Last week, 43 youth, 3 staff members, 1 youth intern, 4 chaperones, and 3 worship leaders went to Youth Summer Camp in Gatlinburg, TN for 5 days. Summarizing one of the best weeks we’ve ever experienced into a blog article is honestly more difficult than I could have imagined. Last week, our kids showed up, our adults showed up, and more importantly God showed up in BIG ways!
We had a blast soaring through the trees at Zip Gatlinburg, dodging the rain at Dollywood, and breaking out of our comfort zone rafting down the Pigeon River. These adventures helped break down walls inside us and between us. We were able to freely explore the beautiful Smoky Mountains with our best church friends and try things we never would have expected ourselves to do.
This year we mixed it up and had our rising Seniors and graduates lead small groups of mixed ages and genders. At first, we weren’t sure how we would do without being with “our friends in our grades,” but by the end of the week there was no more “us” and “them,” there was just “US” as of the Holy Spirit made us a unified group. Words can’t explain how proud we all are of our upperclassmen for stepping up to lead and our younger and in-between students for taking the chance to fully experience what God can do in a group setting.
These small group teams also participated in friendly competition with a Field Day Olympics, Team Trivia, The Newly Friend Game, Volleyball, and more! All of the teams stepped up to the challenge and their teamwork and enthusiasm lead to a hilarious and fun week! Team Green brought home the trophy, but Pink, Orange, and Blue put up a good fight. I know they can’t wait for their shots at the prize next year!
Finally, in worship, we learned what it really meant to give Glory to God instead of ourselves, how to be and find true friends, and the importance of being in awe of the mercy and grace God continually gives. Like I said at the beginning, God showed up in BIG ways to change our hearts. We refocused on the plans God has for us as individuals and as a youth group. We sacrificed personal gain to glorify God, and we opened ourselves up to new friends and new ways to be JCBC Youth.
I am still in awe of how amazing our youth are and what a great time we had! I know that whoever we hire next will be the luckiest youth pastor in the world to be with these amazing students and have the loving church family of JCBC around them. Until then, we know that we are in God’s hands and God’s plans and purposes do not fail.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to lead at JCBC, in all different ways and areas! I can’t wait to see what happens next at JCBC and in the JCBC Youth Group!
Johns Creek Baptist Church