Today’s post was written by Evan “E-Money” Cummins. Evan is one of my oldest friends and we’ve been through a lot together (marching band, driving on the wrong side of the road, producing action-thriller-comedy films with our younger siblings, and more church functions than I can count). I wanted to give him a chance to share about his first summer working camp (even though he didn’t choose CentriKid). Evan attends Eastern Kentucky University and plans to go into some form of ministry (we’ll find out what if he ever graduates).
Summer camp is something most people can’t figure out once they turn thirty.
Let me explain: as a younger-than-thirty counselor at a camp for only boys, I saw lots of older-than-thirty-and-brand-new-to-camp moms and dads dropping off their sons for his first time away from home. These parents didn’t get camp.
They didn’t understand why I would do that job. They didn’t get how I could still be excited about being there 10 weeks into the summer. Nor did they really try to figure it out. All they cared about was their son having the time of his life. These parents love their children, but they will probably never understand camp.
And until I went and lived through it, I didn’t really get it either. When I was first hired at Camp Ridgecrest for Boys (which is the best place in the world, in case you were curious), I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I knew I would be outside in the woods all the time, that I would work with some studly Christian guys, and that I would be living with 7-year-olds all summer. You say, “That inhales vigorously” (Camp speak for “That sucks”). I say, “Heck yes.”
So here I go, trotting off to camp for the first time ever, thinking about all the ways I’m going to change a kid’s life. Because just like you, Mr. or Miss “I’ve never been to camp,” I didn’t really get it.
Here’s what camp is actually all about. Well, Christian ones anyway.
Camp is not actually 100% me pouring into kids and showing them how to make their lives better. For any good camp counselor, that can’t be the only goal or motivation. As much as I try to pour into them, there is just as much or more of them pouring into me.
Don’t assume you can’t learn anything from a seven-year-old.
Highlight of the summer for me: halfway through the two week session, one of my kids named Ben accepted Christ as his Savior. That was incredible. Then, Ben proceeds to tell everyone in our cabin about Jesus and how “He came into my heart!” For days, he does this, telling everyone he can. And here I am, the astute camp counselor, watching a seven-year-old boy be infinitely more proactive about sharing his faith with his friends than I’ve been in years.
So here we are, two days later. Ben still loves Jesus, and he’s still telling people about it. That night, we are having our cabin devotion– eight boys, my two studly co-counselors, and me. The conversation leads perfectly into a presentation of the gospel. I start on my carefully rehearsed spiel, which Ben interrupts and finishes for me. Then, another kid named Nicolas says something I will never forget: “Well why doesn’t everyone do that? I want to do that!”
And perhaps this is what Christianity is actually all about.
The real value in being around other Christians (even seven-year-old ones) is that you can pour into them while being poured into by them. When this happens– when Christianity becomes a community of relationships with one another and with Christ– the gospel is magnified.
Don’t assume you’ve already learned everything you need to know about Jesus.
I can’t be a Christian by myself, and neither can you.
The reason kids love camp (and the reason I love camp) is because when you live in a one room cabin with 12 other guys, you can’t help but forge lifelong relationships. These relationships– with Christ and with one another– are integral to the well-being of our Christian faith. When one guy hurts, you get 3,353 people praying for him. When one family battles cancer for three years, you get an entire body of believers coming together to love them and remind them of the light of Jesus. When one kid (even an older-than-thirty kid) loves Christ, you get a whole community who loves Him, too.
Camp forces you to depend on others. As a counselor, it forces me to depend on seven-year-olds. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I want to encourage you to check out Praying for Will NeSmith, which LC mentioned in a recent Re:commends. I brought it to her attention because his is a true testimony of crying out to Christ in the midst of trials like few experience. For me, it is a privilege to be connected to this family through Camp Ridgecrest.
– Evan Cummins (Ruminative Rockhopper)
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