In nearly every arena of life, there is a bull’s-eye. A goal. A definition for success. Clarification of a win. They exist in sports. They exist in business. They exist in ministry. They exist at Woodlands. Every week of camp begins with orientation – an all-camp meeting at 5:15 on Monday afternoon where we get the kids amped up for the week and lay out our bulls-eye for them. We want them to know up front what we are all about.
1. To follow Jesus.
First and foremost, it is our desire to see every camper that attends Woodlands leave at the end of the week as a follower of Jesus. They’re not forced or cajoled or manipulated or dragged down an aisle kicking and screaming. They are, however, presented with truth and given an opportunity to respond if they choose.
2. To love God’s Word.
We believe that one of the most important elements needed for an individual to walk humbly with God is to love, understand and apply God’s Word. So we set aside time and provide a plan for our campers to get into the habit of reading God’s Word each day. We set aside time and provide a plan for our campers to get into the habit of memorizing God’s Word each day. Then we send the plan home with them to enable them to continue their new habit through the rest of the year.
3. To live responsibly.
Today’s generations are marked by irresponsible living. “It’s someone else’s fault.” “Let someone else do it.” “Everyone owes me.” That’s certainly not the recipe for success laid out in Scripture. At Woodlands, campers are encouraged to live responsibly. They are expected to play by the rules, to clean up after themselves and to be on time. They make their bed each morning and pick up their stuff. They help clean their cabin and their bathroom. They are given opportunities to exercise responsible living here at camp to help prepare them to live responsibly away from camp.
4. To give generously.
We want our campers to learn the joys of living life with open hands, not closed fists. To learn that God’s desire for them is to hold loosely to earthly things. To learn that they are managers of the resources God has entrusted to them, not owners. So each week, they are given an opportunity to give a portion of their spending money to the Lord. Campers have given to underwrite Bible translation efforts. They have sent 2,000 Bibles to parts of the world that are hostile to God’s Word. They have also funded a missionary expedition to run a camp on a remote island in the South Pacific that currently has little to no gospel witness!
5. To have the most amazing, incredible, UNFORGETTABLE week of their lives!
We want the experience of our campers to be life-changing from the inside out, but we also want them to have FUN! That’s why we have zip lines and water slides and a blob and a jet ski and paintball and a climbing tower and a dome and crazy games and super cool shirts and incredible coffee and… We want this to be the best week of their lives. Because we have learned that if we can create an environment where kids are counting down the days for months in advance, then they are more willing to listen to what our staff and speakers have to tell them about Jesus.
Bull’s-eyes are important. Pray that we will be passionate and effective in hitting ours!