My wife and I just returned from directing an entire week of Christian camp, with 35 young people between the ages of 14-17. It was a marvelous week, with one young lady accepting Christ through baptism. I taught the Total Transformation course, which was well received by the campers.
This week reminded me of several truths.
1. Energy decreases over time.
I’m tired from camp, from keeping up with energetic youth, from questions and interaction and rain every single day! And I’m only 47! Think of how tired I’ll be at 87 …
If “the glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old,” as Proverbs 20:29 tells us, I’m definitely tending toward the latter category (NIV).
But aren’t we all? That’s where our hope builds, as we slide toward the end of life.
2. The energy of youth needs guidance and direction.
We had not a single major problem at camp. No one got expelled, and all the campers had great attitudes, even though the rain kept us inside most of the time. That didn’t happen by accident. I had a terrific team of monitors and counsellors whose upbeat attitude and optimistic spirit infused the campers with joy and kept them from mutiny.
“Likewise, you that are younger be subject to the elders” (1 Peter 5:5a, RSV).
3. Young people want and need meat and positive food.
On an evaluation form after the classes, I got comments like these — remember, from 14-17 olds:
“I adored the course. It’s very important to have classes geared not only to things that can remove us from the faith but also how to fortify our faith.”
“Deep studies that call the Christian to his duties, but also call him to the love of Christ.”
So Paul says in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Negative has its place, but positive teaching shows the way to go. And simple is good, but these young people have heard and seen everything in this world, and need to be challenged to think hard and long about life.
When a sudden cancellation opened up a teaching slot for the next camp session during Carnaval (a week away), I got invited to teach those 14 and up into their 20s. But I need a break (besides catching up on my work).
I’ll let someone else get reminded of how to keep up with the energy of the young.
Excuse me, I hear a nap calling.
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