Summer No. 5
It is hard to believe that I have been at camp for almost a month now. It does and does not feel like a month, scratch that, as the statement sounds like nothing more than a huge contradiction. It sounds like a contradiction because it is a contradiction. So far my time here has been excellent. The first week or two was rough, but that is to be expected seeing as at the end of the semester I came directly to camp. One of the pitfalls of not having a home, you really have no place to rest, to transition. Then again what adventure ever gives anybody rest? The great thing about not having an earthly home is that you have another reason to cling more and more to your heavenly one.
People Not Lessons
An idea that has been placed in my mind, and a passion developing in my heart, is of people in relation to ministry. These ideas were what I commonly wrestled with towards the end of the semester and continue to do so as I am here at camp. Lately a very simple to learn, yet hard to do, principle taught in my teaching Bible class, has been loose in my head. This principle is as follows “teach people not lessons.” I told you it was simple. Why does it seem like the simplest principles are the hardest practices? Being at camp, having to live what I have learned, I find my heart growing, loving, aching, for people. What we do and what we teach, as Christians, should be people not lessons. Anybody can change a mind, it takes Christ to change a heart. Christ made disciples, and through us, He wants to continue making them.
The War is Not Over
Last week was a hard dose of reality, seeing that war I myself spent so much time fighting, I forgot there was still a fight to be fought. Many of the junior campers that were here came from backgrounds of abuse, and a lot of them they experienced more love in a week at camp, than what they do in an entire year at home. Did they receive solid teaching? Absolutely, they did, but in all the ministry, all the lessons, through everything that was said and done, it was not the lessons that impacted those children, but the fact that they experienced the love of Christ through the people teaching them. Those children were not just being taught, they were being discipled. The counselors, staff and speakers showed these children love, truly wanting to see them believe, to grow, and as such, the process of teaching people, not lessons took place. In all the ways I try to seem as if I am not sensitive, I cannot deny my heart breaks for those campers, it breaks in every single way. The beautiful thing though, is that I have been there, and my heart rejoices in the fact that they may get through it to. That is why I keep fighting, that is why in Christ I want to teach, not to just impact people’s minds, but to see growth and change in their hearts. To minister to people, you have to love people.
Live to Love
I want to teach, and the Lord continues to challenge my heart regarding how I feel about people through my passion. A lot of the time I can be a jerk, caring for myself over other people, but the more I experience and learn about the love of Christ in me, the more I want to share that love with others. I mean that is what so many others did for me, why should I not do so also?. Our ministries, no matter what capacity or context we are in, have to be about people, before lessons, before, systems, before anything else. If your ministry, whether that is in your job, in a church, to your neighbors, or wherever, is about targeting anything other than people, you might as well stop. That is not to say that there should not be lessons, objectives, methods, systems, and so on, but if those are your focus, and not people, what good is it? Like all things, we need a balance of both. Christ did it, and if Christ is in us, we can do the same.
Normally I do not do this in my blog posts, but I need prayer. If you read this, please pray for me. God has given me an amazing opportunity to learn, to live, and to grow this summer. Pray that as I teach and lead, my ministry is about making God known, and to impact people, not just teach lessons. At the same time pray for the campers that will come through camp this summer. A lot of them will come from dark and broken situations, which is a hard, but great great place to be, because God takes people who are broken in their selves and builds them up in Him. Also pray for my fellow staff. They are all great people it is a blessing to both get to know and spend time with them. May His will be done in the lives of both staff and campers.