A recent Barna survey reports that teens “regularly strive to be connected to a substantial number of other people and yet possess a nagging sense of loneliness, isolation and restlessness. The constant involvement with social networking via the Internet, text messaging and phone calls via mobile devices are manifestations of the investment in relationships and connections that are important but somehow not as fulfilling as desired….”
Some of the most significant desires that teens have today are to be loved, to have a close friend, to be accepted by their peers and to be affirmed by their parents. Yet even in our Facebook and texting generation, many still struggle with loneliness and the lack of real personal connection. The Bible talks about how we as believers are to relate with each other and calls it fellowship. Chrisitan fellowship is described as being so real, so genuine and sacrificial, that even the world would see it and take note. Our teens also deal with a sense of isolation and loneliness at times – even when socially networked with many friends and even when surrounded by Christian peers. Something is missing!
If we are going to understand biblical fellowship, we need to see it in its proper context. Only then can we truly “get” our need for each other and the commitment we are commanded to make towards each other. That context is that we are in a war; there is a battle going on around us, and we are on a mission together, as a team. If we understand this, we can no longer love at a distance but by necessity.
At summer camp this year, we will be using the backdrop of the military where the mission determines the relationship and creates what is called a “band of brothers.” Soldiers intuitively know why they need each other, why they are committed to “have each others backs,” “to carry one another’s burdens,” to “leave no man behind.” to “fight shoulder to shoulder.” That is the vision of fellowship that we want our teens to taste and to experience.
At camp we will also be doing a number of things to help us grow in our mission and in coming together as a team. In the beautiful Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, our teens will have the opportunity to ride the white water of the New River and to rappel down the rock walls that border it. They can tube on Lake Stevens, battle it out in a paintball game, take on the high ropes course, hike the woods, take in a round of golf, or work on as a group on team building challenges. Our hope is that this WILL be the best week of their summer!
Our prayer is that God would begin to change each of us during this time in the way we love each other in the youth ministry, in the way we to unconditionally care for our friends in the world, and in the way we sincerely love our family at home. When we choose to engage in the mission God has given us together, we will more clearly see how we need to love one another, exhort one another, and bear each other’s burdens. May it be said by others, that we are devoted to one another and may they see the love of God that is the reason we do.
We are looking for a few young men and women who want to join us on ONE MISSION, and become ONE TEAM. You can get all the information about camp and register at www.restonbible.org/summercamp