August 31, 2007

Decisions Made at Church Camp

Posted in better disciples, servant-leader at 4:13 PM by alexlozada

I’ve heard a just little bit about Ben Cachiaras’ decision to enter vocational Christian service: happened at “last chance” church camp when his grandfather was speaking. I’m guessing the term “last chance” applies to end of summer, or maybe it meant graduating seniors?

Mine was an after-last-chance-because-God-doesn’t-give-up decision to “accept the call” or “enter full-time Christian ministry”, made at Catskill Christian Assembly at the end of a high school week, two years AFTER I had graduated high school (I was serving the kitchen, NOT cooking but assisting – that story is for another post some time).

I didn’t attend Christ In Youth conferences or other large-venue events because they weren’t any affiliated w/ my non-denominational denomination in the Northeast US, but I do wonder if smaller youth gatherings are more likely to stir young people’s hearts because there is closer connection-relationships w/ the full-timers/professionals who are leading the program?



  1. ELM said,

    I don’t know about CIY but I do know that some larger conferences are able to address this by focusing entirely on vocational ministry (this answers you last post about what people call it in my home town). The YIM (Youth in Ministry and since it is in the south it happens to be pronounced, Why I Am which is double cool. Northerner never get this second meaning) conference is a fine example. It is entirely focused on helping students examine lives of vocational ministry. They have tracks in preaching, teaching, children’s ministry, missions, music, worship, technical arts, and more. If I had a group of kids that I wanted to examine the “call” I would take them there. Interested parties can check out their home page.

  2. ELM said,

    On a related note, just as you worry about big camp experiences, I worry about big church experiences. In a big church how do you identify and train students as leaders. It seems to me that the ratios are way off.

    I did not grow up in a perfect youth group, but all the gets in the youth group had opportunities for meaningful leadership in the youth and the larger church. I would estimate that 70% took advantage of those opportunities.

    In my youth ministry, 50% of my graduating seniors (That is basically 100% of the active and committed ones.) either preached or gave a communion or offering meditation during the ten years I was there. Through student choirs and bands, student led devotions, scripture readers at youth meetings and at Sunday morning, a huge percentage of my kids were in ministry roles. That simple isn’t possible in a big church. As part of a big church now I worry that my children will never grow up with the ministry opportunities that shaped me as a kid.

    [I sang in a choir from age 6, I accompanied the congregational singing as a musician periodically from age 12, I served at the table from age 13. I read scripture as part of the regular reading team from age 14, I taught Sunday school at 15. I preached at 16. I could probably dredge up more. But what is surprising to me is that although I may have been a bit ahead of the curve I was not exceptional. Many kids were involved like that. And not is just kid roles but as full members of adults ministries.]

    Every Sunday that I read scripture, the half deaf old woman in the front row would always hobble over to m after service and say, “You will be such a fine preacher.” It was ten years before I would even consider her words anything but a joke. I was going to be a math teacher. But since she turned out right, I have to wonder who knew better.

    But as I look at big churches, I wonder is their enough room for us to train out teens. (Even the math is hard to work out. My home church had 120 people in each service, and 5 speaking roles, 4 – 25 music roles (depending on the choir or not.) plus a handful of servers and stuff. If we assume the preacher preaches 48 times a year, that is 53 speaking roles a quarter per service for a church of 240. The big church services I am in usually have 4 (preacher, host, worship leader, and meditator) speaking roles in a room that seats 1000. Assuming the preacher gets 48 Sundays a year that is 40 roles a quarter per service for a church of a couple thousand.) The math is hard but the mindset is also hard. If we are seeker aware, which theoretically appeals to me, can we afford the risk that comes from training new speakers or must big churches forever depend on smaller churches to train their leaders.

  3. alexlozada said,

    I’m editing my original post, because I had meant to say “in my part of the country.”
    Sadly in my part of the country, most churches are small, and the distance & time & $ to drive to down-South conference is beyond the reach of small church pastor (or even non-vocational youth volunteer).

  4. alexlozada said,

    ELM – I think there are opportunities for youth (and for trainee-adults) in large churches, but they won’t come in the (Sunday) large group. I think I’ll start a new post about that 🙂

  5. […] recent thread on this blog brought up the question of identifying and training students (or adults) as leaders in […]

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