The most important part of the day
As I’ve been interviewing 2019 summer staff applicants and telling them about a typical day at Camp Highland, I realized something – Amongst all of the fun and exciting things there is to do everyday at camp, I think that TAG is the most important part of the day. No, I’m not talking about the game of tag that everyone played as a child. I’m referring to Time Alone with God, commonly known as TAG at Camp Highland. It’s so vital that we point children towards Jesus! It truly has become the most important part of my day, and I believe it is the most important part of a day at camp too. Allow me to unpack this in more detail.
Are we in danger of creating faith parasites?
TAG might be one of the only physically transferable things from camp to everyday life. As cool as it would be to have the Mammoth (climbing tower) in your own back yard, to never have to look at your watch or phone again because you are still on “camp time”, or to camp out with 10 friends every night, most of these things just don’t physically transfer to every day life. Don’t get me wrong, we believe in the life-change that happens at Camp Highland. We believe all of these aspects of camp serve to point your children towards Jesus. This is reflected in the lessons they learn from their counselors, in the camp culture and in the activities. But we are in a dangerous business if we emphasize these experiences alone. Instead of making disciples, we would be in danger of making faith parasites that feed on the next emotional experience.
Jesus Highs plaguing our culture
This is the idea of someone experiencing Jesus in an awesome way, but then shortly thereafter fading away from that. Plaguing our westernized Christian culture, these Jesus highs often occur at a church retreat or at camp. They typically start with an experience triggering an emotional response. This satisfies for the duration of the retreat or camp. Then, when the child re-enters everyday life, the emotion fades and they again look to old habits to satisfy the need for instant gratification. This is not entirely at the fault of camps or churches, however. It stems from the ever-growing desire for instant gratification that has infiltrated our faith. Experiences play on the emotions of the human heart. While these emotions can be beneficial if they propel us to action, they cannot be the foundation upon which we build our faith. If all we did at Camp Highland was to offer awesome experiences that triggered emotional responses, then we’d be setting our guests up for a faith that is built on these “Jesus Highs”. These are not sustainable and do not stand the test of time. Jesus speaks directly to this in the parable of the sower in
Matthew 13:20-21. “A faith that will stand the test of time is a faith that turns from relying on the fickle feelings of the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9) and instead grounds itself in the never-changing, always present, Word of God.”
One way parents can point their kids towards Jesus
This is why we emphasize the importance of TAG at Camp Highland. By carving out time each day for campers and staff to dig into Scripture, our desire is that they will walk away from camp better equipped to seek Him on their own. This is where you, as the parents come in. You can help point your children towards Jesus. When I began having TAG consistently my faith began to grow. That’s really when I made my faith my own. I have vivid memories of waking up when I was younger, and seeing both of my parents reading God’s Word. They still do this even to this day! They would talk to me about what God was teaching them, and I listened because I knew they were actually taking time to listen to God. My parents met with Jesus every morning, and that inspired me to do the same. Had it not been for their example, I would not be where I am in my faith today.
In reading this, I hope you see that we take the faith journey that your child is on very seriously. We want to equip them with the spiritual tools and practices they need, so they are not dependent on an experience for growing in their faith. We want them to make their faith their own. May this be an encouragement for you to continue seeking the Lord in your own daily walk. If this is new to you, I hope you’re inspired to begin taking these steps for yourself. We get one shot at this thing called life, and your children are looking to you for guidance. How will you help point your children towards Jesus?…
– Written by Caitlin Pease, Camp Highland Staff Recruiter