I don't know if it is like this for you, but for me, winter camp is often a programatic event that is surrounded by anxiety and angst. Anxiety around driving in the bad weather, losing over $1000 dollars because I scholarship too many kids, and all the potential drama and chaos that happens when tons of kids get together with minimal supervision :)
The angst often occurs because of my own issues and pride. It is difficult to enjoy camp because I have so many ways that the camp can improve their program. I can't believe the camp didn't choose me to be the speaker and instead they hired some chump who is only half the speaker I am. I love to sit in judgement of the program and of my kids. I usually cloak my pride in some intentional, smart sounding spiritual nonsense, but it is pride just the same!
Well that was before my 2016 New Year's resolution:
For 2016 I am going to be unguarded. Over the years I have developed a calloused heart as the grind of student ministry has taken its toll. Too many years of apathy, fickleness, business, and broken promises and relationships. In order to protect my heart I have withdrawn emotionally and spiritually. But no more!
Camp has proven to be the best place to try it out!
We just got back from camp and it really was the best! It was truly a life changing event, and most of that is because I simply took off my angsty armor, and decided to stand unguarded with Jesus and with my students. I decided to not allow cynicism or pride get anywhere near me. And the result was actually getting to encounter the Holy Spirit, and to walk through some incredible spiritual conversations with my students.
I know for many of you, this is how you approach every camp. But no matter if you are naturally an optimistic person full of hope for all that God has for your students, or have an extra dose of pride that blinds your heart, may we all gear up and embrace winter camp! Thankfully God is bigger than where we happen to find ourselves spiritually and is faithful to use even the feeblest of efforts to draw our kids closer to Jesus. But when our heart is tuned, we get to be part of the process and have our hearts encouraged as well.
Because of my camp high, I am ready to dive into 2016:
With winter camp behind me, and taking full advantage of the mountaintop experience, I am expectant and hopeful for Jesus to do a fresh work in our students, in our ministry, and in me.
Are you ready for this new year? How do you combat cynicism? How do you stay unguarded after years of ministry? How are you leaning into the fresh start that God has for all of us in 2016?
Happy New Year and may God truly bless you and your ministry in this upcoming year.