Club Christ Youth Camp

Last week was an amazing experience for all of us. In my previous post I shared that we were going to be in northern California with the Jr./Sr. High School students who are in the Club Christ program. We were in the mountains at beautiful Jenness Park. The kids were certainly out of their element. We were at a Southern Baptist camp with about 500 other students. Every church present was a southern Baptist church consisting of primarily white, suburban kids from the west coast. In the midst of this environment the kids thrived, and everyone LOVED them.

Though they were not used to being outside of the city, they were able to experience the wonder of Christ’s creation. In Vegas the lights blind our eyes from the stars, but not in Jenness Park. The kids had a blast, and we all grew closely in our relationships with one another. The kids bonded at a new level; they connected with their creator, together. We worked through deeply rooted hurts, confessed sin, and learned about the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As leaders, we were able to share with them a Gospel that they were unfamiliar with. Several of them were set free, and discovered that their abilities were given to them by God, and for His glory.

From top left: Jeremie, Myzavion, Evan, Aaron, Ben, Morgan, Jayde, Raymond, Candace, Chanel, Jackie, Michael, John, Ajee.

Jayde

Me and Jackie

Michale: the newest edition to the Club Christ family!

Raymond

Though these kids were completely out of their element they learned how to connect with God in their own special way. They realized that there are many ways to worship God…Yes, they had a bit of trouble sitting through “worship services”, standing up at the “appropriate time”, and raising their hands at the “appropriate time”. They realized that there is much more to worshiping God than songs and body language. We had such a blast with them, and are pumped about starting up this next school year with them. We praise Christ for what He did in the lives of these ten students last week, and wait anxiously to see how the kingdom is grown as a result…

“Hard Knock Life”

As some of you know Morgan and I serve at a local inner city, after school tutoring program here in Vegas called Club Christ. Candace Rink, who is a part of the I.G. Family here in our neighborhood is on staff with Club Christ. Over the past six months that we have lived here it has been such a blessing to be taken out of our comfort zone, and into an entirely different environment, culture, and context.

Morgan and I have done extensive work with the homeless, worked with students in the suburbs, been overseas, and many other contexts. However, our experiences with Club Christ have been quite amazing. We have learned a lot about the challenges of growing up in the “projects” without a father. Walking outside to caution tape and police officers because there was a drive by shooting is not a rare occurrence. A diet consisting primarily of “Hot Cheetos”, and other packaged, processed foods is the status quo. Drug use, deals, gangs, violence, etc. are a part of these kid’s everyday lives. The struggle for them in school is a completely different monster. Moving onto the next grade is quite an accomplishment, one that may be classified as rare.

Growing up as a middle class white kid in the suburbs & “Bible Belt” has left me blind & ignorant to some incredible realities about life in America. Spending quality time with these kids, and seeing their struggles first hand has changed my outlook on life, and urban/inner city ministry. No longer can I carelessly judge a young, Africa American kid who can’t seem to pay attention during Bible Study because he has a an issue that stems back to his mother’s irresponsibility while he was in the womb. I can’t get upset because the words “please”, and “thank you” do not exist in the vocabulary of these kids because manners have not been modeled for them. I can’t get mad when they don’t make the grades I, and the system expects because they have no influence or help from home.

In the midst of all of this Club Christ provides hope. They provide an amazing staff and passionate volunteers who are willing to help patiently work through these issues with the kids. They offer these kids much more than an afternoon of tutoring, and a snack. To the best of their ability Club Christ seeks to introduce these kids to a Savior whom they may have never encountered otherwise.

Today we joined the Club Christ staff, and the students in the Jr. High & High School program for a week of camp in Jennes Park, California. For a week they will be removed from the distractions of the “ghetto”, and in an environment where their hearts may be softened and vulnerable to the Holy Spirit. Last night we cooked burgers at the condo, and spent some time preparing the students for this week. I shared a quick word about life “back in the real world” after camp, and how our prayer is that they will seek to make Jesus THEIR Lord. We challenged them to figure out who Jesus is TO THEM, and not just what they know of Jesus because of people like us sharing OUR story with them. We warned them not to think that life back home will always look, and feel like life at camp. Our prayer is that Jesus will become more real to them if they already know Him personally, and that those who don’t will make Jesus their Lord as a result of connecting with Him at camp.

We hope that you will join with us in prayer for these students, and us as leaders while we are away. I hope to return home with amazing stories of life transformation to share with you all. Please stay tuned for those stories, as well as more pictures of these beautiful students, who are beautiful gifts from God.

For past Club Christ newsletters Click the links below:

April

May

June