Camp leads to a life-time of learning!

Everyone at one point or another has an experience where you are not comfortable, the surroundings are unfamiliar, the people surrounding you are not the friends and family you are usually with and you are left wondering… now what? For many children, teens and families, that is exactly the feelings when they go to a camp for the first time… I am here and now what? Almost always you can look back at those experiences and recount numerous lessons learned.

Camp is guaranteed to provide experiences where everyday life lessons will be reflected on for a lifetime. Many lessons are experienced and ingrained in the minds of the camper while at camp but often times, years later, the ideas, experiences and memories provide valuable lessons for living a completed life. Particularly in a faith focused camp, the lasting spiritual and emotional impact can be a real defining moment in the life of a young person.

If you are considering sending your child to camp or as a family you are considering a family camp experience, here are a few lessons you can’t put a price tag on:

  • Faith-Defining Moments – Camps who share God’s Word publicly and provide opportunities for small group and individual study will teach the camper the importance of daily quiet-time with God and corporate worship with intentional focus on eternal impact.
  • Fun – Too often than not, life can be taken too seriously. Camp is fun and reminds the camper daily that life can be fun when done in a God honoring way! Good fun and laughter will do anyone good!
  • Mentorship – Every person is a composite of the people who have influenced them. Camp is a great place for positive and encouraging influence in a spiritual manner and environment.
  • Trust – In a world eroded of trust, camp experiences such as on a ropes course, team challenge and many other opportunities will produce trust in one another and in friendships and leadership.
  • Leadership – Learning to lead a group in cabin activities, outdoor activities and many other types of activities, campers learn the responsibility of leading others and self.
  • Courage – Camp will always stretch you. The first night away from family or trying something new, the camper will learn to be courageous to try new things.
  • Friendships – Surrounded by cabin mates and staff, the camper will learn to build new friendships in a safe environment focused on faith.
  • Relaxation – In a culture where business is considered success, camp teaches the importance of getting away for a time of relaxation and quietness.
  • Self-awareness – The experience of camp can be stretching and rewarding and often times, the camper will be made aware of strengths and weaknesses and how God has built them. What is great about camp is that the staff and program is designed to help them work through all of this and equip them for the future!
  • Acceptance – Everyone wants to be accepted and loved. Camp focused on faith will exhibit the love of God and campers will learn the power of God’s love in their life and how they can love others.
  • Teamwork – Group activities, sport events and cabin events supply plenty of opportunities to work as a team and understand there is no “I” in team.

Camp provides the camper with opportunities that often are only found and experienced in a camp atmosphere. Climbing a climbing tower, boating for the first time, spending quality time with another person for the purpose of mentoring, exploring in the great outdoors, spending time in God’s Word and many more experiences will all teach lessons far greater than meets the eye. These experiences will provide lessons the camper will reflect on for decades to come. Camp is an incubator for growth, spiritual maturity, self-development and commitment. Camp provides an incredible environment and intentional spiritual focus in a short period of time for a life-long, life-changing experience that no one should ever miss out on.

What lessons have you taken with you in life from camp?

 

One Servant’s Example

A few weeks ago I was able to participate in an event (Northeast Church Leadership Conference) where the vision and planning was by two men and in particular one man who many of you know – Paul Bubar. Paul is 82 years old and I consider to be one of my hero’s and a man who has more energy then most 20 years old… He rallied staff, volunteers, Pastor’s and just about anyone he came into contact with to help with the event. However something really stood out to me as I reflect on that time in Albany, NY.
All of the work that Paul did was not about Paul, not the organization he serves (Word of Life) or the speakers. It was about meeting the needs of the people he was serving. From the start of the planning until the drive home Paul was consumed with meeting the needs and serving the attendees who came to the event.
What an example to so many, including me! Paul’s example reminded me of the following:
  • Make much of Jesus, not yourself! – point people to Jesus, He is the only one who can meet needs.
  • Much much about others, not yourself – serve others!
  • Meet the needs of people – take your eyes of yourself and see the needs of others!
  • Listen to others – so you can hear their needs.
  • Build Others Up – celebrate the work of God in others.
  • Tenaciousness – don’t give up and work hard.
  • Serve – simply seek to serve others, and serve continually.
How are you serving to make less of you and more of Jesus and others?

