Tuesday, June 28, 2016

10 Lessons From CREW Summer Camp:

Last week I took a group of students to Mission Fuge Camp at Liberty University. While there every one of the students worked hard and served the Lord. Every night before falling into a deep sleep (for 3 hours) I would jot down some thoughts from the day. Here are my thoughts:

  1. Surreal Being Back on the campus of Liberty University as a Student Minister: During the
    course of the week I was amazed at God's goodness and sense of humor allowing me to come back to the campus where I studied to be a Student Minister as a Student Minister. There were several instances where I would be walking with my students and remember walking on the very same sidewalk several years ago dreaming about what it would be like to be a Student Minister. I can remember worshiping in the Vines Center as a Student at Liberty University and praying for my students who I would one day meet, and now here I was worshiping in the very same arena as a Student Minister sitting in the same section where I had prayed for my students several years before. I sat on the very benches with my students talking about life and God where I had sat as a student discussing youth ministry theory and how to best minister to middle and high school students. It felt like I had come full circle being back on the campus of Liberty University as a Student Minister.
  2. Reminded of the power of the Gospel: The Gospel message is a sweet message which I need to be reminded of again and again and again. I should never get over hearing the Gospel. I need the Gospel just as much as one of my students who does not know Christ needs the Gospel. Sitting in chapel hearing the Gospel message again reminded me that I am a sinner saved by grace who has been redeemed from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light. I am now a Son of the King, co-heirs in the Kingdom a Saint who sometimes sins. I am prone to trust in my works and boast in ministry as a Student Minister but I need to remember that it is not of me but it is all of God. God is the one who saves and God is the one who is worthy of all worship. All praise and honor and glory goes to Him!
  3. Rekindled in me a passion for missions: Everyday I went out with a group of students from
    all over America and we were led by a college student to serve the community of Lynchburg.
    One day during lunch I engaged in conversation with the college student in charge of our group and her love for missions and evangelism was contagious. We began talking about places we had visited on mission and people we had shared the Gospel with. It was great to be reminded that my passion for missions and evangelism is not weird or radical but is very biblical. Her passion rekindled in me a passion for missions and evangelism and a re-commitment that missions and evangelism is why I am here. It is easy to get sidetracked with all of the "good" things that come up in a week but I need to remember to stay focused on the "best" thing; missions and evangelism!
  4. Full Body Worship: As everyone reading this blogs knows I am an Associate Pastor/Minister of Students of a conservative Southern Baptist Church. I love my church but sometimes I feel weird letting myself go in worship. I feel if I were to become "undignified" (dancing, hands raised) in worship people would begin to ask questions. At camp it was good to be able to engage in full body worship. It was refreshing to sing praises to God at the top of my lungs, raise my hands, dance my feet and engage in full body worship. Incredibly freeing to worship with 1,200 students and adults in a style which suits our age and preference. 
  5. CREW Student Ministry has a group of students who can work: I was blown away with
    the ability of the students in my group to work. Everyday I thought to myself the parents will never believe how hard these students are working. Six hours a day in the hot heat of summer our students worked hard serving others and bringing glory to Christ. I'm not a big fan of entertaining students to death rather I believe if you give students a challenge they will rise to the occasion. They proved me right. Everyone of them worked hard and rarely if ever complained. King Jesus was exalted through their service.
  6. Students love babies: Julia and I brought our son, Bryant with us to camp. It was great having my son with me all week and introducing him to evangelism, missions and youth camp! He was the only baby out of 1,200 campers and staff. Needless to say he got a lot of attention. By
    the end of the week students we didn't even know would come up to him and say, "I've heard a lot about this baby and now I can meet him." One day CREW students were standing in line waiting to enter the bookstore and another student who was not a part of CREW had a picture of Bryant on their phone and they were showing everyone talking about how cute the baby was. Students love babies and it was great to have him with us and introduce him to evangelism, missions and youth camp!
  7. We Are A Family: One of the pillars of CREW Student Ministry is to teach my students that our group is a family. We fight together and are here to walk together with them through life. Summer camp provides an opportunity for those who go to grow closer to the
    Lord and closer to each other. By the end of the week we were sitting on the roof of Demoss hall (5 stories in the air) sharing burdens, prayer requests and praises with one another just like a family. 
  8. Keep the main thing the main thing: I need to let the main thing remain the main thing. The main reason I got in the ministry was to share the Gospel in word and deed with students. I did not get into the ministry to visit the hospital excessively, to attend meetings, to be involved in denomination life, to argue theology or any of the other things which can overwhelm my schedule. I got into ministry to share the Gospel in word and deed with students. I was reminded of that last week and the need to always keep the main thing the main thing.
  9. I Love My Job: I spent 90 hours last week with students and I returned home with a greater love for my job as a Student Minister. I am amazed that I get paid to be a minister of the Gospel. I am incredibly thankful for my church who pays me a salary so that I am able to minister to students full time. God is good!
  10. King Jesus is worth it! King Jesus is worth losing everything for. I have been saved to be a light to my community and to live unashamed of the Gospel. King Jesus is worth it! He is worth the awkward conversations and the rejection from culture. He is worthy of praise from everyone on planet Earth and I will give every ounce of breath in my lungs to proclaim His worthiness to everyone I come in contact with.
I love youth camp! The ripples from one week of youth camp will spread out over the course of an entire life and many people will be effected because of what God did last week at youth camp!

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