Working as the Youth Pastor at Camp is always wonderful, and this year was no different.
I’ll do my best to share what happened so you can be a part of the amazing ways God moved.
You’d think that at a “Christian Camp,” we’d get kids that “have it all together.”
That’s not the case at all!
A large percentage of the kids come from homes where they do not attend church. For them, this week at camp is all they get for learning about who God is, who God says they are, their need for salvation, and how to become a child of God.
Many of the kids, and teen staff, shared with me about their broken homes, the foster care system, the hurts of divorce, and abuse.
As Youth Pastor, it is my privilege to preach 11 times each week:
- A 5-Day Series on “The Gospel Through Creation,”
- A 5-Day Series on “Who Is Jesus?,”
- A stand-alone evangelistic Bible message to close out the week.
These messages are very powerful because they’re right from the Scriptures. I believe that kids are very intelligent and can understand Theology if it is explained to them, and that was definitely the case this summer. So many kids reacted so positively to the Word of God and the Gospel Proclamation!
Over 60 kids, plus a dozen+ Teen Counselors attended camp the week I taught there.
10 kids publicly testified to repenting of their sin and trusting in Jesus as their Savior! Praise God!
Many more confessed to not living the Christian life they should and committed to turning from idols in their lives. Please keep these new brothers and sisters in Christ in your prayers, and let’s praise God for the tremendous work He’s done!!!
Here’s a quick video (less than 3 minutes) that shows how smart kids are and that they can learn and understand Theology!
I want to share two short cute moments, and one of the most emotionally difficult moments I’ve ever experienced in the ministry:
- A 10-year-old girl named Delilah came up to me and told me that she remembered me because I gave her her very own Bible last summer! She still reads it, but she said “not as often as I should.” I encouraged her to stay at it and spend time with God every day in His Word. She was so sweet and it made my day to know that she’s still using the Bible I gave her last year.
- An adorable moment from Camp… One of the younger kids came up to me and said, “Pastor Mark, you’re so good with your painting messages, you should do this for a living.” A confirmation on my calling perhaps??? So sweet.
I’ve never experienced anything like what happened on the last night of Camp. We ended the Camp Week with a Campfire Service by the lake. Campers were encouraged to come to the microphone and give testimony to how God worked this week. In short, the Spirit God was at work!
Usually only a few kids want to talk, because kids are shy when it comes to public speaking. But there was a long line of kids waiting for their turn.
And so many stories about brokenness and pain and literal abandonment. A bunch of kids are in Foster Care. One girl was told by her Mother that she didn’t want anything to do with her. Many kids confessed to anger with their birth-parents. Kids were literally weeping and moaning loudly. Other kids stepped up and hugged the crying children.
And many have testimony that they repented and believed the gospel this week. I’ve never seen so many. It was humbling and surreal and heart-breaking and beautiful.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
I believe Jesus is working healing in a lot of kids. Eternal healing by being saved from their sins, but also temporal healing by coming to grips with their brokenness and pain. And they’ve learned that they’re not alone. Many were introduced this week to their Loving Heavenly Father who wants to comfort them. And they learned they have peers going through similar struggles. I’ve never seen such transparency in kids before. I’m still processing it all.
I also want to confess that I sinned by being annoyed with a few kids this week who were bossy and difficult and needy. Then those same kids spoke into the microphone about their abandonment and pain and I regretted my lack of insight. Jesus is working in my heart too.
Please pray and fast for these kids as you are lead. They are very precious.
I’m really proud of Shelby and the kiddos. Shelby once again helped run the Horsemanship program. A lot of kids come to camp just to be with the horses, so this is a great draw. Shelby taught Horsemanship classes, and did a lot of physical labor carrying around hay, saddles, buckets, etc. Gabriella grew out of the Camp program, so she helped in the Horse Barn as a Junior Wrangler. Caleb volunteered as a “Staff Boy,” where he did jobs like mowing the lawn, getting rid of garbage, etc.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1)
God’s Word is powerful because God is powerful!!!
I have some photos that will also show how God moved at camp this summer. I pray you enjoy these…
In the mornings I taught a 5-day series called “The Gospel Through Creation.” The before and after photos, as well as descriptions, are below:
In the evenings I taught a 5-day series called “Who Is Jesus?” The before and after photos, as well as descriptions, are below:
On Friday night, I taught a stand-alone Evangelistic message called “Heaven.” The before and after photo, as well as description, is below:
I hope this post has encouraged you. God is working in the next generation!!!
Thank you for your partnership, prayers, and financial support, without which we could not be reaching the lost for Jesus Christ!!!
Please share this update with others you think would be blessed by it!
all for Jesus,
Mark (and family)