Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities.––Colossians 4:5
This one comes to you from Camp Cedarwood, where I’ve spent this past week giving training sessions to the outstanding staff team assembled by Awaken’s own Brennan & Rhonda Cattani. So outstanding, in fact, that I’ve had to be careful that I don’t idealize the close-knit sense of mission and community that these 40-some young adults seem to have found together in just a few short days.
But there’s something about coming into a mission that’s bigger than the individual, that seems to take people to a new level. That’s what I’ve been seeing happen before my eyes in this week of staff training. Each morning as we gather to pray here, I’ve been touched by how quickly and fervently these people call out to God, one after the other, with heartfelt words of praise and renewed dedication. And then they’re into another 12 hours of intense study, discussion, music & drama rehearsal, and outdoor skills preparation.
All of that, because they know what is coming; in less than 2 weeks, this lakeside paradise will be filled with young people, age 12-18, who will have the chance to hear the news about Jesus, many of them for the very first time in their lives. That’s what’s bringing such extraordinary focus to the staff people at Cedarwood. It almost makes me wonder…
…if such a thing could happen in our world, in the city. Stay with me here. What if we could begin to see our city as a kind of Christian summer camp, directed by Jesus, and staffed by ourselves? What if we saw our work places, our neighbourhoods, and our friends who don’t know Jesus as the campers sent to us by our Lord to share his good news?
As a staff person at Cedarwood, you’re taught that everything you do with your campers is an opportunity. Whether it’s teaching them how to perform a wet exit in a kayak, or sitting with them at the dining room table, ––every moment spent with them is a chance to make some connection to the person of Jesus.
In Romans 1:16, Paul writes, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes.” I still remember my first year as a staff person at Cedarwood, back in 1998, when I discovered the real truth of this verse. I remember sharing the news about Jesus life and death and resurrection on our behalf with my campers, and seeing the way that it just clicked in their minds. I remember thinking, “Wow, the gospel actually works!”
And it does. Whether we’re out of the city, or inside of the city, the gospel is still God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes. So what do you say? Is this too idealistic? Too heart-on-your-sleeve? Or will you join me this summer? Let’s do this summer like summer camp staff people, directed by Jesus, making the most of every opportunity!
See you this Sunday!
p.s. If you really want in on this, join us at 3pm for the prayer time together! (Childcare provided.)
p.p.s. Summer season is picnic season. Bring some food and a blanket and let’s hang out afterwards!