It's that time of year again. Right? Seriously, now may be a good time to start planning for next summer's church camp. I just finished Fred Craddock's new book: Reflections on My Call to Preach: Connecting the Dots. Fred is one of the most influential preaching voices in North America and a member of the denomination in which I belong--Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
I expected the book to be a reflection of his days spent in the pulpit and teaching in seminary. Instead, Fred reflects on his early years and how his experiences as a teenager, particularly at church camp, formed his understanding of being called by God to preach.
At one point, while recalling his camping days, Fred says, "My most significant, and frequent conversation partners...were ministers. Older ministers." Then he says, "Apparently I am reporting on a time before the churches decided to turn their young people over to young ministers, some of them but a few years older than their charges."
To be fair, Fred notes that perhaps such changes were necessary. But I think his points, and experiences, are genuine. All too often we look for younger adults and college youth to help be counselors. But what if next summer we intentionally focused on having older adults present at camp. You could even have several "Camp Chaplains." Maybe we need to be more intentional about briding the gap between generations?
I tend to agree with Fred when referring to these "older" ministers who helped develop his sense of call he says, "They were present, available, nonintrusive, [and] good listeners..." Isn't this what we look for in our camp staff?