Kids Camp Prayer Week

We are another week closer to Kids Camp 2013!  Thanks for all who are praying with me for the kids, staff and speakers.  Here is the prayer focus for this week:

1.Pray for our Activity, Décor, and Chapel time coordinator; Pastor Harvey Walls

2.Pray for our Prayer Coordinator; Pastor Isaiah McGarry

3.Pray for fun, organized, and safe activities for all

4.Pray for all of our prayer partners

5.Pray for operation of all equipment to be flawless

6.Pray for consistent prayer among all our prayer partners

7.Pray for kids with difficult home situations

Thanks for praying!

Kids Camp Prayer

Sorry, I have been preoccupied with life to get the camp prayer items out.  Thank you for praying with me!

Here are the prayer items for this week:

1. Pray for Non Christian parents to send their kids to camp
2. Pray for the maintenance team, that all things would work properly
3. Pray for the safety of everyone helping at or attending a camp
4. Pray for all volunteers to experience spiritual growth before, during, and after camp
5. Pray for pray for all kids to experience spiritual growth before, during, and after camp
6. Pray our Camp Coordinators; Western Camp, Pastor St. John Eyre and Eastern Camp, Pastor Brad Shimomura
7. Pray for our network leader; Pastor Brian Eno

Successful camps are the result of praying the price.  Kids are going to have a great encounter with God this year at camp!

Celebrate U Kids Camp Review

Last week, I spent Monday through Friday with 70 kids at Kellogg Springs Camp in Southern Oregon.  Yes, kids camp again.  My job at camp this year was to run the activities, that is to say that it was my job to make sure that the kids had fun and want to come back next year.

If you have never been to Kellogg Springs, you are missing out-on a lot of hills.  It seems as though the campground is on the side of a mountain, with lots of gravel, dust and dirt.  I joke, but it is a really great facility, and the hills gave the kids a work out simply getting to their activities.  I did’nt have any problems with kids being too rowdy at night, because they were so tired just from traveling.  The directors had access to a golf cart, that really saved us from a lot of unpleasantness, (hills) and consequently we were able to stay up later and play German Uno into the wee hours.

The Celebrate U theme was about school.  We asked the kids to come up with University names for their cabins, which they did, and our chapel sessions were put together well by our speaker.  Our camp  speaker was Brent Colby, he is the Children’s Pastor at Christ Memorial Church in Poulsbo, WA.  Brent went along with the theme Celebrate U very well.  He taught his way through the entire Bible, starting with Creation and went through Revelation all on the kids level and hit the important kids camp things: salvation, Holy Spirit, sharing God’s word, etc.  It was really a learning experience for me as well as the kids.  Our first chapel session was actually quite a bit like the first day of school, but in a really big class, and our last chapel session was the “Graduation” for the kids.

Activities went well, I had fun planning and carrying out the different games both in chapel and during the kids play time.  Here are some of the games we played and some we did not but I planned for, in case you are interested:

Funky Dance: 2 kids had pedometers attached to their head, an arm and a shoe.  The goal is to have more ticks on your pedometers than the other person.

Spelling Face: 2 campers and counselors face off (no pun intended) in this spelling challenge.  Ask the audience for a word, and the kids race to spell that word out on their counselor’s face using the letters found in a can of alphabet soup.

Sticky Bears: several kids are selected and they bring their counselors up on stage with them.  They lick and stick gummy bears to their counselor’s face.  The counselor with the most bears stuck to their face wins.

M & M sorting: 2 kids compete using straws to suck up m & m’s from a bowl and sort them by color into different bowls.  Its harder than it sounds.

Tissue race: Duct tape some tissue boxes to a table.  Several kids race to pull the tissues out of the box one-by-one (otherwise they’ll reach in and pull it all out at once).

Blind taste test: Get the crowd in react opposite what they should when you show them what the kids are going to be trying.  I started off with easy likeable items like Oreos and m & m’s.  After I established trust, I got to the not so good food like baby food, tuna, and spam.

Human obstacle course: use about 10 kids to set up a human obstacle  course, include moving obstacles.  Blindfold 2 kids to go through the course, after the blindfolds are secure, have the kids in the obstacle course quietly sit down, then have the crowd shout instructions to the kids going through the course. 

