The first few months of a new year bring many-a-youth-group up to the mountains for a winter camp where the slopes and snow may help produce a mountain top high for campers and in turn speakers may give an invitation for students to trust in Jesus without having ever presented the gospel.
I was at a retreat last year in which the speaker gave an emotional talk about overcoming obstacles in his life. At the end of the talk he asked if others like him, wanted to commit or recommit their lives to Jesus. Many came forward. He never once mentioned the life, death or resurrection of Jesus. No mention of sin, no talk of redemption through the cross and nothing said about faith by grace alone.
Let me invite you back to yesteryear…
Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I’m on
Jesus take the wheel
I realize the song is from 2006, but I fear that the lyrics of Carrie Underwood’s Jesus Take The Wheel has at times become the way the gospel has been presented from pulpits at churches, retreats and camps.
Speaker Be Warned:
You should never ask for a hand to be raised if you haven’t presented Jesus was raised from the grave!
In his letters to Timothy, the Apostle Paul continually reminds his young disciple to teach others sound doctrine so that they may present the truth about Jesus as well. Both letters warn that there will be a time (and is) where people will start to preach only what the listeners want to hear.
Present The Truth:
Whether it’s the G.O.S.P.E.L. acrostic, the Romans Road or something similar, as spiritual shepherds let’s make sure the true gospel of grace alone by faith alone is being heard! And as a youth pastor, a lay-leader, a parent or a friend, it is always good to follow up with those whom we know have been given the opportunity to place their trust in Christ!
Pray The Way:
Whether a hand raised, alter call, private prayer or one-on-one conversation, my prayer for winter camp this year is that it is truly the gospel that is responded to. Let’s pray for our speakers, leaders, parents and students who will have the privilege of sharing the gospel in these early months of the year! Because, Carrie is right, we can’t do this on our own!
What have you done or seen done well at a camp or retreat to ensure students hear the essentials of the Gospel?