Church is becoming such a dirty word. Why can’t we get Millennials in church? What’s wrong with the Church? The top ten reasons young people are leaving the church! We’ve all seen the “click-bait” Facebook posts… but I would like to use this space to offer some clarifying information.
Firstly, kids love worship. Worship is probably one of the things they do best. From choosing the songs and leading prayers, to putting on a skit or leading a short Q&A session – these campers know how to worship. I have noticed, however, that we had to get to about the fifth day of camp before we worshiped in the Shrine or even St. Cecilia’s (Chapel in the woods), excluding all camp worship of course.
You see, every night a different cabin in the camp gets to lead a worship service. The campers gather together during feeling check or other parts of the day to plan out their own worship service. They get to choose the theme, pick a passage, plan out the songs, and then work together to write prayers or put together a homily. I laugh to myself when I think about how much certain people are paid to do this when some of the most meaningful and well thought out worship services I’ve ever been to were facilitated by 10 year-old's. But hear me when I say that these kids can worship.
I also think it’s helpful that they can worship outside of the “normal” settings. If their message involves water, then we’ll worship by the pond or even at the pool. I’ve seen services lead around the campfire or in the dining hall that are about building our community or coming together in Christ. The creativity and authenticity that comes from these children is amazing. I continue to be impressed and motivated by their ideas and excitement to do church differently. Though there are many moments that may seem unpolished, silly, or childish – the intentions are pure – the motives are authentic – and the product is holy.
By Phil Woodson
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.