It's been over a year again.....this blogging business, which I do love, somehow gets put at the bottom of the list of things I want to do. I have no idea why! :)
I am currently sitting in our cottage in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. We've been here for a week in camp meeting. It's been fun but I am exhausted and not sleeping well. We have service coming up soon, but, I've had several blog posts going on in my head this week....so here we go!
I've been in a lot of camp meeting's in my 37 years. And I am thankful. In recent years I've been in a lot of camp meetings as the evangelist/song evangelist. I love that, too!
If I am honest, most of my close relationships in life began at camp. In fact as I type this a sea of faces of people I love dearly is scrolling across my head and heart.
I remember as a kid every summer when my parents would tell us it was time to head to Nazarene Acres (the name of the campground I grew up attending) for camp meeting we would get SO excited as if we were heading to Disney World for the first time. There was just something so special about pulling into the familiar place and seeing faces of people I loved and getting to hang out for a week.
I loved going to services because I loved music and I was always curious to hear the song evangelists. I remember the year I finally got to sing in the great camp meeting choir! I was 9 years old and the song evangelists, Rev Gene Wells came and told me I was old enough to sing in the choir. I was THRILLED. I have to admit, I used to often sneak out of the tabernacle with my friends after the music...not all the time. Just sometimes.
I have memories. Really good ones of camp meeting...
I'm older now with my own family and we've been cris- crossing the country in revivals and camp meetings for 8 years now. It's an adventure to say the least. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I've seen a new culture develop. I discussed this with my husband at length recently as well as two of our fellow evangelists friends. It bothers me somewhat.
Here's why. Camp meeting, to many, has become less about Jesus and more about family reunion.. ...getting together to play games, eat, you name it....Yeah, I said it. If you're offended, you can stop reading and go on, it won't hurt my feelings! But, I'm seeing it everywhere.
There is NOTHING wrong with ANY of those things. But, stop calling it camp meeting. Have a family reunion and call it that.
Recently I was getting something to drink in a dining hall and a group of people I had never seen gave me a very nice compliment which took me by surprise because I had not seen them at all. I make it a habit to read my audience every time I am on a stage or platform. I love to look at people so I was sure I hadn't seen these folks.
I thanked them but asked them if they were in the services because I hadn't seen them. One lady replied, "oh we don't go to the actual services. We play games and watch Netflix together and socialize but we sit outside and can hear you." Seriously!?!?!
Again, nothing wrong with any of that. But, WHY are you coming to camp meeting, which SHOULD be about an encounter with Jesus above anything else?!?! Maybe it's me, but I don't get it.
If we want the next generation to learn to love the things of God and yearn for His presence and want true revival than we need to model that and live that now. We're setting a poor example when we set everything else before Him.
I love people. I love loving on people. I love encouraging people. I love to laugh, eat, hear stories and fellowship. But, I love telling people about Jesus more. That's why I do what I do.
I see people saunter into the tabernacle like it's no big deal for services and it bothers me greatly. I pour my heart and soul into the services and do what I feel God has asked me to do as does my husband and our fellow evangelists' we're working with and to see the apathy or the "hurry it up, we gotta get to the snack shack" mentality is so disturbing. And trust me, we're probably just as hungry or more than you are....
So, I say all of this to say this: If you're going to be part of camp meeting, and I hope you do. Make it about Jesus. Yes, have your fun. Play games. Eat, fellowship, do it. But, remember why you're there. Worship. Seek Him. He has a Word for you. If you've never been to camp meeting, GO!
***this post is not in reference to any specific camp meeting we have been to or ministered in***