Everyone is preparing for camp it seems like- rightfully so. Camp season is a season of opportunity, one to work on one’s craft and even maybe get hired somewhere new. But nobody is talking about or helping us prepare to live surrendered at Camp. You see for those who have had Jesus make his home with them, camp is a chance to see authentic and genuine relationships form, ones with deep roots past any wayside, or rocky or thorny ground. Following in The Way is rooted in relationship- with God and with our neighbor.
So as wrestle in prayer with those with big hopes and innocent dreams this camp season and to be clear we don’t want to validate the focus of self promotion- of ego centered action, we, as followers of the Way are to be more preoccupied with the daily moments of the journey (Being Present- Being Still in the Moment) with a faith grounded in the knowing that the outcome or even tomorrow is in bigger hands than ours.
So I write this to the S.O.S family as a reminder that your status as a referee doesn’t dictate your importance to the kingdom- it’s how you are using your authority, your skills, your knowledge and resources. I can assure you of this, from the many stories of friends who share camp experiences that transcended refereeing into deeper life altering moments of relationship. Moments that didn’t quite take place on the floor or the classroom but In the in between-waiting for your game to start or your video breakdown to begin. In the moments of down time and lunch, these being moments that truly fuel the soul in the journey toward Divine Union.
So whether this is the first of many thoughts during camp season, or the only one, we sit in the idea of our individual journeys from Child to Adult, the journey of maturity of our faith (1 Corinthians 13:11). I think it’s totally ok to use ones referee journey to illustrate this basic idea- from rookie to veteran. Yet, without cheapening the good news of wholeness and healing that the Gospel Brings we grasp how a veteran should stand out amongst the group… They “should” talk, think and reason differently. They should have a fuller picture rooted in what matters most- serving the game - the thing bigger than all of us.
But we are talking about our journey in The Way, maturing from child to adult: talking, thinking and reasoning like an adult in Christ. Thus I just want to instigate reflection of how you move into camp season as a faithful follower of The Way- a giver not receiver, an elevator of others rather than a self-preserver, dressed and ready in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12)
Mind you, leaders are to be held to high standards of this- and I encourage you if you are running a camp or are to be a clinician to really prepare for this. Seeking and reflecting how this is to be revealed in these camp settings. What makes you stand apart? How will you bring Salt to the Situation? (Here are a couple reflection questions):
Are you more focused about hanging out with the other clinicians and leaders rather than the the campers who paid hard earned money for feedback and attention and focus? (Romans 12:16)
Are you giving only part of yourself to campers because your up all night- exhausted and tired?
How will you speak correction and growth into those you observe and have been blessed to have been given opportunity to teach and prepare?
Hard Reflection: Write out your hearts motives to be a clinician at this camp- or to lead it? Pray over this, that Kingdom Leaders maintain the mentality of servant evangelism.
But only a small number will be called upon to be clinicians and observers. The vast majority are only going to be campers, investors in opportunities to grow and work on their passion. Using hard earned money and time that could be spent elsewhere (Family Vacations, The Normal 9-5, Hanging with your new born and toddler?) hoping and praying for opportunities to be surrounded by wise teachers. How can we who are surrendered to the Way stand apart as campers? How will you be the Leaven of The Kingdom? (Some Reflection Questions Here):
It is my personal belief that use of respect and honor of those around me- regardless of clinician, rookie or veteran. No difference in how each one is treated by us. (Matthew 7:12; Proverbs 14:21a, Luke 6:38)
The taming of our tongue- it might be me but there are a lot of talkers, maybe because there tends to be so many egos around.I guess even more so, not many people are also trying to build others up- in this profession it usually is standout by tearing others down. People believing their words make them heard and seen. These days everyone has an opinion, something to say, and a belief it needs to be said there and now. Stand out by being Tamers of Your tongue encouragers, builders of love, faith and hope. (Proverbs 21:23, Ephesians 4:29, James 1:26, Proverbs 18:21, Proverbs 15:4, Matthew 15:11)
Engage in meaningful Relationships! - I am not talking about relationships that can elevate your career- I’m talking about human connections that go deeper then refereeing. Refereeing is the bridge to each other, but there is so much more on the other side- I believe genuinely, that followers of the Way seek connections that go past the surface- and this takes listening, authenticity, and genuine patience.
But here’s a bonus- and I want to spend more time then this on this one- Humility. Clinician or camper, it doesn’t matter, humility is the ultimate sign of surrender. Humility makes you approachable, makes you think of others before yourself, and makes you someone people can trust. Humility is the doorway to Kingdom living here and now- and that doesn’t mean tangible goods- but mind blowing human connections and extreme intimacy with God. So before you step into your next camp setting consider these reminders (James 4:10, Philippians 2:3, Ephesians 4:2, Romans 12:16)
The beautiful thing about walking in a personal relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit is that each of us has had a unique experience of the Gospel. Even more so the context in which our Gospel story has placed us allows for varying opportunities to connect, relate and bridge the gap of the human soul. Diversity and inclusiveness is the image of Kingdom Come. We want to inspire you, to use your uniqueness - what makes you yourself a Master Piece in Gods eyes, to simply show the love of God in practical ways.
Thus it doesn’t matter clinician or camper, or rookie and veteran, revealing the love of God through practical ways is not complicated. Simple kindness is a fruit. Just as the self-control of the tongue, or the gentleness of constructive feedback or bringing peace to a chaotic moment are also.
I hope you use this as a reflection before you engage in camp settings as a check in before your day begins. That it’d remind you of the powerful and living Presence with you and around you. A source of eternal optimism that pours out into the transient world in simple delicious fruit that encourages Hope, Instills Faith and reveals Love. Be different this camp season. Invest in the Kingdom, and don’t be surprised where it leads you.
Stay Tuned for More!
Gods Peace and Love on All of You this Camp Season!
Don’t Forget #RenovateRetreat22 is August 10-14th!