Archive for May 18th, 2009

Mission Accomplished


Every Summer for the past 6 years now I have been the director of our denominations Youth Camp for the Northern New England District.  Over the years the numbers have grown in attendance and I have greatly enjoyed leading the team that makes this camp happen.  It has been a true blessing to be a part of the leadership of the district and head up the youth camp.  We have had some phenomenal speakers and worship teams come to join us over the years – and we have had some that were not so phenomenal.  One thing that we have experienced throughout all who have come and gone is the simple fact that God works in spite of us.  In spite of our failures, mistakes, and poor planning – God shows up.

This simple fact has relieved much stress on my behalf during the course of our week of camp.  When a speaker makes  statement that goes against what we agree the Bible says, when a possibly intimate service with great life transformation turns into a Q&A session, when the worship team shows up and ends up being a rock band that sings a couple worship songs (Father Abraham is not a worship song!)  God shows up.  God works and brings about the life change that we pray for, fast for, cry out for.

This year I have been facing the challenge of dealing with the fixed costs of the campground that we rent, covering the costs of a camp program that oozes excellence, and shrinking numbers.  The economy is hitting us hard – directly and indirectly.  Our numbers for registration are half of what they have ever been.  I have found myself getting discouraged by this.  I ask myself the questions: 

  • Was last year that bad?
  • Has camp taken a back seat to other events?
  • Have we not promoted enough?

All of these questions seem to be coming back with similar responses.  Our camp is great.  Camp is a priority.  Promotion has been great.  In speaking with families around the district I am learning that many young people are doing many great things this summer in place of camp. 

I spoke with the mother of a 14 year old girl who will be attending a 20 day YWAM experience where she will be equipped and trained to minister in missions settings – she felt called to be a missionary at a previous years camp. 

I spoke with a pastor who is sending a group of 20 people – young and old – to the Philippines to minister to the poor and needy in that country – many of whom have attended camp in the past and heard the message that they need to get active in their service for the “least of these”. 

We have a church in our district that had been sending about 30 teens each year and they are not joining us this year.  This group will be leaving for Guatemala two weeks after our youth camp ends.  They each had to raise over $2000.00 to go on this trip.  Over the years at camp we have encouraged young people to sacrifice their own selfish desires and go where God is calling them. 

We have a few teens who will not be attending camp this year because they have started a band and are doing shows in some very rough environments.  They are going into these places and rocking out hard, gathering a following, and then pointing every person at the show towards Jesus through spoken words during and after the shows.  

I don’t believe our numbers being very low this year is a sign of a bad camp.  On the contrary, I believe we can and will celebrate an accomplished mission.  The message that has been proclaimed for years has been heard and young people are moving to action.  They are living out their faith.  They are going where they are called.  They are serving Christ and many people groups with passion.  Are our numbers a sign of failure?  No.  They are a sign that what we have been striving for is happening. 

And for that I rejoice!

Monday Morning Quarterback


Here’s how the goals are going:

  • Time with family: I found some extra time to be with the kids this week as well as get some things done that needed to happen.  Makenna has taken to being my helper on Mondays as I am getting the hen house ready for our 6 chickens to move into.  It’s been a lot of fun seeing construction projects through the eyes of a five year old.  On Saturday both of the kids came with me to assist in the 30 Hour Famine with our Concord Area Youth Network and they were both a joy to be with and a real blessing for the youth that were there.  They pitched right in and helped out with the community service projects that we were working on.  I love being able to instill within my kids the value of serving and this turned into a great way to continue this effort.
  • Exercising: As I had just run a half marathon the Saturday prior I took it quite easy this week.  I did get out Thursday night and had a great time playing an hour of indoor soccer in the league that I play in.  Unfortunately I pulled a hamstring with my first warm up kick.  I have never experienced a pulled hamstring before and honestly – never want to again.  I’ve been icing and heating my leg the past few days and I’m ready to get out tomorrow to do some running.  I will be hitting the road and getting back into the swing of running again this week.    
  • Weight: last week – 193  this week – 196. The irony of a three pound gain is that I took part in the 30 Hour Famine this past weekend and went without food for 30 hours.  I would have thought that I would have stayed the same or last a couple more pounds.  Either way, I’m good with where I am at and will look to stay in a maintenance mode to stick around 195 for good.
  • Read Two Books Per Week:  I received the book The Hole In Our Gospel this week by Richard Stearns who is the president of World Vision.  With the 30 Hour Famine going on this past weekend which supports the financial needs of World Vision as well as my participation in the Darfur Fast For Life this week I felt it was very timely to read this.  I still haven’t finished the book but I am enjoying it greatly and look forward to completing it.  

That’s all for this weekly update.