by Rob Gurganus
Rob serves as a member on the Indian Creek Youth Camp Board of Trustees and directs our Preteen Week each summer. Rob also works as a teacher in Cordova, AL and serves with the Dovertown Church of Christ as a preacher.
Perhaps you’ve seen this: a young Christian responds at a camp devotional and is restored. He/She confesses that they haven’t been the faithful Christian they should have been. They’ve said and done (or left unsaid/undone) things that they are ashamed of and want to apologize to anyone they’ve offended through their words or actions. After the service, a receiving line forms with hugs, well wishes, praise, and all sorts of good advice. The rest of the week they become the example of Christianity.
But then, after camp, they wane off of church attendance a little (regardless of whatever awesome and introspective theme was emphasized their week). Cursing creeps back into their vocabulary. TV shows and friends on social media re-contaminate their thoughts. Attendance decreases to every other service, to once a month, and then to not attending at all. Encouraging words from other brothers and sisters are met with “I know’s” and “Yeah, I need to’s”. Sometimes (depending on the person encouraging), nippy little comebacks shoot out of their mouth. If an older person tries to restore them, it is met with forced respect (sometimes) and later ignored. If a Christian youth who was not in their “in crowd” at camp says something, they become downright rude.
Pretty soon, they ignore the people from camp. If they see them in public, they re-route their paths. Answering services replace phone conversations. Now, the cycle has made its way to the place it started before camp: lost.
Next year, at the next emotional devotional preached (sadly, often by the best looking, most charismatic speaker), they will respond again, if the Lord allows the cycle to continue. At least that’s what has happened the last four years or so. They will call it their “recharge” because it’s the only thing that can recharge them. Gospel meetings can’t do it because the preacher is too old, conservative, or (just fill in the blank). The regular preacher can’t recharge them because he’s too boring. The local congregation can’t do it because they just don’t understand.
If that person is you, then you are lost again. You returned to the fold, but left it again. I must ask this question: if the Lord is to come on one of the 365 (or 6) days of the year, why risk being ready for only about 30 of those days? What we need you to do is this: get your life right again. Go to the next service, go forward (or write a letter and ask it to be read) and re-rededicate your life. THEN when camp comes, do this: YOU be the one who restores people who used to be in the cycle you just got out of! They need you. You’ve been where they are. You DO understand.
Our Verse for the Day: Galatians 6:1
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
[Personal note – I wrote this 6/26/16, Sunday morning before church on a diving board! Our furniture was packed up because we were moving, so I pulled a patio chair up to the diving board with a cup of coffee and let these thoughts fly! – Rob Gurganus]