Over the last two weeks, I have had the privilege of training over 550 students at two different summer camps. I am used to training students, but there was something I wasn’t used to. The students were as young as 3rd grade and as old as high school and seminary. Despite this large age range, there were two things in common among all these students: 1) They all had a desire to know the truth and 2) they had a lot of questions.
My first trip was to Alpine Christian Camp. I spent four days training about 250 junior high students. With a theme of “Unconfused,” we discussed the existence of God, why God allows evil, the resurrection, the fact that Jesus is the only way, and the conflict between science and faith. The training didn’t stop with these five sessions. We also had four total hours of Q&A during the students’ free time.
The second trip was back to Alpine Christian Camp the following week. This time I spent six days training about 230 high school students and a few students from a seminary in Mexico. We covered the same five sessions from the previous week, but we added an atheist role-play to kick things off the opening night. And because of the extended week, we were able to offer 8 1/2 hours in total for Q&A times. Some of the students came every single day and sat through all 8 1/2 hours.
The last event was at a retreat center near Santa Clarita. This was a three-day retreat for about 75 3rd-6th grade students. With a theme of “Truth Adventure,” we focused on four main questions. What is truth? Why is truth important? Is the resurrection true? Is the Bible true? We finished three of the sessions with about 20 minutes of Q&A. These elementary students turned in about 50+ questions to their group leader, asked live questions, and came up to me with more questions at mealtimes.
My conclusion after these events is that when given space, students truly desire to know God and will open up with so many questions. The problem is that they don’t always feel comfortable to do this. Maybe we focus on creating a religious experience instead of knowledge of God. We sometimes tell them to either stop asking questions or to just have faith. Instead, we should be fostering an environment where they feel free to pursue truth because truth-seeking will ultimately lead them to Jesus. I am convinced that when we focus on a deeper knowledge of God they will have an even deeper love and experience as they do life with Christ. Isn’t this what we ultimately want for our students?
Check out the recap videos below from my two weeks at Alpine Christian Camp!