By Courtney Swaw
Summer Intern, Linden Valley
LINDEN — Maury City First Baptist Church returned to IMPACT camp for the second consecutive year after an overwhelming affirmation from the kids.
“We come back because this particular camp does a really good job of recognizing that camp is not for camp’s sake,” said Mikey Waddey, pastor of Maury City First Baptist Church. “We do camp for the sake of sending these kids home with a real sense of who Jesus is in their life and what He wants them to be in their own community.”
Waddey had hopes that his group would be challenged to be better Christians when they returned home from camp.
“We anticipated they would be challenged biblically, that they would be challenged relative to their quiet times, and that they would be challenged relative to how they treat one another,” Waddey said. “The very term ‘impact’ is not about what happens here, but what happens when they get home.”
This anticipation was met in the church’s group devotion.
“Our kids opened up and talked about issues they’re dealing with in their spiritual life, and how they want to do better,” Waddey explained. “I feel like the needs that we knew of before we came have been met and probably exceeded. We may not know how fully until we get home.”
Within the few days that the Maury City church group was at IMPACT camp, Waddey began to notice a transformation in how his students interacted with one another. “There’s always a reluctance on the first day to open up and talk about baggage in our life. When you’re here a few days and around each other for so long and for so many hours during the day, there’s a familiarity,” he said. “They feel a lot more comfortable talking to each other about the sin that might be in their life.”
Waddey recalled some individuals moving from being very withdrawn to being more outgoing. “I’m not going to say that they are out of their shell, but they are in a place where they feel like they are not going to be judged for what they say, what they wear, what they look like, or any of those things. They’re a lot more comfortable in their own skin.”
According to Waddey, IMPACT camp pulls students away from everything that distracts them for a while, so that they can concentrate on the Lord.
“All of that is in an effort so that they can be equipped to go home and impact their world. They can go home and be salt and light in their homes, be salt and light in their school, be salt and light where they work, and be salt and light wherever they find themselves,” he concluded.