Why We Do Camp: A Church Paid for 109 Kids to Come Hear the Gospel

By: Rochell Goff, Director of Children’s Programming

At Kids Camp in July, we had the opportunity to have a “first” at Crossings. Typically, at Crossings we have a lot of “firsts”, but this one was unique in that it was the first time we had a completely sponsored group at camp. A church  sponsored over one hundred kids from the inner city to come to camp.  This church brought 109 third through sixth graders to come experience camp at Crossings. Most of the kids who attended had never been out of their local community. For them, coming to camp was a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity.

The Church Provided Everything

The church provided everything they would need, including luggage, clothes, toiletries, Bibles, backpacks, pens, notebooks and sleeping bags. In order to be allowed to come to camp, the kids were required to attend church, stay out of trouble, and not get into any fights. The discipline required was not easy for all of the kids. The church enforced a three-strikes-and-you-are-out rule. Yet the 109 students worked hard prior to camp to get on the buses that brought them to camp. This story is a tremendous example of what it means to meet kids where they are at and to love them as they are. Have you considered how your church may reach children in your area? Have you asked God to provide people and resources to reach them?

Four Joyful Buses

They came rolling in on four school buses. You could hear their cries of joy before you could see them coming around the corner. They ran off the buses ready to experience Crossings and all it had to offer. Nevertheless, they seemed a little unsure once they stepped off the bus. It seemed like they had entered a whole new world they had never experienced before. Many of these kids had never left the urban environment where they grew up. For the first time, they were getting to experience God’s beautiful creation—the rolling fields, the smell of the cedar trees, and even the sight of the deer!

Who is King David?

Once they were acclimated to this new place, they were assigned into small groups with the Crossings summer staff. The staff began to share the gospel with them and it was amazing to watch as kids realized for the first time that there is a Savior who loves them for who they are and that His name is Jesus. They were like sponges as our staff shared with them who King David was and how his life points us to Christ. It was amazing to hear of students who didn’t know who King David was or how he followed after God. We have heard that a lot of students began a journey of transformation that week at camp. They are going to break their families’ cycles.  They began to take steps towards Christ.

Loving the Least of These

The adults that came with these students are amazing example of godly  as well. These adults not only roomed with the kids. They did everything with these kids, supervising them at all times and participating in all of camp life together. Having an adult available at all times ensured that the kids could have a serious conversation at any moment. These adults were dedicated to these kids hearing the Gospel and showed a discipline that was convicting. Here was an example of the church of the Lord Jesus loving the least of these and faithfully proclaiming the Gospel to them. We are thankful at Crossings for the time we had with these kids. Even though it is November, we are continuing to pray for all the students and kids who came through camp this summer. We are praying that the Gospel seeds that were sowed in July will bear fruit in their lives.

Why We Have Summer Camp

It is stories like this that remind us why summer camps are so important to the kingdom of God. Who knows what work the Lord has done and will continue to do in these 109 students? How many will be saved because of the love they were shown by Cornerstone Community? How many now know who Jesus is and understand the Gospel more fully because of their time at camp?

Providing the local church opportunities to invest in and love students and kids is why we do camp. Proclaiming the Gospel to thousands of students and kids is why we do camp. It is stories like this that puts wind into our sails and leads us to work hard as we prepare for summer 2017.