For nearly 50 years Lake Ann Camp has provided for our churches a spiritual tune-up report helping them to follow up on the fruit of the camp week. In the past, these reports were called Spiritual Growth Records (SGR). This year we changed the name to My Next Move (MNM).
Our counselors are taught the phrase: God’s lifetime goal for me is perfection(conformity to Christ-like characteristics), but His daily goal is growth. They are trained to help campers see that perfection is not God’s daily standard as so many set unrealistic goals and get discouraged causing them to want to give up. What we want campers to know is that God has forgiven their sins and He invites them to a life that is not complicated by sin issues. His commands are not burdensome as they lead to a life of no regrets.
When a camper comes to camp and decides to forsake sin or break an unhealthy relationship, we want them to know that God will go before them to help make their way straight (Pro. 3:5-6). Philippians 1:6 also makes this clear when it says: “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” Decisions towards growth in Christ are something to be celebrated! While they are not the end all, they are the beginning of something better than the past.
Sometimes we have regrets in life because of past issues and sins. Those regrets can lead to feeling shame. Shame is not productive and that is why Satan, as the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), will want to continually rehearse those sins in a believer’s life. Our counselors seek to show campers that if they could have broken their sinful habits in the past they would have already done so. In fact, because they made a decision it also does not mean that they will never be tempted or fall in that area again. The decision simply means that they want it to change.
This is where the My Next Move report provides hope for their future. When a report goes back to a camper’s church, to someone who genuinely cares for this camper, relationships back home can be a part of helping these campers succeed long after camp. Someone who can spur them on to love and good works (Heb. 10:24).
Each church has their own systems for how to use the My Next Move report. Some churches go as far as to have sit down conversations with the parents or campers. Their goal is to provide support and accountability for the camper after camp. Other churches use them as part of the youth group program where campers share with their peers how God is going to be a bigger part of their life after camp. Each camper, by the way, knows about the report and they read them with their counselor and sign-off on them ensuring that the report is accurate.
As a further step this year we are providing campers with a My Next Move postcard (this is optional) that they can fill out at camp and send to a parent, guardian or spiritual mentor when the week is over. This report is directly from a camper and it will be sent early the week after camp. This is a challenge by choice activity that campers will not be coerced to do, however, it will provide another step toward helping campers get the support they need to start living for the Lord and producing greater fruit.
Again, if the camper could have made this decision before and succeed, we believe they would have. The fact that the decision was made indicates that God is real to them and they want to honor Him with their life – and that is why we do what we do! And… that gets us up every morning here at Lake Ann Camp!