Why We Camp
Last week 38 from Eastern Shore spent the week in the woods of Walker County Alabama at Indian Creek Youth Camp. It rained almost every day, temperatures hovered around 90 with humidity readings near 100%. 11 of our 38 were adults who volunteered their time to shepherd a total of 148 children. It was fun and uplifting but still a challenging week. Eastern Shore had an especially good showing at camp and provided a significant number of the counselors and staff.
But the question still remains: Why did we go? What was so important that we put band and football on hold for a week and took time away from work to go to camp? Is it really that important?
Christian Camping Provides an Important Retreat
Children face a difficult grind in the everyday world. They are surrounded by images and sounds that argue against strong Christian values. The constant pressure from Satan affects our youth despite church efforts to the contrary. Our children need a break from the world.
Following the assassination of John the Baptist by Herod, Jesus tried to withdraw to a desolate place (Matthew 14:13). In Mark 3:7 Jesus withdrew from the crowds and took his disciples with him. Sometimes we need a little break.
Christian camping takes youth and adults away from the world and allows time to work on the important business of building relationships with others Christians.
Christian Camping Builds Lifelong Friendships
Ask any of our youth and they will tell you of new friends made this year and many old friends from the past. Campers come from across the southeast and find love and acceptance from people they would otherwise never meet. There is a sense of camaraderie among campers that will last for a lifetime.
Parents often anguish over their children’s friends. They worry about peer pressure and bad influences that impact their children. These are valid concerns. Of course, not every person your child meets at camp will be a positive influence but most are. They struggle with the same pressures our youth face and can empathize with their struggles. These friendships give strength to their faith and support for those days when our youth feel so alone.
Christian Camping Builds Faith
At the heart of our work is faith. Every activity is designed to help establish, rebuild and renew the faith of the camper. We actually spend hours every day in direct Bible study and worship. Campers sing with voices of angels the old songs and the new worship songs. Their hearts are opened to the truth of God’s word and sound counselors, preachers and teachers fill them with a love for God, for his Son and for the Bible. Our sole aim is to build faith. We are fully aware that some campers will return to homes where Jesus is not uplifted and where God is not honored. So our time with them is precious.
Many campers choose the lofty environment of camp to become Christians. Their time with Christian friends and Bible study helps them to make that great decision. I am confident that some are Christians today because of their time at camp and probably would not be otherwise.
This congregation, Eastern Shore, is a strong supporter of Christian Camping and reaps the benefits. Be sure and find a camper today and ask them about their week. Find someone who did not attend and encourage them to go. It will only lift them higher!
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.