District Fellowship News
September, October 2012
Did you miss it? Were you so busy in July, you forgot about what was going on? Did the advertising of the Summer Olympic games or your breathless anticipation of an August vacation cause your mind to blank out about one of the most productive, and fulfilling events of the year? What am I talking about? Summer Camp, of course.
This year for the first time since the 1950’s, the two districts in New England came together in one place to hold New England Assemblies of God (NEAOG) Summer Camp. For five weeks in July, the grounds at Rumney Bible Conference reverberated with the sounds of students from the ages of 7 to 17 building relationships, enjoying fun activities, and worshipping God. Over 650 students attended camp over that period, but there was room for quite a few more. So the question becomes why should I send students from my home, my community, or my church to a Spirit-filled camp in the middle of the summer. Let’s look at a few powerful reasons.
- Positive Influences
One of the neat things about camp is that the design, the location, and the people at the camp make it a place where positive influences abound. Taking time away from all the things that can be negatives in our lives, and surrounding ourselves with positives can make a profound difference in our attitudes and behavior. Paul in Philippians 4:8,9 speaks of the things we should be focusing on; things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good reputation, excellent, and worthy of praise. That can be hard to do in our everyday environments. Sometimes the distractions in our daily lives are too great to ignore, but put yourself in a cabin or dorm room with limited cell phone coverage, no television, and no internet and those distractions no longer seem so attractive. Spending some time in chapel everyday, being taught positive principles, getting the opportunity to build new friendships that will be a positive influence are all things that happen in the camping environment.
- Biblical Emphasis
No pop psychology here. Students hear God’s Word and have an opportunity to respond. In a camping environment, there is time for a student to listen for God to speak to them personally. They have an opportunity to participate in worship, to corporately praise, to make a commitment to service. This summer some students made first time commitments to Christ, others recommitted their lives, many were baptized in the Spirit, and others were called into ministry. These experiences don’t last until the fall, or maybe a year or two, but they are “whole life’ changes. Of course, you can send a student to football camp, or soccer camp and they will learn a skill, maybe make a team for this year or maybe next as well. But you know that for most students their ball playing days will be over by the time they are out of high school, for almost all the rest by the time they leave college. That’s not true for this summer camp. Spiritual matters don’t disappear over time, they don’t leave us as we get older, they will be of utmost importance for the rest of our lives. A committed life, a powerful Spiritual experience, a call into ministry or service endure for a lifetime.
There are many more reasons we could list here, but the bottom line is, students need t be at camp. With room for just over 1000 students total in the five weeks of camp, it would be prudent for us to start now making sure every student we know has the opportunity to be a part of this experience next year. You can help by encouraging students to set priorities that include a Spirit-filled summer camp in their plans next summer; a time to ditch the cell phone and FaceBook, build new relationships with other students, and develop a deeper relationship with the Creator of the Universe. You could give a week or two of your time to volunteer as a group leader and you could talk with your youth leader, student director, or pastor and find out how you can help with the cost of sending a student to camp either by contributing directly or by helping with a fund raiser. Getting a student to camp will make a difference in their lives and that difference will be a blessing in yours.