Church Camp Redux

I went to church camp every summer when I was a kid.  It was the highlight of my summer because we didn’t really ever go on family vacations.   Camp was normally during mid-July, and from the end of the school year until the day we left for camp, my friend Carlene and I would call each other on the phone at least once a day to go over the “list” to make sure nothing of supreme importance was left at home during camp week.

Another important part of camp was the Bible/spiritual part.  We would memorize countless verses to earn points for our team.  We had Bible studies together everyday, and of course, there was a campfire worship service every night, culminating with the big last night of the week-crying because of the work of the holy spirit-throwing sticks in the fire to represent the sin you were repenting of-CAMPFIRE.  After I would get home from camp, it would take another week to decompress, to sort through what I learned, and to set out to be a better Christian by keeping all the promises I made to myself and God regarding my behavior.

Here’s where the REDUX comes in.  I attended a 2-day leadership seminar sponsored by the Willow Creek Association this past Thursday and Friday (The Global Leadership Summit).  The seminar is two days of well-known Christian and business leaders speaking on topics relevant to Christians in leadership roles.  I went as a part of group from the church where I work.  My post-seminar personal debriefing has a very familiar feeling–I feel like I did after church camp as a kid.  I am re-evaluating my personal piety practices, my work habits, my personal schedule.  I am asking myself how I can be a better Christian in all the roles I play in my life.

I know the tone of this post sounds somewhat sarcastic, and well, I am a bit jaded about these intense periods of teaching and spiritual contemplation and what kind of real impact these sorts of things can have on my life.  BUT, I ultimately think times like these can be helpful.  I am blessed to be in a church where we partake of the Lord’s Supper each week, and through that practice, I find myself being better about personal repentance and keeping a shorter account with God.  But hearing the thoughts of Christians outside my own tradition for a concentrated time and allowing my guard to come down so the Holy Spirit can prick my conscience is still good.  It is helpful for me to take a little spiritual inventory, and consider ways I might become more like Jesus.  The part that is a lot like my church camp experience is that ultimately, I will probably fail in my resolutions to make a change.  Ultimately my behavior may not be noticeably different to those around me.  But I am counting on God’s grace to use the experience I had this past week in the same way that he used camp when I was a kids.  I am counting on His forgiveness when I fail, and I am counting on Him to change me just a little bit and to slowly change me in more noticeable ways for His glory.  I am also starting to count the days until I can attend the Summit again.

One thought on “Church Camp Redux”

  1. Familiar themes regarding camp experiences…and the tie-in to seminars and conferences rings true as well. The challenge is always to be consistent in living Godly lives in the trenches, which is where we all spend most of our lives. Thanks for a good post with helpful reminders!

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