Something happened this past weekend. Something unexpected, but also something that was incredibly exciting to be a part of.
This past weekend, a group of students came together out at Unite Winter Camp. Like so many other situations with teenagers, there was a group who knew each other well, and a group of newer students who knew very few people, if anyone at all.
When it began, it was clear that some people were unfamiliar with the surroundings, others admitted they were there because their parents made them go, and still others were genuinely there to learn and grow in their faith. But by the end of camp, Sunday night, every member of the group was united in heartfelt goodbyes, nicknames, hugs, and laughing, as in two short days, they had united.
But this doesn’t just happen, not often, and certainly not often with teens. Social insecurities usually hinder this kind of unity happening in this short amount of time. But God moved this weekend, and we all came home better for it.
I think this is precisely what Jesus was encouraging us toward when He was praying for us in John 17:20-26. Jesus, just hours before His arrest, vehemently begs His Father that those who believe in Him will be united in Him, just as He is united in God. Jesus also prays that His church will be united with one another, so that “all of them may be as one”.
But I wonder how you, the reader, handles this verse. It certainly is not limited to teenagers at a weekend winter camp. Here we see the Savior of the world calling out to God that those who believe in Him be unified entirely. And yet, how often is it that we are content to come to church on Sunday, enjoy an uplifting or challenging message, worship for a while, and go home? Maybe we read our Bible and we listen to Christian radio and we love Jesus, but are we uniting with the body of Christ? Are we in fellowship with our church, both inside and outside of the building?
Being part of the body of Christ doesn’t just mean we are united with Him, it means that we are coming together in fellowship, in service, and in so much more with the other members of our church. Too often I hear people say that they “don’t feel connected” with the church, yet they’ve never tried a small group, or gone to any events, or even just stayed and talked with people after service.
If you’re feeling like you haven’t connected with anyone, it’s time to live Jesus’ prayer and make a point to unite with the rest of church, to plug in with what we have for you here.
You never know what a small group, or a coffee conversation, or even two days at a camp will do for you.
I would like to give a resounding thanks to everyone who gave scholarship money for students to go to camp. This camp would not have been the same without every student that went, and your contributions made that happen. Thank you!
Youth Pastor Steve Valdez