We, The Church
Summer camp has sadly come to a close. In a week or two, everyone will be back to school, back to sports and music and dance and all of the regularly scheduled activities that come with the school year. The excitement and anticipation of summer is past, and it is now a time of transition-of adjusting to school hours and bus routes, wearing jackets as the weather cools, and spending more and more time indoors.
In this time of transition, it can be easy to let the memories of summer fade or fall behind. However, we wanted to bring some of those memories back to the forefronts of the minds of campers and parents. Specifically, we wanted to remind you of what you learned during your week at Summer Camp, because even though you have long unpacked your camp gear, the lessons and discussions you shared during Bible study at camp are still vitally important to your every day life.
This summer, our Bible study theme was “We, the Church.” We talked, on the first day, about what it means to be the Church. We read Acts 2:42-47 and learned about the Early Church, the very first church community described in the Bible. We learned that the Bible called the members of this community “believers.” We talked about how, in order to be part of God’s Church, we have to believe in Jesus. We examined the different things the believers did (listening to teaching, praying, breaking bread, giving to the poor, praising God) and talked about how we have seen those same things in our church communities back home. We talked about how the Church was really a group of people, not a building.
On the second day, we started to look at the purpose of the Church. Why did God make the Church? We identified worship as a chief purpose. We talked about how worship can be more than just singing songs. Older campers talked about different worship temperaments (Naturalists, Sensates, Traditionalists, Activists, Caregivers, Enthusiasts, Contemplatives, Ascetics, and Intellectuals). We broke down the word worship to “worth-ship” and discovered that when we worship, we express that something has worth or value to us.
On the third day, we learned that a second purpose of the Church was to be a source of support to its members. We read the story of Moses and the Israelites. Specifically, we focused on Exodus 17:8-13, where Moses’s friends help him hold his arms up when he is too weak and tired. We talked about how burdens aren’t always something we can see- they might be feelings like hurt, anger, or sadness. We talked about what it means to support someone else, and what it feels like to have someone come alongside you and help you carry your burden. We saw how important it was for the Church to support its members so that all feel welcomed, included, and safe.
On the fourth day, we learned that a purpose of the Church is to stand up for Christ. We read the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3 and how these three boys stood up for their faith. We identified ways in our own life where we might stand up for our faith. We talked about how comforting it was to have others who would stand up with you.
On the fifth day, we learned that a purpose of the Church is to do justice. We talked about how justice means having a respect for the value of things around us. Doing justice means working to fix the things that are wrong with the world, where people or things are not respected or valued as they should be. We discussed issues of injustice that we would like to see righted. We talked about what message we send the world when we, as the Church, fight to do justice.
Now that everyone is home and school is starting, how can you continue to learn and explore the idea of “We, the Church?” We have some suggestions for things to do together as a family to continue studying and learning together.
We would love to hear about other ways that you have put the “We, the Church” study into action. Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.