That was fun – The Fox and Friends – Summer Camp Journey

Lights, camera, action… or maybe it is more like… don’t sleep, set up in the rain, move the trailer a couple of times for security reasons and from there it was a watch and see what happens! It was a really cool experience to be on the Fox and Friends show! The entire team there is awesome, the hosts were awesome and Gregg Hunter with the Christian Camp and Conference Association did a great job painting a picture of the Power of Camp!
Seeing the other camps represented, River Valley RanchCharacter Camp and Lake Ann Camp and how everyone worked together is so cool! At a CCCA event I heard fellow camp director Ron Mackey say “Even if all of our camps were full everyday there would still be many kids and families to reach” I think of that statement often as I consider the camping ministry and the fact that we are here to serve one another, so being able to represent the greater camping family was exciting.
As I reflect on the day…
  • It was great to see kids having fun and our students doing what they do best – building friendships and talking to them about spiritual matters. They did awesome today – I am proud of each of you!
  • It was great to see the hosts get involved –  I don’t know how they do it… live TV is wild and everything is a moving piece!
  • It was great to see Tommy and Carrie Sewall be able to do the segment together and our Florida Camp Karate Elective get featured! I had no idea I would be talking karate today – the original plan was for outdoor programming:) Like I said- it changes quickly.
  • It was cool to have a dedicated landing microsite for this event – check it out and join the fun: www.experienceWOL.org
Today though for me was another huge reminder… as we did those segments today and over 2 million watched and thousands walked past us… our work is not done! We need to with be committed to the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ and Youth and Family Camps is a great tool for sharing that news!
Here are a few highlights from today for me:
Tommy Sewall and I with Elisabeth Hasselbeck – Host
Roger and Elisabeth - Blog
Tommy Sewall and I with Greg Hunter – CEO of CCCA
Roger and Tommy - Blog
Climbing Wall with Experiencewol.org 
Tower - Blog
Video Segments on Fox and Friends – this are on their site:

Fox and Friends to feature camps!

Okay by now you have seen me post on social media or someone else post concerning the opportunity for Word of Life to participate with the Christian Camping and Conference Association on a segment for Fox News Channel’s show Fox and Friends Morning Show. The segment is all about the Power of Camp in the lives of a child, teenager and families. As you can imagine we are excited to be a part of this and I want to personally think Gregg and Penny Hunter of CCCA for their hard work on this.

FoxandFriends
We will be on throughout the show, but slots are planned for 7:30am and 8:30am – check your local provider for station locations.
I have no idea what to expect tomorrow – but this I do expect, God will use this someway for his Glory! I believe in camp! I believe in the Power of God to change lives and that is why we do camp! Yes, Word of Life does much more… like serving local churches with our Local Church Ministries Team, our Bible Institute for college students and International Ministries serving in 70+ locations around the world,  but this post is about our Youth and Family Camps. 
If you have never seen the smiles on a child or families while participating in camp or the joy of seeing someone trying something new for the first time at camp or more importantly someone understanding the great news of Jesus Christ for the first time at camp – then you are missing out! It is powerful!
I love camp because you see the walls of fear, loneliness, wanting to be accepted, doubt, confusion and insecurities being torn down through the activities offered, a counselor, or staff member building a friendship and powerful meeting settings where the Word of God is shared!
  • Yes – camp is fun
  • Yes –  there are great activities
  • Yes –  counselors are awesome
  • Yes  – Meetings are high energy and the music is incredible
  • Yes – We still believe in camp for the whole family
  • Yes – I am excited about tomorrows show and nervous all at the same time
  • Yes  – I have no idea what to expect
but the biggest YES of celebration to me…
Camp is an incredible tool that God uses to open the hearts and minds of children, teens and families to the great news of Jesus! 
I look forward to sharing tomorrow with you this cool journey!

It’s okay not to be okay….

