Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The Power of Story: An Alternative to Traditional Cabin Devotions

 I have an idea, but it's not catching on quickly.

It began with my concerned attempts to help cabin leaders with the daunting task of leading cabin devotions. Here is a quote from my chapter about this:

Here's a real discussion-stopper: “So, what do you think this verse means?” That is the kind of question that makes kids roll their eyes, swing from the rafters and make rude body noises. And the boys are even worse.

My current concern is that campers might respond this way to any Bible discussion a cabin leader leads, even if their questions are specific and focused. If we expect cabin leaders to carry the weight of effective biblical discussions with campers, we should do more than lift a finger to ease their burden.

My idea is to simply give them what Jesus had. That is, give them stories to tell.

Notice that Jesus only reluctantly discussed his stories after he told them. "Don't you understand my story?" he asked. "How then will you understand any story?" And then he explained his story about sowing seeds. More often, he let the story speak for itself, tweak the imagination and provoke a response.

It is difficult to find suitable stories for the camp setting, so I created the Camp Liverwurst series for middle-schoolers. I hope others of you will follow my example and write some more. But I am amazed at how few camps are catching on to the purpose and potential of these stories. They have been a hard sell, even when I try to give away free samples.

I've decided that camp leaders will only realize the power of story by reading aloud to someone in their world. Here is my challenge: Pick up one of of my books (or another that is suitable) and read it aloud to a middle-school child in your life by the end of March. That way—if I'm right—you will have time to incorporate reading aloud to campers as part of your spiritual program this summer.

The success of my Kickstarter campaign allows me to offer camp leaders a limited number of free copies of the first two Camp Liverwurst books. All you need to do is contact me with the name of your camp and a commitment to read at least one of them to a middle-school child in your life by the end of March.

I can guarantee that you will then catch on to my idea.

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