I was recently invited to share at Teen Valley Ranch Christian Camp and encourage the staff during their training time. As a long time “staffer” at TVR, I pulled some thoughts together and challenged them in taking advantage of this awesome and powerful moment in their campers lives. I had them think of people in their own lives who have made significant impressions and marks on their lives and told them that now they had a chance to do the same thing for countless others this summer. As we talked about “Legacy”, I offered them a paradigm shift.
Many think of a legacy as something we leave behind. But what if legacy was about what we gave to the future; the people that we invest in for the future. It’s not about what we leave behind; it’s the people we propel into the future! The old english word for legacy has it’s roots in mission terminology. The idea was that a group of people would be “left behind” to create the future. A team would leave a legacy behind to shape the future.
Here are more of my notes from that session. It will follow the acrostic: S.T.A.F.F.
Seek and serve.
Great staffers seek out kids. It’s your job to go after them. God was a seeker in Genesis 3 and we must model His initiative. Find out what your campers like to do and do it! Serve them well. Luke 19:10, Matthew 20:28. Staffers are not “saviors”. Acts 4:12 If you seek them out, serve them well, you will lead them to the Savior.
Take time seriously.
Great staffers understand teachable moments and make the most of the time afforded at camp. You have at most maybe 5 days to 100 hours to make an indelible impact. Psalm 90:12 Take time with the Lord everyday. Take time with your campers: At least 2 times during the week. Use time off wisely. Rest so you can give your best. The Lord and the campers deserve your best!
Attention to needs.
Great staffers pay attention to needs of their campers. Every kid is different and has a unique need. Find out from youth leaders what kids home life is like. “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” It’s in the details that people know you care. Do the things as a staff member that need to be done. Your job is whatever needs to be done. It’s not someone else’s job to take care of trash if it’s overflowing…it’s your job. John 13.
Great staffers are focused on the right things. Focus on Christ. Endure the campers you have. Christ endured the cross, you can surely endure that camper! Hebrews 12:1-2. Focus on the important and significant things in these kids lives. Focus on their future not their behavior now. Ask good questions. Don’t get distracted by other staff. Focus on the finish line. “You can rest at the end”.
Great staffers are simply faithful people. Be faithful in the task and opportunity God has given you. Don’t get caught up in comparisons and musings on why God is doing this or that. Simply obey the Lord and leave the fruitfulness up to Him. “If you are faithful, God will make you fruitful.” At the end of our lives, God will not say: “Well done good and ‘fruitful’ servant. He will say: “well done good and faithful”. Be faithful to the end. Matthew 25
George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear Ministries and serves as student pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA. He served at Teen Valley Ranch for 7 years full-time and two summers in college.