I now sit at home finding myself recouping from our student ministry’s summer camp. It was an amazing 4 days of fun and worship with the students of First Baptist Church of Birmingham, Alabama. We went to a camp in East Tennessee called Whitewater Express. If you are looking for a great camp to get away with your students that will treat you right and provide some great activities, I highly suggest you check out Whitewater Express. Some of the fun activities that we did was rafting on the Nantahala and Ocoee, paintball, high ropes course, and more. The staff at this camp is awesome.
We brought in Ryan John to lead us in worship through music. I had met this young man about 6 years ago as I had him lead worship for a summer camp for another church I was with. Ryan is one of the best worship leaders that I have ever used. He has some amazing talent in singing and guitar. More importantly, he has a great heart for the Lord and students. He hung out with our students all week and participated in most of the activities. I knew that our kids would love Ryan and that God would use him in a great way to minister to our students… and that is exactly what happened.
Gary Permenter was our camp pastor. If you’ve never heard Gary speak, you are truly missing a blessing. God has His hand on Gary in a very special way. I have found few people who will put so much time into building relationships with people as Gary does. Gary brought some great messages about the life of Joseph in the Old Testament and challenged us all with how to position ourselves to be used greatly by God. If you are looking for a speaker for camp, retreats, special nights, or whatever, you really need to check out Gary.
As I reflect on this summer camp, I am thinking about a couple of things…
- Forgiveness is a vital part of the Christian’s life. It is the number one need of every person because of sin in our lives, but also something that we need to be sure that we’re dishing out to others.
- Times away from the normal routine are vital. The past 4 days have been great to get away from the hustle and bustle of life to focus on some key things that God is wanting to do in my life and ministry. Sometimes you have to remove yourself from the noise to hear God clearly.
- Great adults are a must in student ministry. I had a couple who have 3 teens in our student ministry (all who were at camp). This camp would not have been possible if they would not have gone. Their loving on the students and helping them (and me) out made this a week that will not soon be forgotten. (Big thanks, Mike & Joyce!)
- God will use anyone that will make themselves available. This was the theme of our last service at camp, and it is so true. The only special thing about Joseph was that he had made himself available by decisions that he made to be used in great ways by God.
I look forward to seeing the fruit of this summer camp. God was definitely doing some work on people’s lives (not just the students either).