I love church camp. I can’t help it. It is one of my favorite things to do. This year is my 37th year as a storyteller for elementary church camps. I’ve worked at Ceta Canyon Camp and Retreat Center, Butman Methodist Camp, and Sacramento Camp and Retreat Center. I’ve had the joy across those years of speaking to thousands of boys and girls and seeing God do some pretty remarkable things.
Felicia and I know of many whose lives were given to God as children. These elementary years are some of the most impressionable years in a person’s life. Somehow, the noise and clutter of the world has not yet drowned out the “still, small voice” of God.
For a week, these children are surrounded by volunteers who lead, love, and pray for them as they go about the activities of camp. Through the worship, storytelling, small groups, games, and meal time, they are told over and over again of the amazing love God has for them and the good plans He has for their lives.
Near the end of the week, I am privileged to invite them to give their hearts to Christ and follow Him. It is a very “low key” invitation. I just present three options to the children: Surrender their lives to follow Jesus, recommit their lives to God, and commit to follow Him in full-time Christian service as a pastor, evangelist, or missionary.
This year at Ceta Canyon, I met with the volunteers before the night of commitment to pray about the ministry to the children at the altar. As I told them of the options I was offering to the campers, I reminded them that God calls children to follow Him and to serve Him. I talked about the ministry decision and asked the volunteers, “How many of you surrendered your lives for ministry at a church camp?” Of the 20 people in the room, 5 hands shot up. “Right here! When I was in the 4th grade,” one volunteered. “Me, too!” said another. I was overwhelmed!
That night as the invitation was offered, we witnessed a literal wave of response! 45 of the 300 campers gave their hearts to Christ. Scores more made a fresh commitment o their faith, and over 20 said “Yes” to full time Christian service. One of those was one of my grandsons.
We saw similar results the very next week at Sacramento Camp and Retreat Center in New Mexico. There were about 100 campers there. Over 20 received Christ, dozens made recommitments to Him, and 10 committed to full-time Christian service. Absolutely amazing!
Jesus once said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
There is no way it would be possible for us to accept the incredible opportunity to minister to these children in a church camp setting were it not for all the wonderful friends who support this ministry with prayer and finances. Thank you.