Iowa Teen Camp

Sitting in the chapel praying after service tonight. Listening to the sounds. One young junior high student asks me if I am sleeping. I laugh and tell him that I am praying, and that he should be too. There are about 6 students in a group to my right talking about how they need to be more consistent in their schools. Right behind me is a young senior high girl who is a great athlete and she is simply reading her bible.

Many students have left because it is about 30 minutes after the night service. Some are playing 'hacky', others ping-pong, some carpet ball, and even more are lined up to play air hockey. I hear one student ask his friend if he wants to go to the snack shack now. His friend says wait another minute and he would go with him.

There are leaders talking and counseling with students throughout the auditorium and others praying with a small group of students. Another 100 students are at the front praying on their own. Then, something remarkable happens. It will become one of the highlights for me so far this summer.

A young youth pastor has pulled all of his students together at the front to speak with them. There are about 30 junior high and senior high school students. And what he says makes me smile and cry. I smiled because I can remember talks like that when I was doing the same thing he is today. I cried because I missed doing the same thing he is doing today and the one-on-one spiritual formation and mentoring of teenagers.

This is his 10 minute talk to his students:
-I want to apologize to you for my generation that hasn't given you a chance
-I believe in you and what you can do
-Tonight I want to talk with each of you individually about your life. Before you leave the chapel, please sit with me here at the front and I will talk until each of you is done.
-I am asking God to give me a bigger heart for you
-Let's take what God is doing in your life back to our homes, our schools, and our city

The sounds of another night of camp. And I get to do this again for about 5 more weeks.