Pastor Scott Summers
Student & Young Adult Pastor, Shiloh Community Church
I realize this is a couple of weeks overdue, but I wanted to share with all of you some of the exciting highlights from the Shiloh High School Ministry (SHSM) winter camp that took place at the start of this month. Before I do, I want to thank everyone who lifted our group up in prayer, as we made it up and returned home safely without any issues (and we even had some snow!).
To start telling the story of this camp, I actually have to back up about a year and a half. I was just starting out in the high school ministry and I the students said they would like to do a winter camp. I connected with Jorge Lujan, a Young Life leader and learned that the Young Life camp at Lost Canyon was available for a multiple church winter camp that he was organizing. Long story short, we joined several other churches and had an awesome time.
In planning winter camp for this year, I learned that Lost Canyon was unavailable. So I reached out to Enrique Salado at Desert Springs Bible, Joe Groenwald from Genesis Church and Mark Savale from the Rock Teen Center and we met up for lunch. That lunch turned into more planning, and soon enough we had Winter Camp 2019 planned and ready to roll. Pastor Matt Hawkins from Desert Springs was the speaker, our students provided the worship team for the weekend, and the other churches planned the games and activities. Each youth leader was able to utilize strengths from each of our churches to make the weekend a success.
Pastor Matt brought hard-hitting messages which challenged the kids to answer the question, “If not Jesus, then who/what else?” And the follow up to that was, “If you claim to follow Jesus, does your daily life reflect that?” The students really asked deep questions following the messages and our discussion time was excellent. With worship, the team turned a corner in terms of trusting one another, and each song just fell into place. There was an excitement in the room each time we sang and worshipped and it really blessed the campers and the adult leaders.
So what? That’s always the question that I want the kids to answer when they walk away from a sermon, so I can’t leave you without answering that as well. While there are multiple things that happened there that were awesome: the speaker was great, we collaborated with other churches and strengthened relationships, the students turned a corner in leading worship, some of the youth saw snow for the first time and had a blast with that…but the main takeaway from this trip was a renewed sense of commitment (by the students, leaders, and myself) to God’s plan for this semester.
Since we’ve been back there’s been a significant increase in excitement during worship, both in congregational participation and the band (which includes two new students joining the team). There’s a new level of engagement on Wednesday nights as we started diving into “The Real God” curriculum two weeks ago. Students have recognized people from the other churches at their school, giving them a greater sense of community and support in their walk. The leaders who graciously gave their time (Paulla Miller, Caleb Miller, and Macie Palmer) have deepened their connections with the students, facilitating deeper conversations when we all meet. These are the real successes of the trip. This is what we build on going forward in this spring semester.
Again, thank you for your prayers. God definitely answered, and the ripple effects of this trip have the potential to impact SHSM, Shiloh, and God’s kingdom for years to come.