“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.” Matthew 20: 36b-28a. ESV
As I think of Teen Service, this verse always stands out to me. Teen Service is one of the hardest programs at camp, because it requires its participants to think like Christ and rely on God’s strength to get through each day. God’s strength empowers them to do the things that people normally don’t think about like: Cleaning the bathrooms, and the dishes of camp. It’s so encouraging for them to know that each day the staff is praying for them that they might rely upon God’s strength and not their own strength. The teens are also taught how to lead a child to Christ by learning Message of Salvation or commonly known at camp as the MOS
Teen Service is also an amazing discipleship program. As a Dean, I was able to work with a wonderful group of teens for three weeks. I got to invest in them and really learn about them, and encourage them in their walks with Christ. I still am able to continue to build them up, and love on them as an older sibling in Christ. During the program, we took them up to the ropes course and saw them bond as a group. They were able to do things like trust falls, the spider’s web and eventually they got over the Wall of Jericho. Once a week, we would take them off campus for a fun outing to a park, go blue berry picking, get ice cream, visit Changes or so on. It’s a good time to bond without doing work. As they grew as a team, through the three weeks, we became like a little family, and it was hard to say good bye to them.
The Teen Service program is a lot of work, but you find joy in all that we do at camp. As 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ESV This program helps you to learn to be joyful always, as the NIV states, and it helps you to really see what it’s like to be the hands and feet of Christ, not only at camp, but also in your everyday life.
The Teen Service program also helps camp by supplying future staff members. Through the training in the MOS, the discipleship and watching the teens serve, camp anticipates finding those who will fit as summer staff for the future. Hopefully someday, my small family will join the huge family of those who have served on summer staff at camp over the years. By God’s grace and diligent training, I am confident this will happen for many.