About this time of year, most youth pastors are either getting ready to go to camp, are at camp or have just wrapped up camp for their students. I would be in the latter category. All youth pastors feel the same tension about camp. We know it is a great experience for our students for several different reasons. First, it gets our kids away from their normal everyday lives and into an environment that is God-focused for a few days. The other bonus is that it gives youth pastors and youth volunteers prolonged exposure to students and gives them opportunities to speak into their lives like no other time during the year. We could keep going on the benefits of camp but I think if you had to pick two reasons, those would be the best two. In short, camp allows students to go deeper relationally and spiritually for a prolonged amount of time. WIN!!!
I’ve been doing the camp thing for around ten years and in all honesty, this past year was the best year I’ve spent at camp. It was the perfect balance of connecting with students, witnessing life change for them and experiencing God in a new way personally. If I’m being honest, which I’m sure you’d expect from a pastor (or maybe you wouldn’t which is a totally different blog post), my time during singing worship to God has been lacking. At times, I’ll simply show up and mouth the words to a tune. That’s it. This year at Student Life Camp, Jeff Johnson led worship for us. For the first time in a while, I poured out my heart in worship. I held nothing back and I unashamedly worshipped God. I know, a pastor shouldn’t admit such a thing but its true. That is not a reflection on the worship leader, the song choices or our church body. It is simply a heart attitude that I am responsible for.
For clarity, worship is far more than singing praise songs. It includes giving up sin, reading your Bible, doing acts of service and much much more. However, it definitely includes singing praises to God; giving God the glory He is due. Last week I was able to fully let go of myself and embrace more of who God is in the process. My prayer for you reading this article is that you are able to do that as well. It can be done and should be done outside of a camp experience. You and I are responsible for our heart attitudes during worship. It isn’t a music preference thing, it isn’t the worship leader’s responsibility it rests fully on our shoulders to let go of ourselves and latch onto God during those moments.
Psalm 68:4 “Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him–his name is the LORD.”