Members in Ministry...
We All Have Our Place to Serve

by Al Reimche

The wind blew, the rain fell, the lightning flashed, the thunder rolled … and the sun shone brilliantly through all that as it slipped behind the trees on the western horizon, covering the evening with a surreal sense of wonderment. That evening was the dedication service of the Big Lake Youth Camp staff as they begin their intense summer of ministry to thousands of children and parents.

It started with the directors washing the feet of each of the camp staff at the waterfront, while the two docks echoed each other’s songs. This worship was followed by an agape supper in a beautifully decorated lodge where many of the staff shared how they had personally seen God working in their lives even that week. The Holy Spirit was in that place. It was during this quiet exchange of God’s goodness is when the storm and amazing sunset happened. The staff left their sharing and quietly went out to watch the drama unfold. As they stood arm in arm and singing praises, my heart was filled with a peace and depth of assurance that God’s presence was there.

As I write this, there is a huge focus around the world on the upcoming General Conference Session and on the church business that will be taking place. This session will take place in San Antonio, Texas, a huge city, thousands of miles away from Oregon. I know without a doubt that God’s presence will be very real there as well, and that He will bless the church as it moves into the next quinquennium.

Back to Big Lake Youth Camp—as the sun settled in the western sky and the light faded, the staff again came together in the lodge. It was powerful to hear the staff pray for each other and dedicate each area of camp and the staff that will be involved in that activity or place. It was clear that they have a conviction and commitment that their role in working with each camper and parent is to show Jesus, and to share Him with each person they interact with this summer.

It takes an enormous amount of energy to be on duty and responsible for such a huge endeavor, but these staff are up to the challenge. There is an authenticity and genuineness among them and they are truly frontline Members in Ministry. It was an unforgettable and cherished moment when the staff surrounded my wife and me along with the other conference office staff and prayed for all the leadership in this conference that supports the youth and the work of bringing young people to know and love and serve God.

I was reminded again that wherever we are—up in the mountains or attending meetings in a large city—that God’s Spirit is very real when hearts are open to Him, and He will bless us as we share His love with everyone we meet. We need to follow the example of the Big Lake Youth Camp staff and pray for each other, encourage and affirm each other, and go forth with God’s energy to live His love.

If you are the parent of a camper, if you are a staff member, if you know a child who is going to camp, be assured that God is in that place. Keep each of the staff in your prayers daily so that they can continue to personally know God, and that even among the stress and fatigue that they all experience, they will feel the joy of service. I hope that they will remember the evening of the dedication—that even when life becomes stormy and threatening, the Son will continue to shine through and create beauty out of darkness.

I pray each of us in the Oregon Conference will follow the model I witnessed: pray for each other, encourage each other, and always remember that God’s love is like a sunset that pierces the dark times. Members in Ministry—we all have our place to serve.