where love is alive 

Hello church family!  As I write this I am now on the back end of the crazy summertime youth schedule.  We are still riding the wave of emotion that we hopped up on at summer camp the first week of July.  It was a good week filled with fun and spiritual growth.  As I suspected, camp was fresh and new again to our students, following a two year break from going to Florida for camp.  As many of you know the last two years we combined Ocoee Outreach and summer camp.  While this was a win for a couple of years, it was only meant to provide a different look to camp, and it did a good job of this.  It was, however, nice to be back at Laguna Beach Christian Retreat Center in Florida.  The students seemed to have a great week and many of them returned home with new commitments of the spiritual nature in their lives.  As with any event, time will tell how effective camp was, but in the short term, I believe students took some real strides forward.  Thank you to all of you that prayed for us, donated money, or entrusted me with your teenager for the week.  It couldn’t happen without all of us working together.

From a professional standpoint, it is clear to me that the students that participated in both the Puerto Rico trip and our summer camp were the ones that grew the most.  Clearly not every parent can afford to send their kids to both; it’s very expensive to do either of these, not to mention both.  But combining a week of Bible Camp along with a week of serving other less fortunate than us in a third world setting, is certainly fertile ground for human beings to grow in their faith and trust in God.  I say this because I believe if our parents will have their teenagers involved in youth ministry as much as possible, they will be put in some wonderful settings to grow in their faith.  It is clearly no guarantee that all will be discipled and lead a life of walking with Christ, but I believe the odds go way up that this will be the case if a student will just be involved in student ministry.  It’s my greatest privilege as a student minister to watch kids grow in their faith, and this summer has been one for the books.

As the summer comes to a close we will begin what I call the “ministry of where the rubber meets the road.”  This is the week in and week out ministry of leading Sunday School classes and teaching topical issues to the students on Wednesday evenings.  Please be in prayer for us during this important time.  These lessons that are taught in the fall and spring may not be mountain top experiences like camp or mission projects, but they lay the foundation that those big events are built on.  We have a tremendous team of volunteers that help lead our teenagers week in and week out.  I am forever grateful to them for their help and covet your prayers for them.

In Him!

Jason

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