Family Camp and Families in the Church
Last weekend was Family Camp here at Camp Wyoming. It was a weekend filled with worship, archery, Ga Ga Ball, swimming, biking, and spending time together around the campfire. We had fun getting to know all of the families who joined us here for this special event as we prepared to say goodbye to the Summer season and get ready for all of the things that Fall brings.
Family camp is not just a special event because of the things we do or the programs we run. Family camp is special because we believe families have an important place in both the Church and the heart of God. God cares about families, and God designed families for a purpose.
Every single one of us is a part of a family. That family looks different to some than others—some families have many kids or no kids, two parents or one parent, some of us are adopted, some of us live with aunts and uncles and grandparents all in the same house. However, no matter how your family looks, you have a specific place in it, a special place. God created families to help us grow and learn, to give us love and support, and to correct us when we need help. It is within the family where the Bible says children are to learn about God and about all of the wonderful things God has done.
When we go to church, we become part of an even larger family. God speaks about each and every one of us as “children of God.” In John 1:12, the Bible says, “But to those who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (NRSV). God takes us into the family of God as adopted sons and daughters. We belong to God, and, just as our family does, God loves us, supports us, corrects us, and helps us to grow. Therefore, when we go to church, we are meeting with people who are all our adopted brothers and sisters within the family of God. It doesn’t matter whether we are old or young, short or tall, happy or sad. We are all part of one family.
The Church, then, is filled with God’s children, and it is through the organization of the Church that we learn even more about Christ and about the Gospel. It is through the Church that we receive the sacraments, that we worship our Father together as one family, and are commissioned to share the message throughout our own neighborhoods, our own cities, and throughout the world that God invites each one of us to be a member of God’s family.
This is why families are important and why families within the Church are important: God created the family to be a picture of how every person throughout the world is welcomed in and loved within God’s family. Sometimes our families don’t paint the best picture, but that is why God is always with us, working to redeem and create a picture that tells the whole world: “God loves you! Come be a part of the family of God!”