If you were to ask most of our high school students what their favorite week of the summer is, a majority would say that it is RYM. (RYM is a summer conference in Panama City Beach, Florida, that is put on by Reformed Youth Ministries.)
This week of camp is so unique; it’s not very often that our students have the opportunity to spend six days solely reflecting and growing in their relationships with Christ and with each other. We had an incredible week and repeatedly saw God’s faithfulness and provision through each situation there.
Wil Nettleton, our speaker and a pastor at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, walked us through Creation, The Fall, Redemption, and Restoration, and how God’s faithfulness was displayed through each of them. Every night, he explained passages of the Bible that we often read and may not give a second thought about in a different light. On the third evening, he taught through Luke 15.11-32, the story of the Prodigal Son, and challenged us to think about ourselves in each son’s shoes - the prodigal son who went crazy and bottomed out, and the older brother who lived self-righteously. Despite their different actions, they both had the same desire to get their inheritance. Wil described it as “We treat God like a cosmic vending machine; I’m doing good things and I’m not getting anything, but others aren’t, and they are fine.” In every session, Wil continuously stated that we do not have to earn our Father’s favor, love, provision, or faithfulness; He freely and willingly gives it in far greater ways than we can imagine. We were reminded that despite our downfalls, our Father will always run to us with open arms.
Each year, the students also have the opportunity to select two elective classes. These classes covered topics from working through Leviticus to suffering, decision-making, and friendships. Each student came out of their classes encouraged while seeing these topics in a new way.
Here are a few quotes from the students about our week of camp:
- “It was a good balance of fun experiences and learning. The electives were great, and the staff members made sure everyone was having a great time.” Melissa Horton
- “RYM was a great time to grow closer to other youth members in a Christian environment. It was so much fun to be able to talk, laugh, and play Gaga ball throughout the day, but then be able to go to chapel and worship and learn more about God’s Word.” Josh Sotelo
- “RYM was one of the best camp experiences I have ever had… It was amazing to be able to put aside all the distractions of day-to-day life and get to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.” Lina McDaniel
Also, a few weeks ago, we had the privilege of hosting our first FORGE camp! The purpose and vision of FORGE is to disciple and invest in the younger men in our church through intergenerational teaching. The boys got to rotate through classes in woodworking, car skills, grilling, and outdoor skills. They learned how to check tire pressure and change a tire, set up a tent, put together a pocketknife or box, and use a grill. In their small-group time, the class leaders shared how they have used their skills to serve others and testify about Christ. The students read 1 Corinthians 12.12-27 and discussed the importance of having different gifts and how they can use them to glorify God.
I was immensely encouraged by the number of volunteers who eagerly gave their Saturday and spent time preparing for the classes to pour into these younger men of our church. We had six high school boy leaders who took their groups to each class and led small group time, as well as twenty-two adult male volunteers. I am so incredibly thankful for each one of them!
I am grateful for each of these camps and the way CPC supports our Youth. Please join us in praying that the seeds planted from each of these camps would take root in the students’ hearts and bear much fruit.