Yesterday I posted on my mindset shift of taking middle schoolers to summer camp rather than simply going on a missions trip. I grew up going on missions trips, hardly ever going to camp. I used to tell myself it was selfish to go to camp, that going on a missions trip was good because you were actually doing something. However, I have come to grasp that my mindset was horribly wrong.
#3 Summer Camp gives opportunity to properly frame the mission of God
I remember how many trips I went on – West Virginia, Boston, India, Mexico, Pittsburgh – and I did lots of great things for God. God wrecked me on these trips. And the funny thing was – we all got really excited for next year and the next place we could go. The bigger the trip, the more expensive, the more we loved Jesus. I had this improper view of what it meant to serve God and be on mission. I took trips. And heres the thing – I do need to. I am commanded to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. But no one had really invested in me to be sure I understood that yes – go to India. But each day you aren’t in India and you are driving through North Canton, Ohio needs to be just as important. And this is why – in the long term – I would rather take middle schoolers to a summer camp – to properly frame for them what their life is built around – so they can then spend the rest of each day on mission with God to bring the Gospel wherever they go. Whether India or Akron or Canada.
#4 Middle schoolers forget things…really easily
I’ve spent the last three years with some of my 8th graders – pouring into them, investing in them. After a week at camp, I finally witnessed walls break down and God move. God was always moving – I just don’t see it a lot of the time. The speakers set us up for success – talking about God’s story, how God is at work – and it was awesome watching God work in the lives of these students. I am now able to follow-up with these students about their home life, about their decision to follow Jesus – and to remind them of His work in their life. A lot of these students went on a missions trip before – and talked about how they wanted to “do good things” to sum it up nice. This year some of them finally made the decision to follow Jesus. Without Jesus – those good things they wanted to do are easily forgotten.
Monday I will follow up with how we are setting our students up to be on mission in our town through a weeklong “trip.” And I am so excited for it – because it carries more than a short-term impact but the opportunity for long-term relationships in our city.