#4 They love you with Christ’s love (persistent, intentional, and inviting)
It’s sounds awful and I cringe as my curled fingers type it out: I didn’t believe that I had ever seen Christians truly love each other before.
I wasn’t a Christian at the time; but it still makes me sad that it took nearly 17 years of life before I finally saw a group of Christians interact in a way that appeared genuinely selfless, non-judgmental, unconditional, and gracious.
For at least half of camp, I studied the staff and students carefully, not daring to believe it could be true. Once it became obvious that many of the people were in earnest, I had to ask myself “How do I even do this?”
Love is a beautiful thing to have. Nevertheless, it is a predicament.
Isn’t that a question at the heart of the gospel though? Love has been poured out. It is there, following us into every dark corner; but we cling to a false reality of being unlikable, or a false law of earning acceptance.
EQUIP Boot Camp taught me to embrace the love of Christ, and challenged me to believe that His love can actually be shared in the faces and interactions of His people. It happened in the prayers before every class, every meal, and in the impromptu moments like:
— when a teacher didn’t know how to proceed, and stopped to ask the Lord to give the whole class eyes and ears to understand His Word
— after a new friend shared a struggle, and words just weren’t a good enough response
— breaking the blanket of silence following a worship song in the morning, as we all are wrestling off the night in more ways than one
It happened in the tireless care that staff showed as they intentionally walked through every waking hour with the students, not checking out of the opportunities to encourage and befriend. It happened in the discussions and conversations between students as they treated each other as equals, and friends.
As strange or farfetched as it sounds, sports is another way that camp expresses and engrains love into the schedule. It’s pretty unique. You might be thinking: How on earth is sports at summer camp unique?!
I could answer by explaining that the sports themselves are a little bit off the beaten path, with Gaga ball, ultimate Frisbee, and Prisonball making appearances over the years. But it’s not that at all, it’s the encouragement that happens on the fields.
Divorced from time in the word and other community-building activities, it could be run-of-the-mill “participation medal” type of encouragement. But something about the context of EQUIP Boot Camp changes the way encouragement is received. By the end of camp, even the students who are the most adverse to sports are glad they participated; because they felt the support of people who are backing them up in ways not dependent upon their athletic skills. They got the chance to hear people struggling with the same Scripture, and the same sin nature cheer loudly for them.
Overall what I’m really wanting to convey is: at EQUIP Boot Camp there is an atmosphere of love that is created and cultivated from the truth that we are equals in Christ.
Don’t let fear, money, or anything else keep you (or students you know) from stepping out in faith to fill out the application to attend EQUIP Boot Camp this summer! Remember: applications are DUE February 1st (staff applications too)!
Joy Knight was a 2014 intern, with degrees in English and Music. She of course loves good books and music, is a minor-league foodie and enjoys the outdoors. She started working fulltime on the Transform staff September 2014, where she seeks opportunities to serve the students and users of Precept through writing and other projects.