A Love Letter to LSD Camp
Caring about students is in the lifeblood of Fellowship North. It’s not just something we do. It’s a major part of who we are. We have a staff devoted to the specific needs of kids of all ages. We have a whole building devoted to ministering to children right where they are. We have volunteers that give every last ounce of energy to this cause. Our four pastors have each spent a significant part of their life working with students and leading them toward Christ. That kind of focus makes student ministry not just an extension of the church, but a major foundation for this body of believers.
We believe in ushering the next group of students along to be a generation that seeks after God, and we believe it’s worthy of our best efforts. One of the major ways we do this is through camps. And friends, there’s nothing at Fellowship North quite like a camp. We don’t really try to pat ourselves on the back too often, but I can be pretty straightforward here: people at Fellowship North pour their hearts and souls into camps! And if you’re ever around for one, you’ll see what I’m talking about right away.
It’s been a few days since we wrapped up our Middle School Love, Sex, & Dating camp. Students are back in school. Leaders are back to getting more than 4 hours of sleep. The building here has stopped shaking. Life is back to normal. Right? Hmm…I’m not so sure. You see, I believe that through the work of countless leaders, life has changed for a lot of young people all across Central Arkansas.
It’s the greeters at registration on Friday afternoon. Looking parents in the eyes, answering their questions and letting them know their child will be taken care of is an invaluable way to start the weekend. These folks have a heart to see lives changed for the Kingdom. That’s what drives each one of them.
It’s the small group leaders. Younger and older, college students and school teachers, first time volunteers and youth ministry veterans; the one thing that unites them is their passion and purpose. They each deeply desire for every student that walks into that room to grasp God’s great will for their life: to know Him and to make Him known.
It’s the worship leaders. Real people with real hearts draw us into the presence of God to celebrate and confess, rejoice and repent, sit, stand, or spin around. They are following Christ; they urge us to follow them to Christ.
It’s the teachers. Truth seekers themselves, they invest time and energy into asking our students to seek Truth as well. They create space to engage with the Bible. They speak so that ears may hear the Word. They constantly strive for clarity, all so that young people may know the truth – and in turn be set free.
It’s the host homes. Families open up their houses all across North Little Rock and Sherwood and provide students an opportunity to enter into a good Christian home for the first time. It’s a safe place for students to be themselves. It’s a warm breakfast in the morning. It’s home away from home.
It’s the cook crew and the work crew. From making delicious comfort food to creating a clean space; students and adults work together to be the “feet washers” and to love as Christ loved. They give and serve all weekend long.
It’s the camp administrators. Rhonda Bentley, Diane Heffington, and Robin Ramsey put in hours and hours and hours taking forms, filling in spreadsheets, contacting parents and leaders and students. They keep the ship running, full steam ahead. Steady and smooth. So steady and smooth that you could miss the work these women do, but you could never miss their hearts. It’s right there on their sleeves. They care with everything in them.
Last, but not least, it’s the students. 6th, 7th, and 8th graders could be doing anything else with their weekends, but here’s a group that has set apart time to seek after Christ and His hope for their lives. Lives that have now been changed.
Can we quantify that? Can we tell you how many students gave their hearts over to God or made some sort of purity commitment? Nope. Even if we could, I’m not so sure we would! But I can tell you this: there was incredible leadership present at this camp, hearts were ready here at Fellowship North and young lives were changed. God received great glory last weekend, and that will continue to be the case.
This generation of leaders may one day pass away. But there is a group rising up: 6th, 7th, and 8th graders that will one day soon be behind the registration table. They’ll be our small group and worship leaders. Our teachers of the truth and our camp administrators. They’ll open up their homes and cook and clean for camps to come. Because of the love poured into them, they’ll in turn pour that love into others. That’s the legacy left by Fellowship North leaders. That’s what it’s all about.
Bobby Harrison is a pastor at FN, where he works with middle and high school students. He’s married to Amy and together they have 3 kids under 4: Abe and twins Samuel and Simone, and 1 dog: Zeke – all of whom keep the Harrisons quite busy. Bobby blogs here, and sometimes here too.