Trained for a Purpose: To Share and Show the Love of Jesus

By: Olivia Robertson

It was 2 p.m. when the first bus topped the hill at Jonathan Creek. The day we had been waiting for had finally arrived. All of us staffers, with our neon yellow shirts, ran to our opening day spots. We were welcoming nine churches to Jonathan Creek. It was quite the sight as the gaga pit and basketball courts immediately filled with students. Yet, we needed to fill more than just gaga pits. We knew there was an immediate need—an urgent need—to fill these students’ days with the message of the Gospel. 

We began training on May 17th—all in preparation for this moment two weeks later. Our training equipped us to use activities, games, hangout times, and conversations as opportunities to share the good news of Christ Jesus. The two weeks of preparation and anticipation had arrived—it was real, and the responsibility was a little terrifying. I was reminded that God had ordained every moment, opportunity, and conversation that laid ahead of us. We were here for a single reason—to see lives transformed.

As the first camp session got underway, Camp Pastor Roger Palmer took the students through Philippians 3. Our camp theme is based on Philippians 3 and is entitled “Outsiders.” Roger showed from Philippians 3 that Christians are Outsiders and this world is not our home. We are called to be different from the people around us because of the hope we have inside of us, which is a powerful message that especially resonates with young students. 

As staffers, we have the privilege of digging deeper into Philippians 3 with students in our morning small groups. We use the small groups to apply the teaching and to help students learn what it looks like to be an Outsider in day-to-day life. We also get to know our students and their stories, which gives us the opportunity to share about Christ Jesus with our words and show them the love of Christ with our actions. The morning small group time is where we often see lives changed. It is incredible to watch as the students start taking all the parts of camp–the activities, the Bible studies, the conversations–and piece them together to realize the good news of the gospel of Jesus. 

As the week came to a close, dozens of students came to know Christ as their Savior. Making disciples of Jesus is our hope, prayer, and goal every camp session. It is why we have purposeful games and activities. It is why we study the Word. It is why we have intentional conversations with every student. It is why we serve long hours in the sun. We exist to proclaim the gospel both now and for generations to come.

As a team of summer staffers, we needed that first week of student camp to see how our training was going to play out. The fruit of intentionally sharing the gospel had made itself evident. The Spirit is at work at Crossings through the proclamation of the Gospel. It is why we are here.

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).