Middle school students from Christian Liberty Church and The Garden Church in Baltimore, and First Baptist Church of Capitol Heights, in Maryland, got an opportunity to take a step out of their current environment and enjoy a 3-day camp at Skycroft Conference Center in Middletown, Maryland, on Aug. 18-21.
Sponsored by the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, the students had a blast playing basketball and bazooka ball, swimming, and sitting around a campfire. Church leaders led the kids in singing and praying and taught them about’ God’s plan of redemption. They also focused on academic responsibilities and God’s design for human sexuality.
“Our focus was to go through creation, fall and restoration and what it means to be made in the image of God, what happened in the fall, and restoration where Jesus will everything right,” explained Stephanie Laferriere, who serves with ONE HOPE, a ministry of The Garden Church as a life coach. “Also, we wanted to have them discover what those three things mean personally in their lives right now.”
The teaching was bold — not sugar-coated. Laferriere said, “Montrel (Haygood, assistant pastor of the Garden Church) was discussing the fall and sharing that we are all in need of God’s grace. None are innocent. They’re never too young to die or to think about the reality of hell. He asked them, ‘What is the reality of you hearing gunshots every day?’ All the kids raised their hands.”
Joel Kurz, the lead pastor of The Garden Church, discussed restoration, using the book of Hosea. “Joel showed how God pursues us when we were not pursuable. God has sought us out. The kids can identify that God created the world — we ruined it and that God sent Christ to restore it.”
Reflecting on the creation, each student drew one of the most beautiful things they’ve ever seen. In the discussions, Laferriere said students responded that they learned that God doesn’t make mistakes. They weren’t mistakes; they were part of God’s plan.
Taking what they learned and applying it to their imminent return to school, Laferriere said they focused on issues such as peer pressure, drinking, sexuality and making good choices. They also emphasized mutual respect and discipline.
Christian Liberty Church member and Baltimore City School Teacher Wanda Parks, “One thing I really like is that we got to take kids out of Baltimore City and bring them to a new setting and show them the love of Jesus.”
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Source: Baptist Press