7 Things I Learned at Camp with my Church

  1. Conversations are better than email or social media.  Yes, you and I both see the irony in beginning this post this way, but it is true!  There is nothing like sitting around the campfire and running out of things to talk about that gets you down to the real stuff of life, laughter and love.  I won’t be upset if you put down your phone, clicked off your computer and found a real person to talk to right now.

  2. Camp life is like real life.  Camp life is hard work, messy, dirty and most often the work is performed for someone else.  In this case, I camp for my kids!  They love it.  I don’t.  But I do love it.  I love it because it is the highlight of the beginning of summer for them.  So many memories come from camp life for my kids and thereby become my most treasured memories.  Let’s get dirty and get out there and serve.  It’s worth it!

  3. The generation gap is a myth.  The best time our Northbridge teens have at camp is a 65-year-old grandfather.  Now mind you, he is an extraordinary man unlike many others, and he has become a hero in the minds of our teens.  They love him, and he genuinely loves our teens.  The stories our teens tell of their adventures with Craig are becoming the material of myth and legend.

  4. Smores are disgusting.  Smores are irresistible.  Why do I eat them?

  5. Care for the infirmed does not slow us down or burden us; it humanizes us.  Watching a family gently caring for a family member recovering from illness reminded me that the care of others is not a burden but a beautiful expression of the worth and image of the fullness humanity.

  6. You never entirely miss people who give themselves to God’s mission.  Seeing Northbridge’s church planter, John Gilfillan, and his family along with other families that Northbridge has generously given to plant a new church caused me to feel sadness that was overwhelmed with excitement and passion for the lost and renewed spiritual growth.  When you give people to the mission of God in the world, you never lose them.  You gain a stronger friendship and deeper bonds of joy.  Sure there is a selfish loss of a particular kind of bond, but there is a significant increase.  I look forward to bumping into these friends at the farmer’s market and around town as our typical patterns of meeting will be disrupted by a new ministry and a new life at CityGate Church.  I know that they are following God’s will and in a way, it’s like giving them up to heaven.  They are even closer to God now, more than ever.  Could I want anything more for them?

  7. Encouragement is the oxygen of life.  I not a great cyclist but when I ride with Mike Jones and Kevin Patmore, I feel like an Olympian or at least maybe I could train to be one.  They inspire.  They uplift.  It’s not flattery.  My legs and lungs keep me my mind firmly in reality.  These two men know how to coach and encourage.  I want to be like them.  I want to be around them.  I want to do for others as a pastor what they do for me as a very average cyclist.  Inspire.  Fill with joy.  Take in the beauty of the Creator.  Be full.  Laugh.  Sleep well

Pastor Ray Brandon