Reflections of a Middle School Camp Pastor, Day 1

WORDS FROM W.W. July 16, 2012


Less than twenty-four hours in to six days as pastor of our Region’s middle school camp, and I’ve already climbed a mountain! My knees are telling me it was a fourteenth, but actually it was only about two thousand feet from 8,000 to 10,000. I’ve been coaching my knees to stop the whining with words shaped like Motrin, and cold stares shaped like cold packs.
The mountain is called Soldier’s peak, and we climb it every year on the Monday of camp week. Today I used the experience to talk about the encouragement of the saints, the great cloud of witnesses that Hebrews 12:1-2 brings to our mind. Before the climb began I told the campers that some of them would scale it like squirrels climbing trees, but others would look at it as an impossible venture doomed to failure. I told them that it would take “all of us” to make sure that “all of us” finished…made it…stood as a group, a team, on top.
The summit included a mixture of reactions. Some stood at the top and encouraged. They applauded and high-fived the ones who struggled, but finally finished. One young lady from our church, told me “I feel like I accomplished something!” Her smile encircled the mouthful of orthodontic “gold.”
Others, lost interest in the late arrivers and became self-focused and absorbed with life as it revolved around “the universe of me.”
If it weren’t for coaches climbing with some of the young journeyers around the midway point of the trip, the summit would not have happened. If it weren’t for people willing to share a drink of water with a resting pursuer leaned up against a tree, some would have given up the cause. If it weren’t for the element of perseverance, several would have gone down the pathway of “What’s the use?”
Different people complete the journey in different ways. Slow starters, steady pacers, fast finishers…our group was diverse.
And we made it!
It’s a picture of the church, a group of journeyers, many who stay on course for the whole experience, and some who stay on course as long as they’re a part of it. Some are more self-sufficient, and can make the climb mostly alone without help. Others need constant encouragement just to make it another step…another day.
When I think of the church, quite honestly, I can probably make a longer list of minuses and shortcomings than the list of positives and strengths.
And yet the church is the band of brothers that seek to go the distance. It is the sisterhood of seeking that desires to go higher up even as it is dealing with the loose footing in the present.
I won’t share all of that with my middle schoolers, but I will reaffirm again and again tonight as we gather “Well done! Well done! Great job! You finished! You finished!”

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One Comment on “Reflections of a Middle School Camp Pastor, Day 1”

  1. This sounds like quite an awesome journey! I can’t wait to hear about more through the week!

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