Recently I heard a talk by someone celebrating the faithfulness of an orphan mission in Central Africa, totally reliant on donations and therefore operating “on faith”. The talk was of the numerous close calls, near misses, miraculous intervention and “God always coming through and rewarding the faith of the place”.
And it’s a fantastic story. I am in awe of people living on the edge like that, their bravery, their faithfulness and their ability to live completely reliant on God.
But I did wonder that for every stunning story like that, how many other similar outfits out there that embark on a similar path and struggle for years or fall over? What thought do we give to the hundreds of faithful people who enter ministry with a full heart, wonderful intention, but end up burned out, broke or worse? Was it their faith that was lacking? I doubt we can judge but I suspect not.
On a few occasions I have been in the presence of earned celebrity. And when that has happened I have often been struck by the star-power, or the extremity of talent that these people ooze. I’m talking of entertainment celebrities and the wattage of their star-power, a celebrity that drips with extreme charisma.
Last night at Mapleton we were hosting a high school group from the local area. You can always tell when a high school group is in, rather than the dominant weekday clientele of primary schools. The volume levels are a bit higher, the tone of half the voices is lower and the movies in the hall go later and are louder. But strolling around the campus you’re also reminded of the awkwardness of adolescence, that half world between childhood and adult where we slowly feel our way towards independence.
All of a sudden parents and teachers aren’t the sole, or even most important guiding voice. The opinion of your peer circle grows in importance and so does the influence of popular culture. And at the moment there’s few artists with a hold on the teens like Lady Gaga. And last night she fired the next shot from the breech of her latest album – a single entitled Judas. She’s been pumping it for ages on Facebook, complete with scarlet cross, just in case you were in any doubt of its religious connotations.
Recently we’ve been writing up our user manual for the R1202 concept being rolled out at all of the QCCC sites. In the development of the R1202 one of the fingers some of us were unsure about was the index “be humble” finger because we thought it might be a difficult sell, particularly trying to explain humility to the kids at a Primary School level.
However as we developed things and took input from a lot of people and educators, the “humble” finger quickly became a non-negotiable part of the package, because it is hard to explain and this highlighted the need for greater understanding and awareness.
As it stands at the moment, the humble index finger currently has the most ideas and content of all the different R1202 concepts in the user manual! Probably because the difficulty to explain it has sharpened our focus and made us come up with good and innovative ideas. We’re also seeing that it has the most impact on kids, and they remember it easily.
Something we’ve discussed as we worked on ‘humility’ is that Australia probably has claims to humility as a national trait more than most nations, particularly so if you were to compare the stereotype of the Aussie and the American.
2011 is shaping up as an exciting one for Queensland Conference and Camping. The year is off to a flying start with record guest numbers through February. Some of the new initiatives we’ve been working on for several years are being launched and are quickly growing.
And we’ve started this year serving our new vision and mission statements.
As a ministry of Queensland Baptists, QCCC exists to create life-changing experiences through excellence in hospitality, service and teaching.
QCCC is piloting now a new concept we hope will become the backbone theme of our programs from 2012 onwards, across our three camp sites at Mapleton, Tamborine and Brookfield (Brisbane). The working title for the concept is “R1202“, a reference to the biblical Romans 12:02:
“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within.”
Also known as “The Hand” we believe the R1202 theme will enable us to partner with visiting groups to reflect on the key attributes and values required for a successful life.
As it is developed we will make it a flexible tool that can fit the objectives and outcomes of each group who visits us. We will also develop resources so that the lessons learned from R1202 on camp can last long after it concludes.
R1202 will become the major tool used by QCCC in our teaching and service to clients. Our staff have identified approximately 70 object lessons that can be drawn from R1202 using colours, fingers and other concepts.