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Church Corner: Malibu Club is amazing week for teens, leaders
By Mike Iversen
Rainier Hills Young Life
Earlier this month, I had the privilege of being part of a group of 49 local high school students and volunteer leaders who experienced Christ in a new way, some for the first time, at Young Life’s Malibu Club in British Columbia. It was an amazing week for everyone involved. It was amazing for the kids, ranging from the “in crowd” teens to the less popular; it was amazing for the leaders, as we helped lead kids to a place where the gospel was made real to them; and it was amazing for many of the parents who witnessed huge life changes in their kids after the week away.
Young Life Camp is billed as “the best week of your life” for good reason. What could be better than experiencing the overwhelming, scandalous love of the creator amidst a week of waterskiing, wakeboarding, riding a zip line, playing Frisbee golf, singing, dancing and laughing so hard you cry? And then, seamlessly, a gifted speaker telling you of the love of Christ in a language that you not only understand, but in one that you feel as well. I believe that Malibu is a little slice of heaven here on earth.
I believe that the real magic of the Young Life camp experience, however, is the relationships that are deepened while there. Kids are led in meaningful discussions by their leaders, who are local volunteers who give their time to go to camp and do just what the name implies – lead kids. Leaders get kids to push themselves to let go of their fears, hurts and struggles to experience true love. The love kids meet is not a conditional one, but rather a patient, tender and overwhelming one – one that can come only from Christ. Every kid hears that they are deeply, uniquely loved, and then led to think critically about that love. They are then led to respond to that love. It is our goal that kids not only have a great time at camp, but that the experience be a catalyst for a true life-change. I believe that by changing lives, one at a time, that the Holy Spirit will work to heal the brokenness within our community. I pray for and work toward a community where we are known not for our demographics or occupations, not by who we are related to or our history, but rather we be known because we pray, as Jesus prays in John 17, “that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
So join with me in the following prayer, one that was prayed more than 60 years ago by Young Life founder Jim Rayburn. A prayer that will lead us to a changed community, through changed lives: “Dear Lord, give us the teenagers that we may lead them to Thee. Our hearts ache for the millions of young people who remain untouched by the gospel and for the tragically large proportion of those who have dropped by the wayside and find themselves without spiritual guidance. Help us to give them a chance, oh Father, a chance to become aware of thy Son’s beauty and healing power in the might of the Holy Spirit. Oh, Lord Jesus, give us the teenagers, each one at least long enough for a meaningful confrontation with Thee. We are at best unprofitable servants, but thy grace is sufficient. Oh, thou Holy Spirit, give us the teenagers. For we love them and know them to be awfully lonely. Dear Lord, give us the teenagers.”