Holding Hope in Their Hands

What happens when they go home? This question was gnawing at my mind. I was being given the opportunity to minister to mostly underprivileged kids. Before meeting one of them I was troubled by the thought that after hearing the gospel at camp, then what? What good will camp do for them when they return home to the same disadvantages? It put my faith into question. Will God’s gospel message of faith, hope and love work with these kids?

Facing the dilemma, I posed this question to myself and asked God for His answer. “You are going to have a group of kids for a very short period of time. In that time you must prepare them for life’s spiritual journey. What will you give them to survive spiritually on their own when they return home?”

How would you answer the question? Isn’t this the situation that in reality presents itself to us in each week of camp? (Choose your ministry, the same question applies)What will go home with each of your campers when camp is over?

God provided the answer in the form of a gift. A donation was made to give to each camper a brand new Life Application Teen Bible. Each child was given a gift that allowed them to take home hope in their hands. The living Word would be in their possession. Counselors were instructed to mark each Bible with the verse that meant the most to each child. Instructions were given so that campers would know where to go to find hope. My question of faith was answered. At any time after going home these kids could find hope from the living Word of God to give to them freedom from the despair surrounding their lives.

At the end of a week of camp, what are your campers going to take home with them? It is this kind of question we need to be asking in our ministry. I call it outcome oriented thinking. It starts by putting the kingdom of God first and developing a program around God given solutions. This kind of thinking turns ministries around because it sends home the tangible outcomes of life changing ministry.

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About the Ordinary Hiker

A Christian camp director for many years, I enjoy ministry and being outdoors. I refer to God's creative wonder as the testimony of creation, a special place where God brings His word to life. Its where I like to be and where God speaks in His gentle voice in the awe of His creative work.
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