“It’s okay not to be okay…” I heard this statement for the first time at Grace Community Church in Washingtonville, NY about 2 years ago. The Pastor of the church Jarrod Jones (challenge you to listen how he does this here and the rest of the message) is a good friend now and I remember thinking at that moment, that is easy to say but do they demonstrate it? I guess you could say I doubted it… but after sometime with them and seeing how missional they are, well let’s just say I am now longer a doubter. The key to that statement is the follow up… “It’s not okay to be okay, but we don’t want you to stay there and we love you enough to tell you the Truth”

Jarrod Jones

However, after listening online to Jarrod a few times, being there a few times… one day the Holy Spirit of God worked on me and the thought occurred… do I believe it? Do I personally love people enough to say they are “okay to not be okay” as a friend of mine, or co-worker, someone in my community or church? I am embarrassed to admit that I discovered this was not true of me all the time… but I know I don’t want to stay there:)

Maybe you are reading this and you have the same problem. I often find myself judging people that don’t think the same way, act the same way, or say what I say, or believe what I believe and I have built up a wall of some sort to say, “well, actually you are not okay to not be okay” if you I know you. This is a dangerous place to be!

Can I encourage with this?

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love… Ephesians 4:1-2

When I live with humility, gentleness, patience and catch the last statement – bearing with each other in LOVE! I truly can understand and practice the statement “it’s okay not to be okay”.

Love will determine how I view others, how I treat others, encourage others and will determine my love for Jesus as I love the way He wants me to…

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

I must be okay with myself and others not being okay – understanding the deep love Jesus has for me who is not “okay” will allow me to love others who are not “okay”!

So, from one not okay guy to whoever might be reading this… We are deeply loved by the one has made us okay – because of what Jesus has done for us!

Defining open communication…

Information is power… you can almost guarantee if you read or listen to any leadership spokesman you will hear them talk about it. I have been in situations where I have been given information freely and information as been withheld. Honestly there are times I find information helpful and there are times I wish I knew nothing. Either way I have responsibility to deal properly with it.
Communication
We all love open communication… what does that mean? To help clarify here are a couple of interesting things to consider.
Definitions of open and communication according to “Google”
  • Open: allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked up”
  • Communication: “the imparting or exchanging of information or news”
Roger’s combined definition of open communication:
  • “Providing all accessible information in a truthful, unbiased, timely fashion to any vested or interested parties”
 
To Share or not to share that is the question?
Share  – If you are in leadership and serving others you must share these type of things often with clarity and conviction.
  • Vision
  • Direction
  • Decisions
  • Useful Information
  • Empowering
  • Encouraging
  • Equipping
Not to Share

Continue reading “Defining open communication…”

I hear voices…

Okay, so I probably got your attention with the title… but in all seriousness in leadership and in life there are so many voices coming at you!

 

No, seriously I have numerous people throughout the day wanting to share their ideas, opinions or criticisms…  Now please if you serve with me understand I love to hear from you! If we network together I love our partnership and I love to hear from you! So who am I talking to…. No one in particular but some thoughts on dealing with the voices we hear or if we have a voice and like to share it.

 

So you like your voice:)

  • Did you pray about what your getting ready to share? Seriously – when I pray about my words it is amazing how many times I don’t say anything or change it up.
  • Do I need to say anything? Sometime the best thing to do is just be silent.
  • Is this about me? Am I focused on my agenda or about God’s Glory and how I can serve and build up the person I am speaking with.

 

You did the above and now you want to speak up…

  • Realize that the person you are getting ready to speak with has probably already heard to their full already – so be sensitive to their time.
  • Realize they are hearing numerous voices and probably numerous times about the subject you are surfacing – so come with facts and solutions, not opinion and problems.
  • Don’t expect immediate reaction or decision – some leaders or people are quick to make decisions others want to pray, process and provide feedback before rendering a decision.

If you hear voices here are a few things I do my best to practice…

  • I always try and remember their are probably two sides of the story or multiple factors to consider.
  • I don’t listen to just one voice but I have a multiple people I trust and work through when deliberating and preparing for a decision.
  • Seek the Lord and ask for wisdom – James 1 tells us to ask for wisdom.
  • When you know what the decision is – do not delay in communicating it… Delay only frustrates.
  • Do not delay hoping it will go away… It won’t so either say you need more time and set an end time or render a decision.
  • Guard against the continual negative voices – I have those in my circles who are brutally honest with me and help deliver reality, but if you are surrounded by continual negative voices… You are in trouble.
  • Guard against the continual positive voice – everything is always perfect, you could be in trouble and they are not delivering reality.
  • Use your voice to Glorify God not you!

 

If you are one who has the ear of someone, use your voice carefully – get out of balance and you could loose that ear. If you are one who hears the voices – be sure to listen carefully and when you use your voice in return use it for God’s Glory and the joy of others.

