Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thoughts from Elementary Camp - Part 2

In yesterday's post, we heard from our Elementary Coordinator (who makes Camp happen each year for 3rd & 4th graders).  For me, what I have enjoyed more and more over the past few Camps is the group of leaders that we have had.  This year, 26 men and women sacrificed a weekend's worth of time and sleep, in order to help reach the hearts of the next generation.  I saw them having fun with the kids, teaching Biblical truths, engaging kids on a heart level, and even addressing behavior issues clearly and directly.  I was especially thankful for the example that the men set; as Nicky pointed out yesterday, it is so crucial that men and boys take a leadership role.  I told our leaders that it was interesting that it was Father's Day weekend; the culture tells us that Father's Day is about being served and receiving gifts, but here were 26 leaders (dads, moms, and men and women without children of their own) who poured out for the sake of Christ's name.  That, in my opinion, is what Father's Day should be about.

Additionally, I love seeing how leaders from different campuses and services come together for one purpose.  It gives a chance for leaders to meet other leaders and connect, which helps to show that even with multiple campuses, we really are one church.

Here are quotes from some of the leaders (some of whom, like me, had a child at Camp) about their experience from this past weekend:
"[My son] has a much better understanding of Jesus as the "Substitute" for his punishment and only way to salvation. . . .  As his father, I can never tell you how much I appreciate what you have done to help my son get to this point in his young life."  Tim B., Worship Leader
"It was an honor and privilege to be part of ministering to those kids.  It was like a recharge for the soul."  Joe L., Small Group Leader
"I had an absolute blast with my girls! They loved worship time as well and it showed on their faces. . . .  Just like my girls, I wish we didn't have to wait a whole year to come back; however, that is part of what makes camp so special."  Kathe G., Small Group Leader
"The childrens worship was amazing this year!  My girls were practicing their moves to "Ain't No Rock" before bed on Saturday. . . .  Also, they were all hoping to get to sing "Prince of Peace" on Sunday and were talking about it before breakfast.  They were so excited when we sang it."  Tresh C., Small Group Leader
"I really enjoyed being a part of so much -- being in funny skits, catching frogs with boys, sitting under a tree and talking with a group of girls that I know from Quest."  Jeremy W., Small Group Leader
"I truly enjoyed being with the kids and getting to know quite a few of them.  I see many of them on Sunday morning, but don't have a lot of time to talk or even learn their names.  I felt like all of the adults really came together and were able to relate to one another."  Shylah P., Coach and Big Group
 "The girls in my cabin said their favorite part was small group time.  They all asked a lot of good questions, and they seemed to be soaking up a lot."  Maggie E., Small Group Leader
"I got to build community with other leaders. . . .  It was great to hang out with kids one-on-one."  Dan W., Small Group Leader
"First, it was great to see some of the kids really thinking about what we were talking about and asking really good questions. . . .  Second, I really enjoyed getting to know several of the counselors that I had not met or spent much time with before.  I did get the sense of "team" with the focused purpose of loving and shepherding these kids.  It reinforced the emphasis Grace puts on shepherding the next generation and the lasting impact that it will have."  Scott W., Small Group Leader

This was my first year as a "Camp Dad," as Hannah had her first camp experience.  I loved being able to see her be with her Sunday morning Small Group for 2 full days.  She enjoyed every bit of camp, which she has been anticipating for about 20 months now.  I asked her if it was as good as she expected, and she replied, "Better."  I'm thankful for the staff and volunteers that made this experience possible for her.

--  Joey Espinosa, Pastor of Children & Families

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