Last night we arrived home from a Church of God Family Camp and my head is still bubbling with much to ponder. I’m glad to share some of the happenings and thoughts I’m digesting.
First thing for you to keep in mind is that this week was a boys week. Jen dropped us off Monday and came back after work Friday. Last year was quite a struggle for me, if I’m honest. This year we’re all a year more mature. Over all it was a great week of memory making with my boys.
I’m motorcycle sitting while my friend is out of town for two weeks. It was a marvelous ride from Seattle to Easton. I’m glad I had a ride, because there were some key things that we forgot to pack. On the way back from the store a pickup intercepted an eagle in a dive. The eagle, the truck, myself, and prey were unscathed by the encounter.
We camped in the far reaches of Double K Retreat Center. I was considering pitching the tent by the RVs so we could have water and electricity. I also considered this so it would force me to know more people. After discussing it with the boys we landed on the familiar space from last year. We were secluded, but it was a good balance. Next year when Joel is more comfortable on his bike, it will be near perfect.
Format. If you’ve been to Family Camp, Campmeeting, or a Week long Tent Revival you know what we did. If you are unfamiliar with such things… here’s an overview. There’s stuff for kids and adults in the morning. Lunch, free time, and then dinner. There’s a worship session in the evening. After worship there’s usually a bonfire, snack, or activity of sorts for everyone who wants to participate. We partook in all group activities except the late night ones. I’d usually let the boys play until it got closer to dark. I lured them back to the campsite with at treat like s’mores or brownies. Then we’d finish the night off by reading Harry Potter.
This year the PNA (Pacific Northwest Association of The Church of God), went for a new format. In years past there has been the Annual Meeting near the end of Family Camp. This time Family Camp was Monday-Thrusday and Pastor’s Day on Friday. There was worship, ministry info shared, teaching, reports, discussion and voting. There was ample time for relationships as well. I met a lot of people that day. At the end of the day I feel more like a pastor than I have in years. I realize that talking, praying, and dreaming about what God wants us to do in the world brings out our calling. It at least reminds me of my calling. It shows me that there is also an affirmation of my calling from the Body in a public forum. As far as the new Pastor’s Day, I think it was successful. I have to say I would have liked more time with more pastors. I try to mingle meaningfully. A day isn’t enough time to connect with a lot of people. This is where I missed my homies in MI. The Church of God in MI has an all day Friday and half day Saturday General Assembly. It’s in a hotel that most people stay in or at least stay to mingle.
During the Executive Director’s Update, Lloyd Moritz, shared some encouragement, admonishment, and the state of the PNA. My key point that I took away was that Lloyd will be framing everything in a team mindset. Team PNA! Which I will have you know I was the first to tweet #TeamPNA. Thank you Lloyd. I’m drinking the Kool-Aide. I have lots of thoughts about how I might be able to help the team. We’ll see what ideas hit the street.
Calling. My mind was on calling though out the week. No doubt I’ve been called to the Northwest. Probably somewhere in Seattle. With whom and where exactly is still unclear. A missional community, yes. The likes of those that I’ve pondered and experimented for years. Calling was renewed and highlighted this week like it hasn’t been for a while. I should be clear, my calling is a pastoral calling. Will I be a therapist? Yes. Will I be a pastors? Yes. Looks like The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology is a good place for me after all. I of course type that with a smirk and a wink.
There’s the other part of calling that I’m pondering. I still feel called to the Church of God. Many of my friends have jumped ship. Jumped out of ministry, ChOG or both. As sad and aggravating it has been and will be, I am still called. It would be much easier to leave and just do my thing. It’s still clear to me that I cannot abandon the ship. It’s taking on water and its time to grab my bucket. I hope others in my generation will do the same. (This will be the focus of the book I’m going to try to write.) (Oh man, I just broadcasted that! Crap!)
I couldn’t help but notice some differences between last year and this year. Most of the difference was within me. My eyes are open to how I interact with people. I spent time alone when I needed it. When I needed people I sought them out. Even when I felt like I didn’t want to introduce myself I did so without emotional dissociation. I took some risks and it was nice to be seen and hear stories from a variety of people.
It was a great week and we’ll be back next year.
Thanks for stoping by. Be uncommon.
Note: I will be updating this with a link to a highlight video for those who want to see some pictures and a couple video clips.