This past week I had the pleasure of serving on the staff at Camp Rock of Georgia summer camp. We had around 150 kids; we could have had many more but were limited by the number of beds at the 4-H camp where we held the camp. Activities included Bible story, crafts, recreation, swimming, raft building competition, etc. The Wilderness Camp will be open this fall to children and it was also announced that there will be two camps next summer; one for younger children and another for older children. For pictures of camp weekÂ click here. To “follow” Camp Rock of Georgia on Facebook click here.
We dropped the kids off at McDonaldâ€™s at the FSK mall today and the boys and I headed home. It was an intense week of Camp (Centrikid) and we are all very tired. But itâ€™s a â€œgood tired.â€ You know the kind after you have helped the old lady across the street fix her porch and it took you all day, or serving in a soup kitchen and it emotionally drained you, or swimming to save a child from drowning in the ocean and you struggled to keep your own head above the water.Â Not that I have ever done any of those things, but I was just imagining the feeling.
Anyway, the kids are tired and the leaders are tired (especially me) and the staff of Centrikid are tired. They have traveled all over the southeast for thirteen weeks, and this was their final week. They didnâ€™t show it, and they gave all they had for the kids â€“ but even twenty-somethings get tired.
In ministry there are several myths that I have seen smart and hard working people buy into. Letâ€™s look at three real quick:
1) You should always be tired; you can rest when you go to heaven.
These are the people who are up at 4am (without coffee), work constantly all day, are constantly beginning new initiatives, and have to force themselves into bed in the early hours of morning.Â They feel guilty if they take a nap or even a vacation. After all, there are still mountains to climb, souls to save, revolutions to begin, etc. . .
The truth is that if you donâ€™t rest and sleep properly then you will go to meet your Creator sooner as opposed to later. Tiredness directly affects your ability to make the best decisions, your emotional quotient, and your health.Â If you allow your body to rest, then you are able to accomplish more than if you make a series of mistakes that you have to â€œfixâ€ because you made them while you were exhausted.
2)Â You should keep the same pace as the leader across town.
Letâ€™s face it, there are some people who only need four hours of sleep and can stay mentally focused the other twenty hours that they are working. But, thatâ€™s just not me. I am thirty-six and have come to realize that I need eight hours of sleep, and I need mental breaks through out the day. My kids also need me to spend time with them, oh, and my wife really appreciates it when I spend time with her as well.
The guy across town who is keeping a â€œbreak-neckâ€ pace may be on the verge on a mental break-down, his marriage may be falling apart, and his kids may hate him â€“ but man look at what heâ€™s getting accomplished! When we compare ourselves to the guy across town we will never know all the information we need to make a proper comparison.Â Even if he/she has managed to keep it all balanced shouldnâ€™t we celebrate what God is doing with them, instead of trying to show ourselves better than they are?
Wisdom tells us to know ourselves, and to obey Christ in the position and place that He has placed us.Â Itâ€™s ok to slow down, spend time with your family, and still be able to work hard.Â The work you accomplish will be of better quality and you will still have those loved ones around you as you go.
3) You should keep the same pace your whole life.
Ok, I already mentioned that I was thirty-six, so when it was time for the campers to go to bed at 10pm â€“ I made them go to bed at 10pm. I was tired and grew increasingly grumpy as the minutes winded past 10pm. In the years past, I probably would have lead an expedition to the Coke machine, a secret splash in the pool, or just to run around in the open fields, finding my way into a bed way past midnight.
But Iâ€™m not twenty-something anymore. But who cares, I have much more wisdom now, then in my twenties (at least I hope so).Â At each stage of life there are pluses and minuses. Wisdom is knowing what your weaknesses are and leveraging your strengths.Â As you get older itâ€™s ok to slow down and rest â€“ but make sure that you use your rested self in pursuits that are of value.
There was no one on the Centrikid staff over twenty-five (as camp pastor he was the elder).Â But it was their youth that added exuberance and excitement to the camp that the children fed on like the sugar coated â€œNerdsâ€ sold in the camp store.Â But if you looked through the crowd most of the adult leaders who brought the kids were over thirty-five. So there was a good balance of generations using their giftedness and abilities to minister to children. One was not better than the other; both played a very important part.
So Iâ€™m going to try and get some rest before my next big adventure.Â So if you call you may get the machine, and if you facebook it may be a couple of days before I respond. Just know that I may be getting geared up for the next ministry opportunity.