toilet that overflowed at midnight (and the subsequent overpowering aroma of Pine Sol). The kid who dislocated his finger and the girl that got a black eye and the paintball bruises. They will remember huddling in the bathroom during the tornado warning and the hot bus ride and the soggy sandwiches.
In my Over-The-Top, Ultra-Serious Days I might have thought those things were unnecessary and unimportant. You know, hindrances to true spiritual endeavors that were supposed to happen during the evening sermon (you would NOT have wanted me to be your camp director in those days - NO FUN and WAY BORING!). Yes, some spiritual things happened at the altars, but I would hazard a guess that some of the most important things happened in our kids' souls when we weren't even realizing it.
About 25 of the kids we brought were unchurched. I enjoyed watching them. They politely tolerated the meetings and (with a little gentle encouragement) grudgingly followed the dress code.
But as the week unfolded, it was very clear that the games and the food and the fun and just doing life together for a week all muddled together in memory-making and identity-shaping that open the soul to hunger for more. Not just for the new kids, but also for the preachers' kids and for those (like mine) that have grown up steeped in the faith. Teenagers (okay, and adults, too) can listen to a speaker and acknowledge truth. God does a work in their hearts. But then they look around and ask questions like, What does being a Christian really look like? Do I belong here? Are these people for real?
Now that I'm home, I'm looking at my own kids - they are typical teens, alternating adult-like behavior with dizzying immaturity and lack of depth (just pick any moment in the day and be surprised by what you see!). I want a quick and easy fix (read: NO FUN and WAY BORING lecture). I want to be able to measure the outcome. Now.
It's much harder to find out what they enjoy, and just hang out with them. To
But I'm determined to make time in my life to do just that.
God, help me talk less and live more.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak.