This summer, at Elevate Summer Camp, we had the opportunity to take nearly fifty students down to Anderson, South Carolina for an exciting week of worshipping Jesus. The life change that happened in this group of students from stories of salvation to students committing to living a life on mission was something unlike our student ministry has ever seen.
What’s Elevate Summer Camp All About?
If you have never been on a camp trip, it is hard to put into words the mountaintop experience that comes from having a week set aside for Jesus to be put on grand display. Camp is a week where you are totally unplugged from the outside world. The stresses and pressures of day-to-day life simply don’t exist. During this week, you are given Gospel-centered Bible teachings every single day, sometimes twice a day. You have a team around you holding you accountable to open up the Word in personal devotion. Every single night with a small group of your peers you get to dissect what God is teaching you. On top of all that you have an endless supply of soft serve ice cream. It is a week unlike any other!
If you went on this trip, you probably came home and felt closer to Jesus than you ever have before. Now that we are a few weeks removed from it, you may find yourself back in the place you started before camp kicked off. You are probably wondering what happened. Where did that feeling of knowing Jesus more intimately than ever before go? How can I get it back?
Peter in Matthew 17 had a similar “mountaintop” experience when he saw Jesus move in an unbelievable way in the transfiguration. He saw Jesus in a new light that opened his eyes to the divinity, holiness, and power of the Son of God. What happened next to Peter? He came down the mountain and back into the realities of life. Just a few chapters later, you can find Peter denying the same Jesus he loved so dearly and saw so clearly on top of the mountain.
Embrace the Abnormal
The natural human condition pushes us away from God not closer to him. So when you come home and life gets back to the way it was before, you need to do a few things. First, you need to recognize that what you are going through is normal. Second, you need to recognize that moving out of that norm is going to take a little legwork on your end. If the natural inclination is to run away from God and not closer to him, we need to engage in the abnormal and strive for our relationship with Christ.
Maybe you feel like your relationship with Jesus is back to the ho-hum level it was before camp. You haven’t read your Bible, prayed, or met with a leader or fellow small group member. Perhaps you’ve slept-in instead of going to church or you haven’t given Jesus the time of day. You shouldn’t be shocked to find yourself drifting away. You need to realize that the same Jesus you saw on grand display at camp is the very one that exists in the pages of your Bible; the very one who is preached from the stage every week on Sundays in the service, at Route 56, on Wednesdays at 712; and the same Jesus that is eager to listen to each word of prayer that you speak.
Jesus is Available to You Everywhere
Rather than accepting movement away from Jesus as the normal, you need to strive and fight to ensure that King Jesus of the Bible is sitting on the throne in your life. Camp experiences are awesome. If you went with us, you undoubtedly had an incredible week. Don’t make your relationship with Jesus dependent on that mountaintop experience. What you need to do is experience that same Jesus you saw at camp on grand display each and every day. Listen to the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 6, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
If you are looking for any resources about setting a routine for getting into the Word, setting up a prayer schedule, or getting together with a small group, don’t hesitate to let your leader know!
-Clay Holland (Student Ministry Director)