Kingdom Hearts

I did it!

Well, we did it. We survived another year of church camp. For some, the word “survived” may seem a bit melodramatic, but for those of us more inclined to the finer things in life – grit-free bathroom floors, mattresses not made of plastic, bug-less meals and devos – camp is something to survive. For all the years I laughed at Mom for taking her bedside rug and packing in drawers, I now fully repent and am paying my penance.

For all of the bugs, sweat, and dirt, there is a greater good that comes from attending church camp. I’m not sure I can fully explain it to you if you haven’t experienced it yourself, but something happens at church camp. You laugh together … at everything. You see kids, who barely know each other, work together to loft a water balloon over a volleyball net using a bed sheet. You witness “city” kids riding horses for the first time and overcoming fears. You watch cabins come together to clean the mess hall and perform a skit that includes everyone, even those who shy away from the spotlight.

Now, some of those things might happen at other camps, but there are things at church camp that make those experiences unique. One of the elementary teachers made sure to make the point to our youngest campers that when you attend basketball camp, you spend your time in basketball. Volleyball camp, volleyball. He made the point that we were attending Short Mountain Bible Camp, so we were involved in … Bible.

I want to take that one step farther for those of you not blessed to attend camp on the mountain where the water runs up. If you notice, I have been referring to my week at church camp. We certainly were not in a church building (I would have been more physically comfortable if we were). But we were with the church. The church is the people. God’s people. And our theme was “Kingdom Hearts,” learning to have a heart more like Jesus. The church focused on living more like Jesus. It doesn’t get much better than that!

If we could learn to live like we were at church camp (while at school, or our job, or even the grocery store) we could gain some of the blessings I mentioned earlier wherever we are: laughter, teamwork, overcoming fear, sharing the load and the rewards. We can do that anywhere there are kingdom hearts.

Romans 15:5 “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus …”

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AUTHOR: Amber Tatum




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