Sunday School teachers, parents and youth workers often talk to their children about the importance of learning to be a leader. We speak to them often about the need for them to be witnesses to their friends about the love of God and the good news of the Gospel.
The trouble is that we often speak, but seldom show them how it is done.
Christian camping gives us that unique tool, that special time in life when a significant adult relationship in the life of a young man our woman can mean the difference between abundant life now and forever, or just existing now, with no hope for the future.
Imagine a mom/dad or youth worker making each child an offer of going to camp and paying for them and any “non-Christian” friend they invite. Then, they could add to the offer by volunteering to be their counselor and would personally go and talk to the parents of their friend to encourage them to come to camp.
Beyond the obvious, imagine this adult recruiting a high school or college-aged young person from his/her church to be an assistant counselor with them for the week.
With kids, a camp like Silver Birch Ranch (silverbirchranch.org) is an easy sell. There is much to do from whitewater rafting, water-skiing, horses, climbing wall, zip lines, swimming, boating, and more. Yet, the true joy will come as each young person receives uninterrupted time with this adult, and at some time during the week, as he/she places his/her trust in Jesus as his/her Savior.
The adult has accomplished his/her responsibility to model Christianity. The Christian child has learned by example the importance of evangelism, and the young leader learned immense amounts by observing a real mom or dad in action. When they return back home at the end of the week, the guests will want to get involved in the youth group, the adult will begin to plan for the following summer various ways to attract and help more kids get to camp, and the leader-in-training will now think about a life of service to others, rather than to self.
Christian camping is suffering in some ways in that many Christians have lost the idea that founded so many camps, and instead, they have become “consumers” of camps. Often, the Christians arrive early to camp and fight for the best bunk, best cabin, and, well, the best of everything for their child. Camp has become about their pleasure and no longer is seen as a tool. This is tragic and has forced many camps to act in ways that attract consumers rather than challenge them.
At Silver Birch Ranch (silverbirchranch.org) we invite you to take another look at the purposes for Christian camping and encourage your family, children and church to become involved in something that gives real answers to the most pressing problems of our day. Imagine what could happen if groups would begin, once again, to see the power of the “disconnect” that camping affords.
Think of it. What would happen if a youth group challenged every clubber to invite an unsaved friend and made sure the friend was paid for and the counselors from the church were ready and trained? What would happen if a church put an ad in the paper inviting any single mom who had a camp age child a free week at camp, a week the church would pay for and provide a counselor for, and then would have a debriefing with them when the summer was over? What would happen if we made this summer camping thing about them instead of us?
We have a large list of young people who need sponsors, and there are many children in your neighborhood who need a friend who will love them and show them Jesus. Working a specific strategy for Christian camping may be the most significant thing you ever do. Call us at Silver Birch Ranch (715 484-2742) and let us walk you through how you can do this. (Or go to the web site at silverbirchranch.org and download the necessary information.)
We have the tool, but, as any tool, it is worthless unless it is in the hands of one who will wield it. We look forward to serving you this summer.