Our church sponsored Kidz Kamp reminds me of the life of a Christian (Kampers) as well as the call to Ministry (Encouragers & Adults).
First, once you’re old enough, you make your decision, not exactly sure of what it will be like, but pretty sure the positives outweigh the negatives, and the benefits will exceed the sacrifice.
Shortly afterwards, you become surrounded by a bunch of people who you didn’t hand-pick for yourself to be around. Vehicle partners, roommates, classmates & activity mates. Bonding happens through shared experiences–some of which are spiritual, but most of which are just plain silly.
Kids, teens, and adults all have moments of “this is not how life usually looks for me” and are faced with decisions to adapt and change and grow, or complain and tantrum and argue. The adapters propel themselves quickly towards unexpected blessings. The complainers just stand still or fight relentlessly, or bide their time until they can have their way again.
Then there are unforeseen challenges. Not getting first choice of seat/class/meal/prizes. Not winning in a game. Not getting along with someone you are spending the week with. Making someone mad. This is when the true test of Spirit takes place. At Kamp, we are surrounded by wisdom from God’s Word that is often immediately applicable. Submit yourself…God gives strength for battle…Be joyful…Do not look down on anyone. Challenge Accepted.
Everyone who goes knows that they will learn something new. What we don’t know is what we don’t know. But God knows. He knew, for example, that I would learn some new Spanish phrases. He knew that I would learn how to “back it up”–both on the dance floor and in the parking lot.
He knew that I would learn how to have my heart broken and restored all in a matter of minutes. He knew that I would learn how to do some things better and allow others the spotlight. He knew that I would be more thankful and need Him to help me be less, uh, “complain-y” when things didn’t go as I had planned. He knows that we don’t need everything that we think we need and that we need more FROM Him than we know what to ask for.
And He knows that we need to do a different thing from time to time so that we can recognize all our daily blessings that we often take for granted until they are not around any more.
Ministry happens whether you are a church staff member or not. The Christian “walk” happens in conversations, in observations, in sharing, in submitting, in learning together, and certainly in praying together. Sometimes our greatest ministry is to ourselves–doing the thing that brings us joy. Making the choice to fill our buckets with people who bring us closer to God. Balancing care for others and rest from doing so. Kamp life ends for another year, but the memories and lessons are woven into our lives for good.