A month ago, our daughter Catie left for her summer at Camp Lone Star. She’s serving as a counselor. We’re happy for her to have this unique, wonderful experience. And we’re sad for us because we miss her so much.

Last week, I got to serve as the V(ery) I(nspirational) P(erson) at CLS. Besides the chance to share Jesus with campers, I got to hang out with the staff and lead Bible studies with them. And I got to see Catie a bit.

Spending a week in the middle of the camp world, eating the s’mores and singing around a campfire, witnessing the selfless service of all the staff, and the growth of the campers and counselors was such a gift. I knew I needed to tell you about it. 

And I needed to tell you that if you have a teenager or young adult in your life, (or you are a teen or young adult), you should go to camp and spend a week—or the summer. 

Maybe it’s too late for this summer. But keep this in the back of your mind. This is an extraordinary opportunity to let the community, the creation, and the Camp Pause change you. 

And then you can go out and change the world.

1.  Camp Pause…You’ll never have such an intentional time as this. You’re living without your cell phone. The pressure to be ordinary is gone. You can’t live small and isolated at camp. This purposeful time-out is a unique gift in our world of constant information. A Sabbath that shows you how God is working the other 10 months of the year. 

2. Community – You get to live in an intentional spiritual community. Here, you learn quick forgiveness and deep reconciliation. There’s a reason why camp relationships last. Because you feel like you’re the first apostles, like you’re part of the mission of loving those who need it most. 

You pray for God’s guidance 10 times a day… you learn your spiritual gifts and the community depends on them… you put Christ at the center of your relationships. 

This sounds unrealistic because it is—and that’s exactly the point. For one season, dwell here, in this utopia of Christ-centered people. And then? Go out and build it in your youth groups, your future marriages and companies, your ministries, and your world. 

3. Creation– You live so deeply in God’s creation. Yes, mosquitoes, wasps, poison ivy, and chiggers are everywhere (add venomous snakes & fire ants in the Texas version).

But the crooked, winding rivers, the sandy rocks that makeup mountains, how the bottom of a lake feels under your bare feet, the trails with lacy spider webbing on the trees. Sitting on logs, around a sparking fire, and dragging your feet in the dirt is part of the worship. Connection to the earth in all these ways is so important. 

Also, it kills the perfectionist part of you. The trees aren’t straight. They grow wonky and huge and they’re not perfect, but they’re magnificent.  Soak up how God sustains all of it—the hundreds of birds, the early-morning rabbits, the late-night deer.

4. Creativity– You need this season to see who you are without the demand to be normal (read: boring). You need this kind of creativity. For the rest of my life, I’ve been trying to find a place where my ideas for silly skits, spontaneous worship songs, elaborate games, and level-10 inside jokes would find a home. So far, nothing compares to camp. 

I will forever and ever love every bit of it of camp. Thanks for coming to my TED talk about why everyone else should too.

Hope to see you there!

About the author

1 Response
  1. Helen Genter

    Great blog, Tina!
    Jeff and Jacob just spent almost a week in the heat at Camp Eagle in Texas with their church group. I’m going to send Jeff a link to this blog. They really enjoyed camp, but not every bit of it (heat, length of hikes, etc.) 🙂
    I enjoy getting your emails and reading your blogs.

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