Growing Existing Leaders at Sawtooth

July 30, 2018

Just a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet with a group of high school students. We were talking about the importance of leadership for the summer as they were all going to be involved in a variety of our camps as CIT’s or first year counselors. Having little to no experience with these individuals, I wanted to make sure that they understood something: there is something different about being a spiritual leader than what the world tends to see as "leader". I was surprised that I found myself having a very easy conversation because they already seemed to understand. As I talked about how, as Christian leaders, they are to be servants, to follow the example of Christ and put others first, I was not greeted by faces that were hearing new information but by the nods of those who were already seeking to live it out and were ready to keep on going.

It is wonderful to think that I can take no credit for this. They were there not because of me, but because of what they had learned and what they had been taught. They were shown what it meant to be spiritual leaders, not necessarily by seminars and carefully planned curriculum, but by the example of those who sought to lead them spiritually.

This is part of the beauty of places like Sawtooth Camp. Like local faith communities, we seek to help people to grow spiritually but there is a distinct advantage that we have in camp life: proximity. While our proximity is short lived, the effectiveness of it cannot be overlooked. There are unique opportunities for teaching and shaping spiritual leaders simply because they are always around. For a week, you eat every meal together, you pray and play together, and everything in between. The number of hours of direct influence can be higher than a pastor has with Sunday mornings over the course of a year! And it is often the hours in which people are simply living life together that the best traits of spiritual leaders are learned. And as they seek to be spiritual leaders in the years to come, they often end up coming back to serve a place that has so loving served them. And the cycle and the lessons continue as they ever should.

In Christ,


© 2014 Camp and Retreat Ministries:

A partnership between The Oregon-Idaho Conference of The United Methodist Church
and The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon