Youth Ministry’s Rustic Blessings, Part 2
The Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, has chosen to reveal Himself through general (history, human behavior, conscience, nature) and special (Old and New Testaments; prophets, and Jesus Christ) means of revelation (Seventh-day Adventists Believe). It is heartening to affirm that God has a multitude of ways by which His children may experience His majesty, might, and power.
Furthermore, that Adventist Youth Ministries (AYM) continues to align with all means by which God reveals Himself to His children is phenomenal! During this, our 2019 camp season, we are especially forward about God’s revelation of Himself through nature. Since He is a God of completion, the rustic blessings inherent in nature present quite the package! This diverse blessing package includes:
Experiencing God’s creation up close: There is something about God’s power, gentle touch, and intricate sense of creativity that warms the heart outdoors. There is something about walking on a carpet of grass, basking in the shade of majestic trees, cooling off in refreshing gusts of wind, sitting on a “soft boulder chair,” observing a trail of ants at work, gushing over a picturesque sunset, drinking in the love/emotional touch of a full moon, or being enveloped by a canopy of stars that turns the thoughts heavenward.
Experiencing God with less screen time: There is something about having a bad Internet connection, limited electricity, or not having WiFi and an available telephone network, that turns the eyes to Jesus. There is something special about listening to God’s voice away from the noise, burdens, and distractions of electronics. The Holy Scriptures note that “in returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength”— Isaiah 30:15, KJV.
Experiencing God in the elements: There is something about God’s miracle-working, creative power when in direct contact with sunshine, rain, and wind. They are calculated to bring about improved moods, reduced stress levels, glowing skin tones, and a sense of rejuvenation that is second to none. There is no better spa treatment than nature’s gentle massage via sun, rain, and wind.
Experiencing God in socializing: There is something about camping that fosters cohesive effort and improved communication. Somehow, there is more time to connect with others, build relationships, make new friends, and truly engage in a sense of community. There is a special sense of unity—a we’re in this together mindset—that pervades campgrounds.
For the past two to three months, thousands of Atlantic Union’s members have been intentional about embracing the rustic blessings. Many have walked, camped, and fellowshipped on the union’s amazing campgrounds. We’ve already checked in on local and area Pathfinder camporees, Adventurer camps, Master Guide camps, junior camps, tween camps, teen camps, singles camps, family camps, blind camp, young adult camps, and many camp meeting convocations.
At least for this year, many were essentially embracing the aforementioned camping experiences to practice, plan, and pray for the massive Oshkosh 2019 International Pathfinder Camporee. The Atlantic Union AYM’s contingency (of more than 5,620 Pathfinders, directors, counselors, staff, coordinators, parents, youth directors, and youth ministry supporters) is honored to celebrate the Chosen International Camporee with other Pathfinders, Master Guides, and Adventist youth from around our Lord’s world
We are attending for the rustic blessings, among other innumerable benefits of the camping experience. May we truly witness and embrace God’s revelations of Himself in the outdoors.
David McKenzie is the director for Youth, Young Adult, Pathfinder, and Adventurer ministries in the Atlantic Union Conference
This article first appeared in the August 2019 issue of The Atlantic Union Gleaner magazine, page 20.