This week I have invested my time and energy with the children and youth of Resurrection Lutheran Church. I have been at Camp Wapogassett near Amery, Wisconsin. The children and youth here love to play large group games, sing and dance at campfire, hang with friends and be in an intentional, intensive Christian community.
Part of each day is devoted t0 studying the Bible as a cabin group. Though this may not be a child’s favorite part of the week, it is still a crucial part. After all, Wapo is a Lutheran BIBLE camp. There is a purpose to having our children and youth grounded in the stories and teachings of this ancient book.
When I was in college, I served as a camp counselor at a Lutheran Bible camp in Washington State. The program director one summer was a psychologist who was skeptical of the value in spending time each day in studying God’s Word. He thought we would be better off simply focusing on human relationships and how we love and care for one another in meaningful ways. He was a persuasive individual and he did help us see the value in building healthy relationships with the campers and each other.
Yet some of us challenged his assumption that spending time in the Bible was unproductive. We reminded him that our Christian love for one another is shaped and nurtured by God’s love for us. Without the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, our love can become sentimental and weak. Most of us were camp counselors because we had experienced God’s love in a powerful way through God’s Word. The Bible had touched our lives and so in turn, we want to share that “good news” with the children and youth who came to camp. I continue to see that same enthusiasm among the many counselors at Camp Wapo.
I recognize that taking time to study God’s word can seem boring to a child when there are nine-square games, swimming beaches and gaga pits just beyond the cabin walls. Still the very act of studying and discussing the stories of Bible plants the seeds of faithful living. I rejoice that we still have Lutheran BIBLE camps.
In what ways has Bible Camp touched your life?
Lord Jesus, bless and guide our Lutheran Bible Camps and their staff.
Thanks, Pastor John, for your endorsement of our ministry and the ministry of camps across the country. I’m a 25 year + endorser of Bible camps. I’ve seen, year by year, the impact of camp on campers AND on counselors. When our three sons came to Wapo, I was grateful for the witness of the counselors to their love for Jesus. They were by definition ‘cool’, not kids anymore but not quite grown ups either. They shared the same message that Joel and I did at home, but from their lips the Good News was fresh and real. Powerful stuff! I have a strong sense that God delights in Bible Camp!
Becky, I know there are many challenges ahead for Bible camps but I trust that God will provide the resources necessary for its continued ministry. Thanks for your ministry to children, youth, and adults.
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