Daniel Potter, our youth ministry intern came, into my office on Monday morning after camp with the question, “How am I supposed to answer people when they ask me, ‘how was camp?” It’s the question I wrestle with every year. There is no easy way to describe in few words our week at Passport Youth Camp with Highland’s youth. It’s complicated both for the variety of experiences camp offers but also simply because drawing close to God always leaves you limping a bit afterwards. One cannot plumb the depths of God’s love for the world and all those that live within it without spending time in both light and darkness. A week of camp is both immensely joy-filled and life-giving while also somber and soul-bearing.
Camp holds moments where the Kingdom of God is right here among us now – 6th and 12th graders playing together where age matters not, care extended for those who need extra help out of the generosity and hospitality within, and revelations personal and collective of God’s direction in our lives. Camp holds moments where the Kingdom of God is not yet – where wounds come to light and we do our best to treat the immediate while worrying about the long-term, where relationships fracture and differences divide us, and where apologies and reconciliation are hard work that cannot be fully accomplished within a week’s time.
In that way, Highland’s week of camp was all that it should be. It brought us close to the cross where all seems lost so that we might taste the hope and joy of resurrection. God’s Revolution is at work in the world and among the youth ministry community of Highland. God is calling all of us to risk success and security in order to live out God’s love amongst a world in need. We give thanks for a congregation that provides young people with adults who are willing to walk beside them through it all and to connect them with the God that grants liberation and redemption.
Highland’s youth wrote out their own articulation of their faith on Wednesday night and then shared it with those at camp on Friday morning at “Closing Celebration.” May they be words that guide our youth ministry community as they seek to speak truth and act in love in God’s Revolution.
We believe God is limitless love, compassionate forgiveness, and consistently understanding.
We believe we are important, strong, unique, and inclusive.
We believe that God is calling us to make a better world by spreading love
through the word of God and imitating the actions of Jesus.
Without fail, our week at Passport Youth Camp is one of our most important weeks of ministry at Highland. Our youth love the variety of faith expression shown, the depth of content communicated, the community built at camp, and the fun had in the midst of it all. Our adults love watching youth unfold before our very eyes, connecting with other adults away from the madness of daily life, and finding their own time to listen, reflect, and grow at any age. We loved especially the gift to attend camp alongside fellow KBF congregations like Broadway Baptist, Crescent Hill Baptist, FBC Frankfort, and Calvary Baptist.
What I love most about Passport is that the words shared with our youth through worship, Bible study, Choices, and devotions are not new. They are the words that our congregation has been speaking to them since they were cradled and rocked in the nursery. They hear that God has a deep deep love for this world and all those that live within it. They hear that God calls all people – male or female, young or old, gay or straight, rich or poor –to take part in the transformative work of Love that brings good news to the poor, proclaims release to the captives, and lets the oppressed go free. They hear the gospel full of life and passion.
Highland Baptist gives thanks for Passport whose year-round work makes our youth find their place within the Revolution of Love at work within our world to the glory of God.