Summer camps have a habit of being life changing. Whether it’s simply discovering new friendships or making eternity-altering decisions, the act of getting a kid outside their comfort zone often makes them ready to God to act in their lives.
This year is no different. We had 11 of our youth accept Christ at Falls Creek, and we’ve currently got our 1st and 2nd graders away at Camp Copass. Our 3rd through 5th graders will be headed to Camp Copass in a couple weeks. This is obviously a big month for our Pin Oaks family.
And “family” is the appropriate term for us. As believers, we’re adopted into the family of God. We become children of Yahweh, siblings of Christ, and participators in the perfect, eternal community of the Trinity. Unlike our temporary earthly families (who we love more than life), this “new” family relationship is eternal. Just as our earthly families largely define how we see the world, our eternal family will also – if we are active participants in it.
In the past week, our family has grown, and we need to be active in welcoming our new siblings to God’s family, rejoicing with them, encouraging them, and helping them to see just how amazing their new identity in Christ really is. Here are 5 ways you can do this beginning right now:
- Praise God for His salvation. Salvation comes from God alone. Our kids have asked Him for mercy and forgiveness, for salvation – and He has promised to provide it to all who call on His Name (Rom. 10:13; Joel 2:32).
- Praise God that this is not a “one and done” thing. A common misunderstanding in Evangelicalism is that once you’ve been saved, God is done with you. Whether it was walking an aisle, praying a prayer – however you came to Christ initially – that was just the beginning! Just like a wedding is just the beginning of two people becoming one, conversion is just the beginning of God making a saint. We can rely on God’s promise that He will finish this work in every one of these kids who He has saved. (Phil 1:6)
- Actively welcome these new family members. It’s not enough to just clap at the Sunday announcement or click “like” on the Facebook update for the work God has done at these camps. If you know one of them, give them a hug. Treat them like family, and let them know you’re excited they’re now part of this one.
- Set the Pace. These new believers will be excited about their new relationship to Christ, and they’ll be ready to run after Him. Run alongside them. Set the pace. Mentor them, and encourage them when this initial enthusiasm begins to cool.
- Be Inspired! When God saves someone, when He adopts a child into His family, this should remind us of what He has done for us and in us. He has saved us and is now using both trials and blessings to make us more like Him. As the old hymn goes, we’re “nearer now than when we first believed.” And that reminder of what He has already done should give us a second wind to run harder after Him ourselves.