#1: They didn’t tell me what to think or believe. (They taught me how to search out what God says)
No matter what age or stage of life you’re in, let’s admit: parenting is hard. Growing up is hard too. Between all the different roles (parents, teachers, pastors, etc.) who teach students, there can be more than a few crossed wires. Maturing involves thinking and believing for oneself, a responsibility that is far from easy for everyone involved.
One of the many reasons I didn’t want to come to EQUIP Boot Camp that very first time was because I didn’t want to get preached at. Ironically, when things get confusing and it’s hard to find the way out of the labyrinth, we often just want someone to tell us which way is up. Especially when it comes to the Bible.
Some days we sit at church and have no clue what the pastor is saying. Other times, it makes perfect sense and it feels like we’re really “getting it.” At home, we could find ourselves sitting with a Bible completely clueless about where to start, or what to do; so we settle for the shallow, or look for the emotions, all the while wrestling with our own inadequacy feeling like we should know better by now. The hardest part: all of these scenarios can happen within moments of each other (at least they did for me as a high schooler).
EQUIP Boot Camp believes the Bible is God’s Word. Because they believe that, it affects absolutely everything about how camp is run. I don’t remember anyone mentioning what denomination they “belong” to, no one bashed them either. Not once did the teachers or camp staff tell us to believe their opinion, or talk at us instead of with us. Instead, they challenged us to seek God’s answers, and trust that the Bible is enough.
Oh, I cannot tell you how much my heart was surprised by that; but it was exactly what I had been wanting! See, the classrooms during camp have built-in discussion times, and teachers make it a point to have students answer the questions. Sometimes that means rephrasing the question, answering questions with questions, having the whole class look at a particular Scripture then re-asking the question, and many other creative approaches. It’s not uncommon for campers to be frustrated by that practice at some point; but in the end they are always grateful and strengthened from having to wrestle with the Word of God on their own, even while being supported and trained.
As weird as it sounds, one of the most comforting memories I cherish is sitting in my classroom during camp in the silence after a question was asked. I was so grateful for the space, respect, and trust that was given so that I could face that question, considering it in my thoughts, praying and asking God questions too. For the first time, questions didn’t squeeze the breath out of me. I could breathe.
If you (or someone you know) are a student with questions, think about applying for EQUIP Boot Camp. Don’t put it off though because applications are DUE February 1st (staff applications are also due Feb 1)!
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.