Yes it is Monday, Yes I love it and today sets the pace!

Monday… for many it is a dreaded day! Especially if you dislike what you do, but you are the only one who can change that. I am writing to the one who enjoys their job but does not enjoy or gets overwhelmed with Mondays. Experience tells me Monday needs to be your day of setting up for success.  I use Monday’s to set the pace for the rest of the week. I have a few written/understood rules about my schedule that I and my assistant keep. Mondays are for setting up the week and Friday is follow-up of the week. With my role I am in meetings continually throughout the week but you can almost guarantee it will take an act of congress (that is getting Abbi to make an exception) to book an appointment/meeting Mondays and Fridays. I made this decision about a year ago and it has changed my productivity tremendously. I remembered Michael Hyatt talking about his ideal work week – while mine does not look like his it did make me think about mine.

Monday

Here is what it looks like for me:

Monday  – Preparing for the week(s) ahead
  • Writing Meeting Agendas – if you have ever been in a meeting with me you know I believe in agendas it keeps us all focused on the goal.
  • Preparing for meetings – taking the time to make sure I understand the topics that will be discussed.
  • Working on Projects – I use Mondays to work on long-term projects
  • Vision Planning –  I find vision and strategic planning on Monday makes my week seem brighter and I get really excited about the future… making the rest of the week bright!
Tuesday – Thursday  – Meetings from 9-3 are the allotted time for scheduling and I use the bumper times in the morning and late afternoon to follow up from meetings and action steps. As I have talked about I use Nozbe to track my tasks. If I have particular projects or reports due I will have my assistant schedule time on this section of the week to be assured I have the time to get it done.
Friday – Follow up from the Week
  • Follow up on Assigned Projects/Tasks
  • Follow up on meeting notes and check in with direct reports for accountability.
  • Work on Projects – continue to work on long-term projects
  • Dreaded(Routine) Tasks – we all have them, I use Friday as my routine task list day… get the things off my plate so I can enjoy my weekend without thinking about the routine tasks I do not enjoy all weekend.
I know each person has a way they like to work, this just happens to work really well for me. If you have a hard time controlling your schedule or getting things done create a system that works for you. Be sure to stay with it for a period of time! Trying a system for a week or two is not enough time to know it works.
What are some of the things you have done to be successful in accomplish your work yet keeping a full calendar.

Just be yourself?

Life in ministry can be really interesting at times… okay most of the time. I often hear people say “just be yourself”! Okay, lets be honest for just a minute(or blog post) I don’t think anyone wants me “just being me”. Yes, they want an authentic, real, down to earth me… but trust me they don’t want the “just me”. The real me is not what God intended for me or for you, that would take a whole other post to write but I know this, it would be a scary description.
just_be_yourself_by_tietzedesign-d3j7kig
I think what people really want in the “just be yourself” is…  someone is real in his relationship with Jesus, who is real in dealing with my weaknesses and recognizing that I need Jesus to fill them in, real when it comes to how I interact with people and love them as Jesus loved them. Not a phony!
Being just yourself by yourself will result in just that, you! – when in reality since I know Jesus the “just be yourself or me” is in Jesus! I am in Him and He is in me!
I love these verses:
Colossians 3: 1-2″ If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
What do I pray daily for? That my life would be all about Jesus and for Jesus. I am confident these verses are true, I can seek after Jesus, set my mind on Jesus and not on this world. The real me is in Jesus and He is in me, I just have to die daily to self and live for the one who gave me life!
Don’t just be yourselff… if you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior be the you who is in Christ and He in you!

 

Encouraging your team! Learning to express thankfulness…

You want to see someone excited about their work and have a smile while working – keep them encouraged! I know we could talk about having a clear plan, priorities, position and pay… but I want to focus on simply being a leader who encourages.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”William Arthur Ward
original_set-of-12-handmade-thank-you-note-cards
 
As a leader, manager, supervisor or anyone who works with people being thankful for them is one thing, expressing it is another! Take time to encourage those you serve with. Everyday I have to work on this personally… I am very grateful for the people I have the privilege to serve with! In fact I serve alongside some of the smartest, most creative and highly productive people you will ever meet but sometimes I get lost in the actionable steps and forget the most important actionable steps are to say “Thank-you” or what I appreciate about the team member.

Continue reading “Encouraging your team! Learning to express thankfulness…”