Last week I spoke at Camp Vineyard. It was a youth summer camp/retreat with a total, as I understand it, of 260 people. The ages were from middle school to high school. I can’t lie…well, I could, but I shouldn’t…I went with a lot of concern (fear, since I can’t lie). You see I used to be a youth pastor. I had as many as 120 teenagers at one time in my group. We took them to winter retreats, summer retreats, and had concerts (Third Day came 3 times…how fitting!) just for them and their friends. Yes, I had kids mooning passer-byes on the over-pass in the back of our building. Yes, I had people trying to hook-up in the parking lot. Yes, I had kids sneaking smokes in the church bathrooms. Having done jail ministry and youth ministry, I think I have run out of things that will shock me. But I was shocked last week!
No, it wasn’t from too much exposure of the rear. No, it wasn’t from finding too young of couples trying to couple. And no, I did not see one teenager slipping off for a smoke. Yet, I was shocked.
This group was the most polite group of young people I have ever been around. They also were the most spiritually hungry, as well as ready to let the Holy Spirit come.
The first night I took the stage, and looked out, instead of seeing the sneering, rabid, hypnotic glare of a coven of bloodthirsty savages, I saw a community of young Jesus-followers hungry for the move of the Holy Spirit. They made this old surfer, pastor feel right at home. They listened. They responded. I was shocked!
Jesus basically said that if the kingdom was going to come, it would come through kids. Well, at least through those who have childlike faith, and attitudes. God told us that one of the signs, evidence, that the Holy Spirit had come would be that our sons and daughters would prophesy. They did. In the book of Acts we are told that Philip had four daughters who were prophets. Man, I cannot begin to imagine what that was like for Philip.
Yes, I was shocked at my return to youth camp. But it wasn’t for the reasons I expected.
I’ll write a little more tomorrow. It was an amazing experience for me. If this is who will be leading our tribe, the Vineyard in the future, we’re in good hands!