I can’t believe we are coming up on the camp season so soon! We at the 12-21 Initiative are excited for our second year at Camp Tzadi.
We can’t wait to see old and new campers and the continued growth of camp. As many of you know, summer camp was a very important thing in my life. I went to the Christian summer camp for ten years from the time I was an eight-year-old camper until I became a counselor. My camp friends were my best friends, and I even keep in touch with many of them today. Most importantly, it was also the place where my faith became my own—no longer just my parents’. At Camp Tzadi we desire, with God’s help, to create the same kind of experience for the next generation of Messianic believers.
Most individuals my age grew up in a Christian church and participated in many Christian events that were designed to help strengthen the walk of believers in Yeshua. For example, frequently in my church or youth group, we would have “altar calls,” a time in the service when the pastor would call upon all those in attendance who had not yet committed their lives to Jesus to come forward and become disciples. I gave my life to the LORD after such an altar call in a Sunday school class.
While I am not advocating that we start doing altar calls in the Messianic movement, there is something to be said for the powerful effect of publicly dedicating your life to discipleship. For me, it was a defining moment when I made the decision to follow God and not turn back. It stayed with me the rest of my life, even when I strayed. I was always brought back to that moment.
Every disciple needs a defining moment in their lives when we make a commitment to God and ourselves. I want this year at Camp Tzadi to be a defining moment in the lives of the campers. And while we won’t be doing the famous altar call, I do want our campers to contemplate their commitment to discipleship and be strong in their dedication to Messiah’s call. We’ve structured our theme around the call of discipleship and the purpose it gives to our lives.
We want to radically inspire our campers to choose daily dedication to our Master by developing a deep and meaningful relationship with God. This was taught and stressed heavily in the churches I grew up in, and my relationship with Yeshua has carried me through many of the trials and tribulations in my life. Perhaps more importantly, it has always given me the sense that I am never alone.
This year at camp we hope to instill in our youth the exciting and meaningful journey of discipleship. We hope to inspire our campers by giving them a purpose in the call of discipleship and by learning to lean on God as they face the various challenges in life.
Camp is about three months away, and our team cannot wait to meet our new campers and reconnect with our alumni. We can’t wait to see life-long friendships develop and mature but most importantly, we are excited to introduce our campers to the wonderful, inspiring call of discipleship.
The theme for 2018 will be “The Call: Finding Purpose in Discipleship,” and our key verse will be, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).
Can’t wait for summer!