"Come Away to a Deserted Place..."
"The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, 'Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.' " (Mark 6:30-31)
I just spent two days sharing time with middle-schoolers, adult leaders and pastors at Lutheran Campfirmation in Payson. It is amazing to observe the power of environment. Many of the youth come from congregations that do not have large numbers of their age group, but at camp they can see others who share a common faith. The laughter, the chatter, the high energy devoted to the outdoor games and activities is contagious and helps to rejuvenate an old soul like me.
In visiting with congregations seeking a new pastor they almost always are hopeful that the new pastor will have the charisma and magic formula that will draw in young people and families with children. In most cases, this is an illusion that I speak truth to, but one thing I do believe that has the power to change lives and connect children and youth with Jesus for the rest of their lives is the opportunity to get away from the familiar and busy schedules they experience and simply spend a week at camp. There is just something that happens to folks when they sing praise songs to Jesus throughout the day, share a common meal, play together and pray together.
Thanks to all the congregations, leaders, parents and grandparents who encourage the youth and children we do have to go to bible camp, and thanks to all those who give of their time to support these precious gifts from God with their presence and living witness.
Bishop Steve Talmage