Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

Teen Leadership Camp

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A photo of Camp Dixie Lake

I spent last weekend up at camp. I was volunteering with my old church for “Teen Leadership Camp” an extension/clone of “Royal Family Kids Camp” for Jr. High and High School Youth in the foster system.

The idea of both camps is to give underprivileged youngsters an opportunity to escape their rut for a few days into the mountains and experience the things so many normal kids take for granted. To receive attention and affirmation, and to be exposed to the love of God.

Mist TLC campers have Gone to Royal Family their whole lives, they know how it works, they know the rules, they know the story. None of us get paid, we’re Christians who choose to be at camp for one reason and one reason only, to love them. We’ve had to lay down some rules to prevent campers from killing each other, but if we had our way we’d never discipline anyone.

This leads to two distinct groups of campers. There’s the campers that love coming to camp every year and seek to develop relationships especially with the returning staff. They help to make the camp run smoother, help their fellow campers when they are in trouble and are excited to take on leadership positions. Often these campers know the rules better than the staff, and will remind newer staff when they are forgetting something.

Then there’s the campers who love coming to camp every year because they know there is no accountability. Honestly what are we going to do? We’re trained to avoid the word “no” whenever possible, and the whole reason we exist is to affirm and build up the kids, so if a camper chooses to spend the week picking fights and running away what are we going to do about it?

Compliment them on the one thing they did right all week is what.

No camper gets sent home, no camper gets dessert taken away, or is given trash duty, or KP. The more they misbehave the more we bend over to try to show compassion.

I think you see the metaphor

I’ve always objected to the homiletic practice of threatening hell to the complacent Christians. Of preaching against the idea of deathbed repentance with the danger of impending sudden death. I suspect those threats are empty. If you know god, if you asked Jesus to forgive you, if you’ve been adopted into the family of God, whether or not you do anything about it God will forgive you, He has to, Jesus died for you 1 John 1:9

It’s possible to be a Christian and suck at it.

But as long as you’re here, as long as you know the rules, you get that you’ve been brought here by a God that loves you and desires that none should perish, why not be one of the good ones? He has some leadership roles for you if you’re interested.


Written by RyanGaffney

August 10, 2010 at 9:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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