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Those 4th, 5th & 6th Graders

June 22, 2013

Camp Rocks.

That’s both the name and the assessment of my past several days.

Camp Rocks is a one of a catalog of church camp options The United Methodist Church offers in our area.

This one is for people in grades 4-6, it happens at Little Grassy Lake south of Carbondale, IL, and it’s wonderful.  The Site Staff who host the week are competent and caring.  The Counselors who volunteer stay focused on the campers in their groups.  My closest clergy colleague friend, Rev. John Vidakovich, brilliantly preached messages that brought the Bible to life within a context that the campers easily understood.  It was my joy to help with worship.

But the best part of Camp Rocks wan’t any of that.

I learned a lot at mealtimes from the campers who let me sit with them.

I heard about their lives, their families, their home churches, their pastors, their Sunday School teachers, and “what I’m going to do when I get to double digits,” which of course means “when I turn 10.”

Those 4th, 5th and 6th Graders aren’t just The Future of The Church; they are the church right now.   If we’re paying attention, we can learn and grow with them.  If we take the Gospel seriously, we’re taking them seriously.

St. Paul writes a reminder to them and us: Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Instead, set an example for the believers.  (1st Timothy 4:12, CEB)  Those 4th, 5th and 6th Graders need adults to not be dismissive, and we can learn from their examples of interest and enthusiasm for each moment of life.

Yeah…you guessed it…Camp Rocks was great.

Or as a single-digit guy told me at our noisy breakfast table, “Camp Rocks rocks!”

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