Let’s Be “Old Guys” (Nate)
Hey CITC Family,
I just wanted to testify about how God worked during a week that our family spent at my old summer camp recently:
During my high school and college years, I worked each summer (7 years) at a camp in Western New York called Camp Hickory Hill. It is the same place that I attended for a number of years as a child, and it is a place that is very dear to my heart. It was at this camp that God gripped my heart as a teenager, and I remember looking at the older guys who worked on staff and thinking, “Wow, these guys really love God… and have so much fun doing it!”. I decided to serve on staff at CHH because I wanted to do the same thing for other boys — demonstrate how men can love God passionately and train up boys to be Godly men.
After graduating college, Jamie and I got married, and my time at CHH came to an end… until… fast forward to a few weeks ago (7 years since I had been to camp)…
During the last week of July, I returned to CHH, with Jamie and the boys, to serve as one of the “Camp Shepherds” for the week. It was such a JOY to take Jamie, Silas, and Brave there! One of my camp contemporaries, Brian, also returned that same week, and we together got to teach, lead worship, and minister to the boys and staff for the week. It was awesome.
One of the great things about summer camp is getting outside of your regular context, and being in a different one (and, let’s be honest, one of natural beauty doesn’t hurt either). It can really be an impactful thing (as it was in my own life), and that is just what I saw during our time at CHH this summer. Several boys made decisions to put their trust in Jesus, others made decisions of re-dedication to God, and there were many great conversations about God and faith. Praise God! It was a joy to be able to share from what God has been speaking to me, and from what we have been learning from our journey together at CITC over the years – I felt so full and that I had much to share and encourage people with.
Lastly, it was a slightly odd experience, in the sense that the camp was so much the same, but so different. I no longer knew everyone. Things have changed. There are many new buildings. There are many different programs. And, most troubling, I was considered “one of the OLD guys” by the current staff of high school and college guys 🙂 I took that as a compliment, and it brought to mind much about the discipleship that has and is going on there – some of the guys who are now leading the camp were just campers or new staff members when I was in my final years there, just as the “old guys” when I was a staffer were leading the camp when I was a young camper. I was struck, yet again, by the beautiful picture of “training the next generation”. Our week at camp reminded me again of our call to disciple and release others into their gifts and passions for God.
So. Let’s be old guys. Let’s continue to disciple the next generation of leaders and world changers.