Tag Archives: youth

Bible Camps still needed?

campwapo_bannerThis 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.

Go in Peace, Serve the Lord

Yesterday morning our youth mission team left for a mission trip to Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota.   They will be serving among the people of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux tribe in both children’s programs and work projects.  I ask for your prayers as they live out our congregation’s mission statement: trust, live and serve.   They bear witness to the vibrant life of faith in Christ by their trusting in Jesus, their living in daily community with the Word of God and prayer, and by serving others. 

Launching our Mission Team for Service

We had a prayer of blessing as they prepared to leave.   As I reflect on their departure, I realize that this is a graphic illustration of what a congregation should be every week: a launching pad for ministry in the world.  This week our youth team is doing that in a very intentional way. 

I believe mission trips are vital to a congregation’s vitality.  Such trips provide opportunity for intentional reflection upon our place in God’s kingdom.  Participants  interact with people of different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.  They discover how their unique gifts and dependable strengths can be used to help others.  And each day the team has devotions and conversation so that they can integrate their often physical experiences into their spiritual, emotional and mental lives.  Such trips can truly be life-changing.

Yet Christian service is not restricted to mission tripsWe can serve God by loving our neighbor wherever we are: in our homes, workplaces or community.  As we love our children or spouse, as we work with our staff and customers, as we visit with our neighbors, we can be God’s hands, feet, voice and heart in the world. We all can be servants of God in our daily lives.  A mission trip trains the heart and mind for such daily service.

At the end of worship each Sunday I announce. “Go in peace. Serve the Lord.”   The congregation responds, “Thanks be to God.”  I love this sending.  I just wish that some Sunday we would take time to report on how we serve the Lord this past week.  I am confident that our youth team will have some stories to share.

What helps you  to serve?

Lord Jesus, we ask you to bless and encourage the youth of Resurrection as they serve in your kingdom.