We’re quick to give young people advice about what’s good for them, but how often do we consider the same sage advice for ourselves? Even when we know what's best for us, we allow "life" to get in the way of what would ultimately lead to true life.
We have some lessons to learn from our students this summer.
Our SPIN team takes hundreds of middle and high schoolers to Tennessee for Camp Cherokee each July. As a matter of fact, when this article is published, we’ll be up there with our high schoolers playing noodle hockey, making boats out of dollar store supplies, and shouting at the top of our lungs.
Camp is a completely unmissable experience, but while the worship, campfires, and guest speakers make it great, they aren’t what makes Cherokee the best week of a student’s life. What makes camp an indispensable part of a student’s summer? Their tribe.
With no prior knowledge of who they’ll be spending the week with, students anxiously make their bunks and exchange names, brainstorming their tribal chants and preparing for the days to come. Even though this might sound intimidating and out of many people’s comfort zones, don’t be misled: There’s a “magic” that happens when acquaintances - oftentimes total strangers - get the opportunity to bind under one name and spend time together in a place all their own. The same can happen for you; even though you might be too old for Cherokee, there’s a tribe that’s set apart by God to help you grow into who you were meant to become.
Here’s why tribes matter at camp, and why they matter to you:
We fight together toward victory. Even though we don’t always get along, we play on the same team toward the same goal. Whether it’s a win on the Bubble Soccer field at Cherokee or joining together to put a new roof on someone’s house back at home, we stick together until we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Every moment of every day, we’re closer to the finish line - and running united under one flag, we make every moment count for God’s glory.
We hold each other up in our struggles. When someone in our tribe is weak, we’re strong for them. When they’re hurt physically, we fill in for them - and when the cripple is spiritual, we make sure they never feel alone. Divided, we might be easily overtaken - but bound together with the God-given purpose to be for each other what we can’t be for ourselves, we are fully resilient.
We point each other to Jesus. We admit our imperfections, acknowledge how often we mess it up, and push each other to do better tomorrow. We remind each other that we don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love, but we walk in what God says is best for us out of an overflow of gratitude for how good we have it as members of his chosen family.
We’ll hear plenty from our students about the memories they made with a group of people who are likely to stay in their lives for years to come.
So, who’s in your tribe?