When I was 15 years old, a new youth pastor at our church invited me to a week at "summer camp". At the time, I responded as any 15 year old considering giving up a week of summer would-- "No thanks, I'm not interested." Then, a girl I liked from church decided to go to camp. I was interested.
I walked into a week of summer camp expecting to have some fun, make some memories, and work my best freshman-in-high-school moves on my love interest. But here's what happened: God met me at that summer camp. If we had the time, I could take you to the exact spot where I remember committing my life to Jesus forever, and deciding my life was going to look different from that day forward. I can't really remember what the messages were about, or how fun the games were, but I can remember knowing so clearly in my heart and mind that Jesus Christ is who he said he is, and wanted so badly to have a relationship with me.
Flash forward a decade, and I can't remember who the love interest was, but I can tell you that the decision to fall in love with Jesus has stuck with me, and its by his grace that I'm walking with Him today.
The past couple weeks, we had a chance to provide this opportunity for a bunch of students at Timberlake, both at the middle school and high school level. During these two weeks, it was truly amazing to see students connect in brand new friendships, play crazy games and make lifelong memories. But more than anything, it was amazing to watch them make decisions of faith; decisions that I know firsthand can last a lifetime.
So, thank you for being a church committed to creating this environment for students. I know that, for so many students, summer camp changes everything.
High School Pastor