Two weeks ago at 6seventy8 I spoke about how important memories of camp can be. The best part about that message was hearing stories from other students and leaders about their favorite memories of Coram Deo. Hearing their memories almost brought those situations to life right in front of us. For many, the great memories we have of the past are the very things that keep the past alive. Camp can be one of the most spiritually (and non-spiritually) exciting times of your life. There are so many things that you can hold on to from camp that can help you throughout your relationship with Christ. Hopefully you have memories from Coram (or a different camp) that you can look back on and realize that was a mile marker, either in your life in general, or in your relationship with God. It was during a summer camp in elementary school that I decided to “stand in the gap” for the first time. It was during a summer camp that I realized that God’s peace was available to me whenever I needed it. It was during a summer camp that I realized that God wanted me to become a pastor. It was at Coram Deo that I saw my students spend intimate, life changing time, with God, amidst a crowd of others. These are the great memories that I have to hold onto from summer camps.
You see, for me, memories from Coram Deo are broken down into two groups: non-spiritual memories and spiritual memories (pretty deep huh?)
There are so many crazy memories that I can think of from Coram Deo. In my last post I listed a few. One that will always stand out is when our bus broke down on the way home a few years ago. The best part about that was that we were in the middle of nowhere in crazy-hot-heat. Somehow we were able to get all our students to a SMALL town (it was straight out of a Frank Peretti book). All the students and leaders were dropped off at a local restaurant and the owner was kind enough to allow us to hang out in the basement (that sounds worse than it was…it was a nice basement). After everyone was situated and fed (thank you church credit card), Brandon (our high school pastor) left with our bus driver to attend to the broken down bus and figure out how to get the new one to us. Now, one of the things I haven’t mentioned yet is the fact that I was not on staff at the time, I was a junior in college, and was the oldest male person in our group that stayed. After awhile, a local man (very local looking) somehow realized we were there and came down to offer us ice cream. Imagine what’s going through my mind at this time…”I may have to physically defend our youth group…this is not what I volunteered for!” Needless to say, nothing bad happened, aside from a few panicking students who desperately wanted to call their parents to come get them. I remember when Brandon got back, he asked me the question, “What can we learn from this? What did we do right and what could we do better if we were in this situation again?”…I don’t remember my exact words but I do remember thinking, “How about we get a bus that can handle going up a hill!”
I can picture in my mind a panorama of our students and leaders in the room as if it were yesterday. There were students sitting at a table playing card games, laughing. Brandon was giving Isabella a bath in the sink. Some students had decided to sing songs and Kyle was playing the drums on an upside down bucket. Adult leaders were sitting in chairs trying to relax for a moment. In the moment, no one liked it, but looking back, it is one of my favorite memories of Coram Deo.
From a spiritual standpoint, there are so many different things that I could list off as great memories from camp. I remember the first Coram I was ever at. I remember watching as life group leaders were prayed over. I remember watching students pray over leaders who had been influential in their lives. The last two years I remember how we couldn’t have amplified sound after a certain time each night, and experiencing how awesome it was when everyone was singing and worshiping without instruments leading them. I remember joining Allison’s group for Communion two years ago and being with her and a group of middle school girls as she led us. It was powerful to see how a group of middle schoolers could take something so seriously and and pray passionately for each other as well.
These are just a few of my favorite memories from Coram Deo. I’m sure there are many different memories you have, either from Coram Deo or a different camp, that you can look back on as well and remember how great those times were. If you don’t, than maybe this is your year to make some memories at Coram Deo.
Check back later for Reason #3.