There is a noticeable trend throughout the life of Jesus when it comes to mountains. Whenever he goes up one, something very significant happens. Something that changed his life and ours. Here are a just a few:
Matthew 4 - Testing by Satan.
Satan takes Jesus up a mountain to tempt Him. Jesus withstands the temptation and confirms his allegiance to God.
Matthew 5 - Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus saw the crowds and went up a mountain to teach. Arguably the most influential Sermon in history.
Matthew 17 - Transfiguration.
Peter, James and John go up a mountain with Jesus where he is transfigured to have a face shining like the Sun. Experiencing God's affirmation on his life.
Matthew 27 - Crucifixion.
Jesus goes up Calvary to be crucified for all mankind. He pays the cosmic debt that only he could pay and becomes the Saviour of the world.
While there are still mountains today, most of us don't experience them like Jesus did. That's because, in our culture, Camps are the New Mountains. Camps have become the places where God seems to do significant and life changing work in our lives. While Jesus calls us to follow Him daily as he transforms us, camps create an intentional and conducive environment for the Spirit of God to really move within people.
I believe God loves it when leaders take a group of people go away with the united purpose of experiencing God's love and grace in a way that will not only transform them individually but also as a community. I continually hear stories of leaders who set aside a week or a weekend for God to move, and He turns up in mighty ways. I have experienced this and I am sure that you have too. Whether it's been 20 years or 2 months since you last went on a camp, a lot of us can recall defining moments in our faith that occurred on Camps.
In 2000, when I was in Grade 9, I went on a youth camp, the whole week the preacher was boring and I actually fell asleep sometimes. On the last night however, God gave me a shove and I realised just how broken I was and how much I needed God’s grace to change my life. In 2008, I was on another youth camp only this time as the preacher, and again I experienced God's grace like never before as he showed me that he was changing lives through me.
I am convinced that camps (as old as the concept is) are very powerful and practical tools for leaders to use as they develop people into passionate Jesus followers who actually want to change the world.
Youth & Young Adults Pastor
Wollongong Church of Christ