The Ministry is in the Interruptions

Shawn Marler August 6, 2014

One of the most significant parts of our mission is to help campers more clearly see the biblical story. That it is OUR story! For that reason, we book-end our day with a time of devotion. Each Tribal Director begins the day by sharing a story from God’s Word during Morning Watch. And then later at night, the counselor leads a cabin devotion for his small group of guys.

In those nightly devotions, we’re asking two basic questions of our campers: (1) Where do you see yourself in the story? and (2) What’s the good news? Our work is to help the campers enter the story, to picture themselves there when the story happened, and to receive the good news that God has for them.

This evening’s Bible story brought us to Mark 5 where Jesus heals a bleeding woman and raises a young girl from the dead. There are many people to identify with in the story – the woman, the girl, the disciples, a young ruler, a concerned parent, and the many bystanders at the scene. And with a story this detailed, there could be a number of messages to call “good news.” I would venture to point out one message, however, that stands out to me.

That message is that God has time for each and every one of us. For Jesus, nearly all of his ministry happens in the interruptions. He’s teaching, and the young ruler interrupts him, asking Jesus to come heal his daughter. Jesus moves right toward his need. Jesus is on his way to the ruler’s house, and a bleeding woman reaches out and touches him. Again, Jesus stops and moves right toward her need. Finally, he makes it to the rulers house, and the girl has died. But as the Jesus Storybook Bible says, “he reached down into death and gently brought the little girl back to life.” He had time for each person he met that day. He found his ministry in the interruptions.

One of the most inspiring things I get to observe as a camp director is seeing our staff reflect Christ in the way that they make time for the campers. Saying “yes” to the camper that asks them to be their buddy at Free Swim. Moving toward the homesick camper to just listen and then walking alongside him into the next activity. Continually engaging the campers in conversation at the table, meal after meal. And innumerable other small moments, divinely appointed interruptions, that I am not able to witness. That is where the ministry happens!

Tuesday brought so many opportunities to be present with one another in the Rockmont community. Tuesdays are special because they are “all activity” days, meaning that campers stay with their cabins and tribes throughout the day instead going to skills. We’ll return to those on Wednesday. But today is designed to be time to build relationships with those closest to them at camp, their cabin and their tribe.

After Morning Watch and cabin clean-up, the Buckeyes headed down into the Challenge Course while the Birch tribe met on the golf course peninsula for a capture-the-flag style game called Invasion. Hickories and Hemlocks were spread throughout camp in their action-packed tribal activity this morning, and they often ran right past the Sycamores who were strategically pushing toward their tribal activity’s objective. Poplars had a more relaxed pace this morning as they woke up on the mountain, nearing the end of their cabin camp outs.

We refueled at lunch and took a deep breath during rest period. Hickories and Hemlocks then finished preparing their packs and started making their own tracks up the mountain for a camp out. Buckeye and Birch also joined together, swim suits on and towels in hand, and they headed down to Lake Eden for the Waterfront Olympics. Poplars and Sycamores painted up and ran after team flags this afternoon. Free Swim soon followed, allowing campers to choose their own fun, whether on the Waterfront, in the Thunderball Pit, or on the Disc Golf course.

After dinner, the Buckeyes and Birches settled into their lodges for a movie night and camp-in, respectively. Poplar and Sycamore played Behind Enemy Lines, a game of stealth and strategy. Meanwhile, the Hickories and Hemlocks on the mountain were finishing up dinner and getting excited about s’mores before heading to bed. The stars were out tonight in stunning display for those on our mountain.

For all the activity planning, set-up, and facilitation, the good news remains that our most powerful interactions happen when we show up and make time for one another. I saw that happen several times today, both between counselor and camper and often between campers themselves. And I would venture to say that God met us there in those moments, and we were able to more clearly see Him in the grace shown toward one another.



Shawn Marler

2014 Bear Camp Director

Today’s Bible Story…
Story: Jesus Brings New Life
Scripture: Mark 5:21-43
+Where do you see yourself in the story?
+What’s the good news?

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