- Phone: 562-597-2411
- Mailing Address: 2250 Clark Avenue | Long Beach, CA 90815
- Sunday: 9 & 10:45 am
When I think about summer camp or winter camp I automatically get excited. It brings back so many great memories from my childhood. When I say memories, I mean moments that impacted my walk with the Lord forever. But also memories of having a TON of fun. Camp is not only a place for students to have fun with other students their age, but a place for them to grow into passionate disciples of Jesus and take ownership of their relationship with him.
When I was a 7th grader off at camp, I couldn't tell you what the pastor said that night, but I remember a moment that continues to impact me to this day.
As the message finished, the pastor said that anyone who wanted to leave could leave while those who wanted to continue to pray and worship could do so. I chose to stay and continue in prayer and worship and I remember being on my knees with my arms crossed on a chair with my head resting on my arms. I was praying about all sorts of things. I was 12, asking for guidance in life, to be better at baseball, and for God to use me for the Kingdom.
I will never forget what happened next. This tiny piece of bark fell in front of my face on the chair in between my arms and my head resting over them. Now, I am not the type to over-spiritualize a situation, but it was weird. I felt the Spirit of God impressing on my heart saying, “I want to use you but you’re only giving me this much of you.”
You may read this story and think, “Oh, that's just some silly story that happened to a 12-year-old kid at camp.” But I would be lying if I said that moment doesn't continue to impact me to this day.
I ask the Lord all the time for him to use me for His glory and every time I pray that prayer I have an image of a little piece of bark sitting in front of me at camp and wanting to make sure that is not all I am giving Him.
If you are a student reading this, I encourage you to go to camp, either to summer camp or winter camp. Ask your parents; ask your friends; ask your friend’s mom; ask your grandparents; ask everyone. You will not regret going to camp. If you don't know anyone going, I promise that you will leave camp with more friends then you came with.
To the parents, I would encourage you to send your children to camp because they are not only going to have the time of their life but also have the opportunity to grow in relationship with one another. However, even more importantly, camp will impact their relationship with Christ, possibly for eternity.
Lastly, if you don’t fall into either of these categories, you can still play a part in these students going to camp. I would encourage you to pray for them as they are away from home for a week for them to grow in relationship with one another but also in their relationship with Christ.
In fact, join us on Sunday, July 21 at Bethany Church’s Time of Prayer & BBQ as I have the honor of giving an update from junior high summer camp and as we pray for the lasting impact of all of our student ministry camps this summer.
Click on one of the following for more information or to register for camp:
Junior High Camp | July 14-19 @ Thousand Pines Camp, $495
High School Camp | July 28-August 3 @ Hume Lake, $675
Mike Sexton is the pastor over Bethany Church's junior high student ministry. Check out the theherdlb on Instagram.