Growing up, I always had trouble sitting still in church. I would venture to say many of us – especially boys – had a tough time remaining quiet and stationary for one full hour on Sunday morning. I longed to be outside running around with my friends, yelling and screaming like the wild child I was.
My first summer at camp showed me a completely new type of church: one that valued reverence while simultaneously exemplifying a more relaxed, joyful, and movement-oriented kind of worship.
I felt I could be myself before the Lord in a new way. Church at Rockmont is designed specifically to encourage engagement from young boys. Because it is tailored to the kids, Rockmont Church provides a unique splendor campers might not experience elsewhere: the open air moving through the gym, the dancing, the view of Lake Eden surrounded by the Black Mountains, and the company of a few hundred boys close to them in age, each on their own journey to growing into a man of God.
This past Sunday, I gave the message at Church. I shared a five minute expansion on the gospel, enriched by personal testimony. No matter how much I practiced my sermon, I couldn’t help but feel nervous. I feared the campers would lose focus on my message and let their minds stray. I was also worried that I would stumble over my carefully chosen words and embarrass myself.
To my surprise, I saw nearly every single set of eyes focused on me, listening intently to what I had to say.
In response to the gospel story of the Good Samaritan, I shared my own story about a time when I needed the help of my neighbors, and how I will always remember exactly who showed up for me.
I also created an open dialogue by posing questions to the campers. Several campers gave thoughtful responses to questions I asked. One camper even came up to me after the service to ask more about my story. One of the magical parts of Rockmont is our ability to make young campers feel comfortable approaching both their peers and our staff.
Our campers are confident to take those leaps because they know that – here at Rockmont – they will always be received with open arms and open hearts.
This particular church service proved a strong example of what meaningful fellowship can look like amongst boys and young men.
My prayer for us is that we all attempt to come before the Lord as children: humble, vulnerable, open, and free. I pray that we do not try to be anyone but ourselves, that we resist the temptation to sugarcoat our truth before God, and that we thoughtfully consider what Jesus is trying to teach us.
Marketing Director/Adventure Team Director