“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa, an Albanian-Indian nun, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950 with 13 members to over 4,000 sisters, an associated brotherhood of 300 members, and over a million co-workers operating 610 missions in over 100 countries at the time of her death in 1997. While Mother Teresa is considered controversial, her ministry has transformed millions of lives and continues to teach, inspire, and call us to care for our neighbors.
During camp each year, one of the focus topics centers around how young people engage that theme with the world – families, friends, churches, communities, and globally. This year on Day 6, we explored “What if we changed the world?” Campers talked about what churches would look like, how people would relate to one another, and how we would sense and interact with God. In essence, we imagined the world as God intended. We then explored the realities, challenges, opportunities, and other pertinent factors in how we are God-bearers and shapers of the worlds around us. The notion of ripples was a common motif. How small actions can have big impacts.
Ripples can have far-reaching effects that we cannot even fathom. Who we are, our understanding of the gospel, and what it means to be Christian takes on a whole new level of importance. Just as our actions can have positive effects, we also recognize that negative outcomes are possible if we are not careful. Conversations on the importance of becoming a person of growth over a week are not common in our culture, yet is critical to helping young people develop a strong center that understands the complexities of the world, has resiliency to not back away from a challenge, and the passion to embrace our neighbors and lift them up as children of God. What ripples are we as a church making today? Do we see our actions having long-lasting effects? What should we be doing to ensure that others have a powerful relationship with God when we are gone?
Slumber Falls Camp creates many ripples each summer and these are not just from the swimming pool. Our outdoor ministries continue to excel in fun, friendships, youth development, and Christian formation. We see the effects of our ministry ripples in former campers from decades past that still speak of the power of church camp at Slumber Falls. The church is called to be the body of Christ in the world. As one church, we are blessed to have resources like Slumber Falls Camp to aid in shaping our young people. And as Margaret Mead says, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” God is dynamic and at work in the world. It is a privilege that we can be a part of that movement to bring healing, wholeness, and life to others. I look forward to hearing your stories of how you are making ripples and the effects that you hope those ripples will make! Blessings and peace to each and every one of you on your journey.