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Growing Up in Christ

G-r-o-w-i-n-g Up in Christ

When was your last visit to a greenhouse?

This summer, 75 students and 14 adults will be spending time in a “faith greenhouse” during our time at WorkCamp in Kansas or at the National Youth Gathering in Minneapolis—and for some of us, both!

Quick Fact: 57 of us, including nearly half of our 8th grade class, will be doing home repairs at WorkCamp in Garnett, Kansas, June 21-29.

While our summer trips may not look like your favorite spot to purchase vegetables or flower baskets, this time away—“out of the seed packet”—provides new opportunities to g-r-o-w up in Christ.

Plant. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24) Taking part in these trips means stepping into some uncomfortable, sometimes dirty, places! Whether it’s the long (read, smelly) van rides, air-mattress-sleeping next to snoring people, and sweaty jobs of WorkCamp or the NYG’s 15,000+ daily steps among a bunch of people you don’t know, God uses these events to put us in places where we cannot survive on our own strength. The only way to thrive is to be rooted in Him!

Quick Fact: The National Youth Gathering, held every three years, is the largest gathering of LCMS adults as well as the largest gathering of LCMS members.

Feed. But [Jesus] answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) A steady diet of God’s Word, supplemented by time with and encouragement from fellow believers, leads to growth. We connect with the WorkCamp theme each morning, noon, and night, in ways that direct us to the Source of living water. Our NYG days will begin with Bible study, be packed with opportunities to serve and learn, and will conclude with a mass event speaker and musician in U. S. Bank Stadium.

Quick Fact: At the National Youth Gathering (NYG) in Minneapolis, July 10-15, 50 of us will be learning more about our REAL.PRESENT.GOD. as He reveals Himself in the Psalms.

Bloom. We like to jump right to the blooming, don’t we? You know, however—and as a farmer’s daughter, I can assure you—that God’s process of growth takes time. The beauty of these immersive experiences is that God gives growth spurts, and we get to witness it! So, back to…

Bloom! “I [Paul] planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)

  • Friendships and community grow where there were none. Our students know—with their hearts, not only their minds--they have brothers and sisters in Christ at Beautiful Savior and at churches across the country. What a difference that makes for their social-media-drenched lives!

  • Hearts are changed. On a work crew with two men from other communities, I got to see their amazement when they realized that they—both strong-willed leaders—were able to work together when Christ was the foundation.

Quick Fact: Our WorkCamp theme, Relentless, will use the life of David to lead us to relentlessly pursue God in response to His relentless love and mercy.

  • Disciples are grown. Watching nervous students respond to God’s leading by praying with and for people they don’t know? Priceless.

  • The aroma of Christ spreads. Residents, nervous to have teenagers in their homes, bubble with enthusiasm as they are served and get to know these children of God. A resident’s nephew, hurt by past involvement with “religious” people, decided to join our crew’s devotion time by the end of the week.

Thank you for all the ways you have made these experiences possible! As you water your plants in the coming weeks, continue to pray for the growth and harvest that God has in mind for this summer’s “faith greenhouse” at WorkCamp, at the National Youth Gathering, and for each of us.

Amy Niemann Director of Youth & Young Adults

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