Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 07/25/18

Serving Is Caring


STORY: Serve Camp

There’s no age limit on serving the Lord and serving others. Praise Church in Beaumont, Texas discovered a way to disciple the entire Next Gen ministry in one fell swoop. It’s called Serve Camp.

Before Serve Camp existed, each camper had to pay $400-$500 to attend camp with the church, organized by outside groups. Despite fundraisers, this price limited who could attend—so they only had about 65 campers.

Last year they decided to take camp ministry entirely in-house. By Praise Church for Praise Church. They reimagined summer camps to make it more accessible to the church family. They worked hard to get the price point down to $199 and created the Serve Camp model. The older Next Gen students/young adults pay to go to camp to serve. Yes, you read that correctly—they pay the same price as the campers and help lead in many different ways. (Much like paying to go on a missions trip, to help offset the costs.) They rent a Christian camp and take over the whole site, so that kids going into third grade all the way up to age 25 are all doing camp at the same time. Now, instead of taking 65 kids to camp, there are 342 registered to attend camp this summer!

Here’s the breakdown:

  • PK Camp (going into 3rd through 5th grade) – 99 registered.
  • Jhigh Camp (going into 6th through 9th grade) – 156 registered. 
  • Serve Camp (those going into 10th grade through 25 years old) – 87 registered. 

In addition to the campers, there are 31 adult volunteers over the age of 25 taking vacation for the week to help out. This includes 7 church staff members. Serving Jesus often involves giving up something so God’s purposes are done. Kingdom work for Heaven’s sake. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” Matthew 5:10 ESV.

The Next Gen pastor, Jimmy Banks, said, “I really do believe that the Serve Camp vision will be so impactful on their future. It’s a missions trip mixed with summer camp. They are trained for two months prior to the actual week of camp. They take an online Gospel Training Course we created. They have coaches (adults) and cords (three other serve campers from the idea of three strands of cord accountability) to help them with all the expectations that come with their particular area of serving. And then we give them a unique opportunity at a young age to do the work of the ministry at Elementary and Jhigh Summer Camp.”

This is a great way to get their serve on! Let’s see what the Bible says about serving the Lord.

STUDY: Serving God takes Heart and Soul

You must fear the Lord your God and serve him. When you take an oath, you must use only his name. (Deuteronomy 6:13 NLT)

[ A Call to Love and Obedience ] “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. (Deuteronomy 10:12 NLT)

  • Both of the above verses mention fearing the Lord as we serve Him. How does fearing the Lord go hand in hand with serving Him?
  • We are not the audience for whom this verse was originally written, but we can gain wisdom from it. How can we live in a way that pleases God?
  • What does it mean for you to serve God with all your heart and soul? What does that look like this week, in your everyday life?

If you carefully obey the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul, then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil. (Deuteronomy 11:13-14 NLT)

  • How are we to obey God’s commands? How does obeying God influence what you do with your life today?
  • This passage has a twist on “love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.” Look to see what the different wording says.
  • If you carefully obey, if you love God in a personal way (your God) and make Him Lord ... will that affect how you serve Him?
  • What is the difference between loving the Lord with all your heart and soul, and serving Him with all your heart and soul?

Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. (Deuteronomy 13:4 NLT)

  • In previous passages, we covered how fearing God and obeying His commands partner with serving Him. This verse mentions two new aspects to the principle.
  • How will listening to God’s voice help you do the rest of the verse?
  • How will clinging to God help you to do the rest of the verse?

STEPS: What Serving the Lord Looks Like

  1. Care for people. “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.” (1 Peter 5:2 NLT)
  2. Be grateful. “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him.” (1 Timothy 1:12 NLT)
  3. Follow Jesus. “Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” (John 12:26 NLT)

Copyright © 2018 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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