The definition of “opportunity” is a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. A local pastor who is heavily involved at Big Sky has helped me to see that one of the primary benefits of camp is that it provides opportunities. It provides a set of circumstances, such as a raucous cabin of youths that make it possible to do something, in fact – 4 somethings, listed below. As we begin thinking about recruiting summer staff, I want to present various opportunities that serving at Big Sky presents:
The opportunity to share your life
In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul states that, “we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (NIV84). The idea here is that Paul and his companions were completely committed to a gospel that demands complete commitment. They refused to hold back their innermost self to the great message of the gospel and to their dear Thessalonian friends. Without a doubt, there is something special about the counselor-camper relationship. Camp provides the opportunity for the counselor to share of their innermost being with the campers. It is an opportunity born from studying the Bible together, staying up late, being tossed off the tubes, discussing hard problems, dressing as a cabin and a whole spectrum of experiences that contribute toward an opportunity for the sharing of life.
The opportunity to be tested
This may sound like an odd opportunity and one that no one would seek, but I invite you to think otherwise. James reminds us in chapter 1 to, “…count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (James 1:2-3 ESV). I may not be able to guarantee many things to our summer stuff, but I can guarantee that they will be tested. Whether by the circumstance of a camper they cannot understand, many nights with little sleep, or the seemingly daunting task of counseling someone with special needs – I promise testing. And as long as there is testing, there is growth in steadfastness, patience, endurance.
The opportunity to apply your theology
I am continually amazed at the accelerated rate at which camper-counselor relationships happen at camp. There is an almost extraordinary trust assumed by the camper of the counselor. This trust is the foundation for the camper to confide and the counselor to apply their theology. Have you every explained to a child why their parents are divorced? Why their grandfather died of cancer? Have you counseled a teenager that questions whether they should end their life? Or what their purpose is here on earth. These are all opportunities for the gospel and for an application of theology to real life. Theological training is an excellent endeavor and I am involved in such endeavors in numerous ways. However, it seems there are too few environments in which to use and apply that training. I believe camp is such an environment.
The opportunity to serve Christ
In Mark 10:45, Mark reminds us of the reason that Christ came to the earth – “…not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (ESV). Similarly, in John 12:26, Jesus reminds us that anyone who serves Him must follow Him. What Christ teaches us is that His life is to be the pattern for all who would claim to be His disciples. Obviously, there are countless other ways to serve Christ beyond camp, but I can sincerely attest to the fact that camp provides one of the greatest opportunities to serve our Lord. We know that our Lord loved children and we know that, in the kingdom of God, there is a special place for the “least of these,” which, in my thinking, definitely includes those with special needs (check out the Camp Promise ministry of Big Sky)
I appeal to anyone reading this, particularly if you are high school and college age, would you consider actively serving the one you call Lord this summer at Big Sky? Check out www.bigskybiblecamp.org for more info.