Amber and I will leave in a few hours to take our son Jonah and his friend and fellow FBC StuMin attender Julian to Ascend Summer Camp. Ascend is put on by our former church New Community and their awesome youth pastors Jeremiah Kirberg and Jason Todd, as well as their incredible staff. Like all youth camps they will play awesome games and sing high energy and reflective worship songs. Unlike most youth camps, however, they will hear God honoring, Christ exalting, Spirit empowered expositional preaching from Rick Holland and Justin McKiterrick.
Having done youth ministry for 14 out of my 20 years of ministry (including camp ministry throughout all of it), I have a high value for camps and retreats. It is a time to get away from the distractions of every day life and focus on God, like no other time provides for Students (outside of serving on mission trips, which are sort of like working retreats). As I reflect upon those years of ministry, even with all the high energy stuff that happens at camp, there is nothing that seems to capture the attention of students like the preaching. The gospel is proclaimed so that the unbelieving student is challenged to repent and trust in Christ alone for reconciliation to God and the believing student is challenged to evaluate their life in light of the gospel. Would you please join me in praying for God to use the preaching of Rick and Justin, plus the small group leaders time with the students in moving them towards repentance and faith for those who need to meet Christ for the first time and a renewal of the mind for those who have already professed faith?