A group of 24 teenagers, accompanied by three courageous adults and myself, embarked on an exciting summer camp adventure in the mountains of North Carolina. I’m thrilled to give you a glimpse of our unforgettable experiences!
FUGE Camp, Part 3: God's Not Done Yet!
I've shared about our traveling mishaps, the incredible move of God during worship, and now it's time to talk about the impact and life change experienced at youth summer camp. I'm thrilled, grateful, and amazed at God's handiwork, but I also recognize the importance of protecting our students' privacy. So, while I can't divulge all the details, I'll share as much as I can.
Summer camp holds immense significance because it provides students with a chance to break away from the daily grind and distractions of life, allowing them to focus wholeheartedly on God and their relationship with Him. The camp pastor likened camp to an oil change for a car—it's routine maintenance for our spiritual lives.
Just like getting an oil change, sometimes everything goes smoothly, and we leave feeling refreshed. Other times, however, the mechanic discovers an underlying issue that needs attention. This is similar to what happens spiritually at camp for our students. For some, it's a time of routine maintenance, a chance to check in, reassess priorities, and recommit to putting God first. For others, camp reveals deeper spiritual challenges that they were previously unaware of, giving them the opportunity to allow God to begin the necessary work in their lives.
During camp, God started addressing significant challenges in the lives of our students. These included abandonment, loneliness, body image issues, self-harm, suicidal ideation, regret, bitterness, eating disorders, selfishness, pride, abuse, depression, anxiety, a sense of worthlessness, sin, and salvation. That's a lot to process! And God is not finished yet. He has initiated a transformative work in our young people, and I have unwavering confidence in the words of the Apostle Paul: "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."
I invite you to join me in praying for our young people, both those at Journey Church and young people worldwide, that God will carry on His work in their lives. Navigating the teenage years has never been easy, but it is particularly challenging in today's world. Consider the alarming statistics reported by Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University:
Depressive Symptoms in U.S. 8th, 10th, and 12th Graders:
- "I can't do anything right" – 49.5% agree.
- "My life is not useful" – 44.2% agree.
- "I do not enjoy life" – 48.9% agree.
These numbers should deeply concern us. Our young people need help, and they need Jesus. I urge you to commit to praying for a spiritual revival among our youth. For our Journey students, pray that God will continue the good work He started in them at camp. Pray for their protection, healing, and for their friends. This is a genuine problem that affects our students and their peers.
Am I overreacting? Consider this heartbreaking reality: One of our students received news at camp that her dear 12-year-old friend had taken her own life. She was only 12 years old! This is the harsh reality we face—life and death struggles among our youth.
The good news is that we serve a God who has overcome the world, so we need not be overcome by it. We serve a caring and loving God who can mend what is broken. Our God not only can but wants to restore and redeem us.
There is tremendous power in prayer. Will you make a commitment to pray fervently for our young people?