It’s been a while since I sat down and typed up a blog post. I have been concentrating on expressing myself via video lately because of the fact that the new generation does not like to read. I read a blog post today that made me see the value of writing again. (this is the blog btw Don’t confuse pride with boldness ).
None the less I have a short topic today which is about the church culture of the youth in Trinidad and Tobago around Carnival time. We often get our youths away to camps and try to gas them up with spiritual experiences for them to tackle the world out there. In and of itself, nothing is wrong with that. The young people come out with a fire that seems to be unstoppable. Doing it for 8 straight years now has shown me that this fire can be stopped pretty easily. It sometimes seems like Satan just has to throw some practicality in the mix and the youths go back into sine wave mode, up and down up and down. There is no consistency whatsoever and the rage of passion for God withers away like Arsenal’s hope of a trebble.
Of course I don’t have all the answers, but I have a few suggestions that I have seen work..
Don’t confuse fire for extreme peer pressure
I mean the kids were in camp for 4 days exposed to a particular environment. They are fickle minded and will conform to any thing they are subjected to for a long time. So when you think you have seen such a revolution in a young person’s life, doh get too happy go spiritual lucky. The person could just be doing what everyone else is doing cuz that is what was cool to do at the time, yuh know act spiritual and praise god and stuff. It’s ok to be happy for someone and excited about their growth, the influence is good. We have to keep in mind tho that a Christian is not someone who succombs to peer pressure, but creates it.
Like any drug you always need more doses
A 4 day dose of fun activities, prayer, bible study, beach and sports gives a shot in the arm to the weary. For sure!!! For those that need to benefit from this (aka the spiritually young amongst us) they need it more often than not until maturity is reached. I have heard many a time that ppl go to camps cuz it’s fun. That’s all, fun. Nice bait but we sometimes let the hook slip out their mouth after because there is little or no integration after the camp is over. This is more than follow up, it’s more like tablet doses, they are like those fish that you have to keep throwing bait for and they will keep biting, one day they will be hooked for good. Throwing the hook once a year may not achieve the goal quick enough.
Young people need role models
It’s always nice to know that the same people who you were admiring on camp for their spiritual superman swagger also carry that out in their daily life. If my youth leader tells me on camp that I can go out in the world and be the same way I was for the 4 days…. well it would be nice to see him/her doing it first to boost my severely low confidence. Better yet, if he/she takes me under his wing and actually shows me the ropes on a day to day basis that would be so much cooler. Is not like youths doh want to represent God, they just don’t know how because the inspiration may not be present. A counselor’s job is not over when camp ends, those same dorm experiences can be achieved on facebook, text messages, phone calls and general interaction where the culture of Christendom is portrayed at all times. (it keeps the peer pressure up a bit)
Literally the most important part of the whole fire process is the part that the “mature ones” have to play. Many times you would see a blog like this that would pong the young ones for their fire dying. Who can blame them. They have little or no idea of what they are getting into. Mr. Mature does, but Mr. Mature is lazy and just wants to go on with life and be in the youth group. Mr. Mature does not see that without constant prayer and intercession for the younger ones they become spiritually succeptible and will experience a blown out candle experience in weeks. Yes yes faith without works is dead so we work with them and try to keep the camp spirit alive. The camp spirit is the Holy Spirit, that holy spirit needs tender hearts to work on, those tender hearts come by Mr. Mature’s prayer and intercession for the immature. This makes the moulding process a little more easier when the rest of the world is stacked up against you (Movies, TV, Music, Families, School). Remember at camp, nothing is stacked up, they crack easily cuz there is a kingdom culture going on. When they are not in a kingdom culture spiritual warfare is stronger and requires more dedication.
One simple biblical application of this is the book of Judges where only when there was a judge in place Israel behaved. Once the judge was gone, they did what they wanted until a next one came up. The people had no actual fear of God they just respected teh Judge. Don’t let camp be the Judge.