Hey Summer Leaders, we are super excited for you to join us this summer! There are roughly 1,200 other Summer Leaders who will be joining you this summer for an experience like no other. Every year we have a theme that runs throughout SpringHill, through games, skits, activities, and programming. This year’s theme is Spy – so make sure you get all your secret agent, counter informant and CIA gear collected and loaded up. It is going to be fantastic!
Like all good spy stories, being a Summer Leader at SpringHill requires a step of faith to accept the mission at hand. After all, spy stories are only good if the Spy chooses to do the hard or impossible thing. Taking that step of faith is the hard part, and it is not so much the risk in taking the step, it is the unknown after the step that concerns us the most. The unknown of what the summer is going to be like; Will I make new friends? Will I be able to handle working with kids? Will I be able to do my job? Will God show up?
These are all valid questions. But we know from countless Bible stories that when we step out boldly in faith and pursue a relationship with our Father, He honors that commitment and helps us accomplish our mission. From David and Goliath to the entire book of Acts, the theme in each of these missions involves a person (or people) who had intimacy with God. And through that intimacy, God allowed these people perspective and equipped them to handle the situation at hand.
John Eldredge in his book Walking with God calls this intimacy “a conversational intimacy”. In each one of these Bible stories, the followers literally had conversations with God before stepping out.
So how do we get this same intimacy with God?
As mentioned above, all good Spies have access to an arsenal of secret gadgets. Most of the time Spy gadgetry gives the outward appearance of being a nonchalant ordinary object that is modified to perform a more elaborate and powerful function. For instance, a “regular” retractable ink pen turns into a laser that can cut through metal with the touch of a button. Or a “simple” watch launches a micro drone camera to take video surveillance with a twist of the face. These tools seem far-fetched but they come in handy at just the right time and in the correct way.
As Christians, we also have an arsenal of gadgets which seem ordinary and every day, but when used correctly, are powerful enough to save the day. The gadget we need to highlight is our access to intimacy with God through prayer. It is fairly innocuous on the outset, but using prayer has the potential of keeping us consistently connected with God. In this waiting period prior to summer starting, we get to have conversations with God about SpringHill, about our campers, about the ministry sites we will be at, about the people we meet, about each other, or about anything we want. Our excitement, anxiety, wonder, and delight all must be moderated by this gadget of prayer for us to be affective. Deploying this gadget now will better prepare us for the summer and how God will use us for SpringHill’s mission and for the specific mission God has for you.
Preparing for summer in the middle of December may seem like something only nerds and summer camp directors do, but when we are looking to be transformed and connected to our creator, it may take time. The best way to discover your mission is by becoming one with the mind of God. In John 15, Jesus teaches that we are branches and branches are only good at completing their mission, that is producing fruit, if they are connected to the Vine. We have to be so close to the Vine that our systems and thought process are in line with Jesus’. Biologically speaking Jesus is asking us to be in such unison with Him that it is hard to know where Jesus ends and we begin.
So, in this stage of preparing and gearing up for our summer at SpringHill, we have to use the power of prayer. Get used to be being in conversation with God. Talk to him throughout the day, don’t wait until meal times or bed time. When walking to class, or driving to work, or just before hanging out with a friend, be in conversation with God. Be prepared to listen too. And if you need words to speak head over to the Scriptures (a Psalm, Hebrews, etc.) and just talk to God using His own words to draw you closer to Him and to know him more.
What happens when we use the gadget of prayer and have conversational intimacy with God? We understand and get better at doing the thing Paul tells us to do in the third shortest verse in the bible “Pray continually” (1 Thess 5:17). Think about a car ride with a good friend – Of course there can be moments of silence. But when we take trips with friends and the conversation is flowing, it is just that, a flow or a rhythm. When we begin this conversational intimacy with God we have this back and forth rhythm and we begin to know the mind of God. And when we know the mind of God we can ask anything we want and it will be given to us (John 15:7) …Now that is a powerful gadget and one we should be well versed in using if we are going to accomplish our mission.
We'd love to hear how your experience at SpringHill has impacted your life. Whether it was an experience from this past summer or you're reflecting back on years ago we always encourage sharing of how God is working through SpringHill.