This year’s camp was centered around community, and specifically the originally coined term, “absolute community”. Absolute, meaning without limit, and community, meaning of group of like-minded individuals drawn together, therefore the idea that absolute community expresses is that a group of individuals that draw together with the like-minded goal to seek after God has no limits. When we gather in common pursuit of the Spirit of God, He will bless that pursuit, and with His blessing, there is no limit to the good things that can be birthed from such a community.
I believe if you asked any of the 150 young people that spent all week at Judson University, you will get 150 different, beautiful stories about the community that they have belonged to for the past week. A community where twelve and thirteen year olds are actually seeking to include, rather than exclude, where relationships are formed rather than broken by petty drama, where kids actually open up to adults about the things they are struggling with, and as a result, receive wise counsel. It may sound completely unfathomable, but I witnessed it with my own two eyes. And now that those 150 students have been released back into the real world, there is no limit to the good work that they can do because of the community with each other, and with God that they experienced this week.
So if you are a parent, or friend of a camper, talk to them about camp. Ask them what their experience was like, what happened to them, and what they learned. If they tell you they have nothing to share, they’re lying.
And if you’re a camper, and you experienced what it was like to live in a community with God at the center, then I encourage you to share what that was like with everyone around you, so that you might begin to create those types of communities in your home, in your school, and in your next Spotlight show. With the defining moment of Overnight Camp 2013 under your belt, there is no limit to the types of God centered communities that God wants to use you in. Share your experiences, tell your story. It’s important.
This week of camp reminded me a lot of my first week ever as a camper. It was the summer of 2005 and I was entering my freshman year of high school. That year we performed Grease. I had the time of my life all week, and on Thursday evening I experienced my first ever defining moment with God where I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. When I stood on stage, performing the showcase on Friday, I reflected on how much God had blindsided me that week. I had expected to perform and to play games, not to encounter God. But as the final song came to a close and we all pointed up to the heavens, I noticed that right above the stage in the chapel there was a small window in the ceiling, something like a skylight. The way the rays of sunlight reached through it, it looked as thought God was stretching out his fingers toward us. Like he was pulling us into community with himself. I had never noticed that window before, I thought to myself, yet it’s been right above me the whole time.
Yesterday, I let the final applause go on for a bit before bringing the stage lights to blackout, hoping that these campers, nine years later, would have the same experience that I did looking up at that window, realizing that in absolute community, God is always there right above you. Even if it takes you awhile to notice Him, He’s right there, just waiting for you to look up.