Author of the best-selling book Raising Boys, psychologist Steve Biddulph, talks about the
importance of rites of passage for our boys and girls as they transition into adulthood. A rite
of passage can be any tangible event where adults get alongside teenagers and mentor
them towards adulthood, encouraging them to reflect on the kind of person they want to be
and how they want to get there. Christian psychologist and youth ministry professor Steve
Gerali talks about the same idea in his books Teenage Guys and Teenage Girls. For Gerali,
creating distinctly Christian rites of passage is crucial for the process of our teens negotiating
Christian adulthood. The rite of passage helps teenagers to clearly identify a moment
where they made a decision to align their lives with the gospel and to look back on that
moment as a significant marker in the formation of their identity as a Christian.
Whether we call it a rite of passage or not, a Christian camp is the perfect time for our
teenagers to stop and reflect on who they are and who they want to be. As they spend time
sitting under the word of God, talking about it with their peers and with their adult leaders,
opportunities for those tangible, life-shaping moments Biddulph and Gerali talk about are
plenty. For some, that will be the decision to follow Jesus and define themselves as his
servant. For others, it will be the decision to further throw off the entanglement of sin in their
lives, re-align themselves with their Lord and refine their identity in him.
That these sorts of decisions take place in the context of the Christian community is also
significant: these are the Christian brothers and sisters God has given each of us to support
and encourage one another in Christ. Camps then, are a time where the community
decides about the kind of community it will be as they respond to the word of God preached.
Of course these elements are all present every week as part of our regular youth ministry.
But something about the ‘other-ness’ of camp – it’s not part of the regular everyday – gives
it the impact that Biddulph and Gerali see in a rite of passage event.
At FIT Camp this year, FUEL and Ignite join together with their leaders to look at the key
thing we are defined by as Christians: Jesus. Adults will sit along-side teenagers and point
them to Jesus, asking them if they will define themselves as his people. They will ask them
to find their identity in Jesus. Teenagers will sit alongside other teens. They will support one
another to find their identity in him, pushing one another to respond to the gospel of grace
and live as servants of the King. Together, the FIT community will decide whether or not they
will be shaped by Jesus.
Please be praying for our teenagers in the lead up to FIT Camp 2015. In particular, please
- that our teenagers who do know Jesus will sign up and will grow in Christian maturity
- that our teenagers who don’t know Jesus will sign up and respond to him in faith
- that teenagers who don’t know Jesus will accept their friend’s invitations, come and respond
to Jesus in faith
- for our leadership team as they prepare the various elements of the camp program
- that our leaders will have opportunities to get alongside teenagers and help them transition
towards Christian adulthood
- that the FIT community will refine their identity in Jesus and seek to be shaped by him
FIT 2015 – Registrations now open! Visit www.snac.org.au to register today