What do you get when you combine the best people you know with the worst food you’ve ever had? A week at church camp, of course! This past week CrossRidge sent 33 students and 7 adults (considering they volunteer for the youth group, I’m using the word “adult” loosely here) off to FUGE Camp in Pineville, Louisiana to learn more about their Creator and serve the local community. One thing that really separates this particular church camp from other camps our youth group has gone to in the past is the mission-based aspect FUGE incorporates into every single day of camp.
Each morning the students got to start their day with a time of worship followed by quiet time and bible study groups led by different camp staffers. A message of encouragement was then heard from the camp’s pastor, Pastor Vince, who is the lead pastor of Circle Church in Alexandria, Louisiana. Essentially, these students got the hypest morning pep talks ever. After lunch is when the fun began and everyone was sent off to their mission site.
All of the students there got the opportunity to work with a church plant called The Gathering Place Wardville located in Pineville near camp. It was all hands on deck as everyone helped paint, replace floors, board up windows, clean, and organize the church all week long. Not only did these kids leave the church better than they found it, but this church left our kids better off than when they first arrived, a true labor of love!
The evenings were wrapped up with worship and a message given by the crowd favorite, Pastor Vince, ending with individual church time, where our kids and leaders got to share what was learned from the message and how everyone was liking the mission work, then everyone would break up into small groups and pray for one another. I was also informed that the meanest game of ships and sailors the world has ever seen was played out to the very gruesome end by our very own students.
Far too often people assume that meeting emotional or spiritual needs is the only way to make a huge difference. But I think that as the body of Christ, it is just as, if not more, important to meet the physical needs of those around us. In fact, it’s not our job to meet spiritual needs, it’s God’s. What better way to point someone to the Savior who can meet their every need than by meeting the everyday physical needs that are right in front of you. It’s the simplest way to serve someone. Do you need a meal? Let me make you food. But let me also point you to the Bread of Life so you will never hunger again. I pray, and I hope you can join me in praying, that this lesson was instilled in the hearts of our students and that they will never forget this week of camp, the best camp ever! Oh, until next year of course.
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? James 2:15-16