When someone pulls onto the property of Crossings, each step of the process is carefully calculated. We are striving to communicate gospel intentionality, a desire to build meaningful relationships, a deep sense of hospitality and an exciting environment with an energetic staff committed to their walk with Christ.
We’re often doing this with bizarre means — like waving foam noodles in the air and initiating games of Gaga Ball or facepainting while sharing an Ale-8 slush. But, in principle, I’ve found this isn’t too far removed from the reality of our own lives, and I’ve learned a lot about my needs in personal evangelism from arrival day at camp.
Show your faith from the start
When a group makes that initial turn into our camp, the campers are greeted by one of our staff members who will pray with them. We want their first interaction with us to be Christ-focused. It communicates something important about what we do and it lets them know this is paramount.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve cultivated a friendship and waited too long to introduce your faith. It seems the more time progresses, the more challenging it becomes. Lay it out there from the beginning! Let them know you go to church, ask how you can pray for them, bring out your Bible — anything to let them know you’re a believer. You’ll find it much easier to speak about things of the Lord as time progresses.
Organize your life to show you care
After a brief prayer, groups make their way into camp. The campers are subsequently greeted by a hoard of our staff, wielding pool noodles and waving them in sync to mime something like a marshmallow roast or spelling “WELCOME” by contorting the foam in this way or that. But there is so much more happening than just a silly show. Through their actions these staffers are communicating, “we care for you,” “you can expect to have fun,” “we enjoy each other,” “we’ve planned for this moment.”
When we talk to unbelievers, they are often trying to discover if we have anything in our lives worth exporting to theirs.
Consider how our staff moves in sync to welcome guests — does your family move in sync in the rhythms of life? Could they perceive you enjoying the people you fellowship with at church each week? Do you plan your life to interact with them in meaningful ways? Do you hear the things they love and remember to ask about it?
Don’t stop short of the gospel
All of our intentionality at camp is oriented toward one major goal — the gospel will be unavoidable. We share the gospel at the zip tower, from the stage, in small groups, in booklets (TAWGs for the Crossings-initiated) and anywhere else we can work it in!
It would be foolish of us to think someone could be saved by seeing we have a well-run camp. I fear this is a temptation many of us fall prey to as believers. We convince ourselves someone would be moved toward the gospel just by observing a life well-lived. Let’s use our lives to illustrate the impact of the gospel — then share it boldly, plainly and completely!
Get out there
Thousands won’t be hearing the gospel on our properties this summer. But that is not a reason to despair, that is a reason to get up, get out and share the life-giving hope of the gospel to a world in need!
Seth York is associate property director of Cedarmore.