One of my college professors gave me the best advice on youth ministry I have ever received. He told me “anytime you have a cabin full of middle schoolers make sure you bring a 20 pack of deodorant, it will be the best 40 dollars you ever spend.” This past weekend we brought 51 people to middle school camp. That piece of advice haunted me all weekend.
Deodorant aside, this was the first time we split up our middle and high school students for camp. It brought out a unique camp dynamic. This camp truly birthed a hope and burden amongst myself and our youth staff. Middle schoolers are great because they exude a hope and optimism for the future. They haven’t quite been tainted by the world, in the way that many high schoolers have been. Their hope and passion for the future is contagious. However, for anyone attempting to disciple this unique age range, there is an immense burden that accompanies this hope. There is a burden for them to know and experience Jesus before the ugliness of the world comes into full view. There is a burden to take advantage of these three short years where they are pliable to respond to the Gospel. There is a burden to build a strong foundation before the building blocks of life are stacked higher and higher. My prayer after this middle school camp is that our students would walk away with hope, and our leaders would walk away with a burden. A burden to see middle schoolers know Jesus.
The biggest win from this camp is that we are baptizing seven middle schoolers on Easter Sunday. A few of them have a Christian background. A few of them have never stepped into a church before 2015. Below are a few pictures from the camp. We had a blast! However all the fun and games had a very specific goal in mind: to create space in the hearts of middle schoolers for the gospel.