Well this is my first time to write a blog so I wouldn't expect much. The reason I'm doing it is because one of my favorite pastors encouraged me to write down my thoughts... He said "even if no one ever reads it; it will help you become a better thinker". So, here we go.
I have been raised in church all my life and from the age of 14 felt like I was called to ministry. At the age of 16 I began leading worship for my church. I was very fulfilled in doing just that... Leading worship! I had always helped out with youth but honestly never took it very serious. I sure didn't feel called to preach (try and get me out of the pulpit now)I was just there to fill a need (something more people in the church should do today, fill a need).
That all changed about 4 years ago at a YFN when God changed everything I thought I knew about the call He had on my life. That is when I got a desire to preach, and a heart to see this generation changed by the power of God! Your probably wondering why I'm saying all this.
I began to think about it, and most of my life altering moments have occurred at camps. Which made me think, "What is it about camps"? We just got back from YFN and it never ceases to amaze me that I can take a bunch of youth on a bus ride and return with a bunch of sold out planet shakers! So, what is it about camp?
I always hear youth pastors talk about the worship and how amazing it was! I hear some talk about the preaching and how inspiring it is! I hear others talk about lights, camera, videos, dramas, and sound systems. All of these things HELP for sure but still there has to be something else. As youth pastors we look at all of this stuff and say "if I had all of this stuff my youth ministry would be huge". Really? I talked to a youth pastor not to long ago who had thought the same thing early in his career as a youth pastor. Now he has video games, arcades, a restaurant, lights, incredible sound, even an indoor basketball court! With all that he looked at me and said "all this stuff is impressive but it doesn't keep them here". Wow! You mean it's not all the stuff? If we look at all "the stuff" we strive for and think that's what determines successful ministry. Then the ministry of Jesus was a complete failure! He didn't have any of that! In ministry we have become so obsessed with all "the stuff" that we've forgotten what it's really about and what it's really all about is simply Jesus! The truth is "the stuff" is an easy out for us. If it's all "the stuff" we don't have then we have something to blame for an unfruitful ministry. The truth is the church is trying to offer teens and even adults for that matter something that is so easily found in the world and that's entertainment.
I heard Frank Damazio say, "the church is always a million dollars short and 10 years behind the world when it comes to entertainment". Don't get me wrong I love lights, big screens, and loud music but I don't think of that plays a huge roll in the success of your ministry. What the church has stopped offering is something that most people will never experience anywhere else besides church and that's the presence of God! I believe if the church would get back to this simple but powerful truth we would see a generation come running back to church and more importantly to Jesus! Don't believe me?
As I said before we just got back from youth camp; it was amazing! We go to Youth for the Nations and as far as I'm concerned there isn't a better camp out there. Amazing worship, powerful preaching, and tons of fun but most of the life changing moments didn't happen during worship, dramas, or preaching at all. The life changing moments happened in the rooms away from all "the stuff" when it was just them alone in the presence of God! I'm convinced that when we begin to offer the presence of God in our churches and in our youth ministries revival will sweep across this nation and our Camp Dream will become reality everyday!!