As I mentioned, my wife and I were recently volunteer helpers at JH Aotearoa Adult and Child (teenager to young adult) Adventure camp. Although the focus of the camp is on the guests, even the volunteers get a blessing from God with personal revelation or encouragement or breakthrough in their lives. Three such areas that spoke to me were the success of small groups, the importance of abiding, and loving God above your spouse (wife).
I know I referred to the concept of small groups last year after my first time at JH Aotearoa but it is this stand out truth, about how small groups work to build up individuals, which impacted me the most. At JH Aotearoa the terminology used is Huddle Groups. Everyone is assigned a Huddle Group. There are Dad’s Huddle Groups. Mum’s Huddle Groups. Youth Male Huddle Groups. Youth Female Huddle Groups. Most groups include about five people. In PK we would call this a Closed Group. At PK we have promoted this concept for years as we know it is a formula that will enable individuals to feel safe and confident to share their life journey, to mentor and be mentored as they walk with God.
At JH Aotearoa I was a Dad’s Huddle Group leader and again I was amazed to see how quickly five men from all over NZ quickly bonded. They began to share their life journey in faith and their journey with their teenage daughter whom they brought to camp. After the first night’s one hour encounter, they were connected. After six days they were a tight unit praying for one another and their daughters.
This highlighted to me again about the importance of Christian men doing life together in a small group. It is no coincidence that such concepts are used by other outreaches both Christian and secular; it is because they work. While someone may not be organising you into a men’s group, be bold and initiate discussions with other men about a weekly gathering. You can also talk to your Pastor. If you are not connected to a church, we would strongly encourage such a connection. Find a Bible believing church near you. If going to church is a challenge because of distance or other reasons, we can help guide you into connection with other men even if it is online. I’ve been in an online group for five years and it has been a great source of friendship and spiritual encouragement.
The second point that stood out to me was abiding. This is a strong message at JH Aotearoa to keep guests focused on living for God and to grow as a believer. The idea is simple: 1. Take time to read your Bible. 2. Use a daily devotional Bible Study to help keep you focused. [By the way, are you registered for PK’s WiseChoices daily Bible devotion email? Find out more info here.] 3. Wait and meditate on what you have read and expect revelation. 4. Pray what’s on your heart – talk to God. Wait and listen. 5. Get connected with other Christians so that you can be encouraged and taught.
The third aspect that I had not reflected on before was the importance of knowingly LOVING God above your spouse. At JH Aotearoa the young adults attending are encouraged to seek after a spouse that loves God more than them. This ensures that the fullness of ONENESS that God desires for His children in marriage can be achieved. It protects the marriage as having God in the centre of your life will protect you both. It is also a protection against idolatry.
Ah the benefits of a Summer Christian Camp experience. Never done one? Make it a goal for next summer.
For information about the JH Aotearoa Adventure visit www.jh.org.nz