If you would like to try any of these game for anything at all, have fun!  Many of the ideas came from the Minute To Win It website, and others came from my friend, and fellow kids pastor JP O’Connor.

The kids had a great time, according to the feedback that we got.  Over the course of the week, there were a few kids who gave their lives to Christ for the first time, several who rededicated their lives to Christ, and a couple who were filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time.

One of the hard parts about camp was the remote location.  There was literally no cell reception, and the camp hosts no wireless internet, so we were cut off from reality as we have not known since the widespread use of the smart phone.  It was a great opportunity to unplug from electronic devices and plug into God (I know that was cheesy, but it is true).

Why I believe in Kids Camp

The highlight of my summer every year is Kids Camp.  I’ve written about some of my experiences as a camp counselor at Kids Camp, and I hope that my writings have encouraged you to at least think about either sending your kids to camp, or being a camp counselor of some kind. 

Kids camp is a great time to get the kids away from the TV, video games, and other “mind wasters” while they participate in active play, outdoor activities with other kids who love Jesus and hear great messages at their age level about God.  The absolute best thing about Kids Camp is that there is often no solid timetable for chapel times.  In 99% of churches across America, Kids Church is over when the adult service concludes.  Sometimes that means that in the middle of the lesson the kids pastor has to hastily finish and close in prayer.  Other times, it means that the Kids Pastor is stalling while the parents are still in church.  However at Kids Camp, the chapel service waits and concludes for no one except God and the team of people in charge (speaker, directors).  This means the kids get unhindered time at the altar to seek after God.

I’ve seen kids (and by kids, need I remind you that I am talking about ages 8-12ish) have amazing encounters with God at camp.  Every year kids are filled with the Holy Spirit.  On more than one occasion I’ve seen kids filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesying over the adults.  I’ve seen kids come to grips with things they struggle with and set them down (spiritual, physical and mental struggles), to never be picked up again.  I’ve seen kids healed of different physical ailments.  I’ve seen kids recieve the call into full time ministry.  I’ve seen kids engage in worship as intense as any adult would and really connect with God. 

Camp has been an important part of my life, both as a camper, and as a leader.  I am so grateful that I’ve had such experiences, and pray that each year, the kids also have awesome encounters with God.  Would you pray with me this week about the camp that I will be work at?  Please pray that 3 things with me: 1) God would move in the hearts of the kids 2) Safety in all the activities 3) the kids would have a great time, and remember it for the rest of their lives.

Rumor has it that there is no cell reception, or wi-fi, so I may not be able to tweet, update my blog, or even make phone calls… We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Pinecones, Kids Camp & Monster’s Inc.

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control.” 1 Tim 2:17 Basic English Version

I had in mind something else that I wanted to write about today, but decided a moment ago to change course… You’ll get to read the other post, just not today. 

At this exact moment, a friend of mine (the children’s pastor who mentors me, and trained me to be the pastor I am today) is at kids camp, along with several of my friends, the kids I used to minister to, and my brother.  The fact that this is happening brought to my memory the first time I volunteered to do kids camp.  The theme was based on Pixar’s Monsters Inc. and we used the time to talk about fear.  It was a great camp, and we saw God move in the lives of the kids and staff in a powerful way.

The last night of camp, in place of  a traditional altar call, we took the kids outside to the camp fire.  At the campfires, we had a box of pinecones and told the kids that they could, if they wanted, name their fear and throw it in the fire as an act of destroying the fear.  I had expected to hear things like, “I’m afraid of the dark,” or “I’m afraid of spiders.”  What I saw though blew my mind and brought me to tears.  It put a passion inside of me to reach out to kids and help them to serve God in a powerful way.  I heard the kids surrender fears like, “I’m afraid of my parents getting a divorce,” and “I’m afraid that when my brother goes to school, he wont be a Christian any more,” and “I’m afraid that my dad wont be in heaven.”

Wow!  What deep and real fears the kids were facing all those years ago.  I bring this up because I want to something bold and brave… I want to ask you what your fear is, and I want you to post it.  Then I want to pray for you, and ask other readers to pray for you as well.  This is bold for me because I don’t usually generate a lot of comments on this blog, but I want real interaction from my readers.

I’ll go first, despite saying this as I threw my pine cone in the fire years ago, I am still afraid of failure.