What happens when you take a group of our high school students, put them in a few large vans, add some amazing adult volunteers and go away for a week to CIY Move in Holland, MI? Two words: life change. CIY Move is the summer camp experience we offer our high school students every year. This organization does consistently great ministry. Each year when we ask our graduating seniors to share some of their favorite memories from their years in our student ministry this event constantly comes up as a highlight. So what is it about this week that makes such a lasting impact? What's the secret?
At this event there are nationally recognized speakers, worship bands, and entertainment... but I don't think this is the secret to Move's impact. There are small groups, nightly youth group time, and all kinds of tournaments and even a day at Lake Michigan. I don't believe this is the secret to the spiritual impact either. I think after several years of leading students to week's of camp like this I have finally figured out where the impact comes from. Yes, all the aforementioned aspects of this week help, but I think the real impact is a pretty simple secret really. Ready for it? An expectation for God to move in our lives. I think the week away from all of the distracting and contradicting voices in students' lives and being in a place where God's voice is expected and given time to be heard opens up hearts and minds to the things He has been trying to get our attention with. The things we have been too busy to listen to. The things that we have been too distracted to hear. The things that draw us closer to Him and His purpose for our life. And the kicker is, we can experience this right here in our weekly routine. Right here in Lansing we can live in a way that expects God to show up as we draw near to Him.
James 4:7,8 states it pretty clearly as James addresses the scattered church with these words. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Don't get me wrong, I love the bands and the teaching and all that goes into a week of camp, but at the heart of the impact is the simple secret we can all follow each and every average day, drawing near to God.