Houseboats 2018 was one for the record books. Our annual trip has grown over 300%, from 70 to 200 kids in just 4 years! What is drawing these high schoolers to make Houseboats THE trip for them and their friends each summer? Is it the tubing? The wake surfing? The cliff jumping (that does give them a healthy fear of God!)? Or is it something else? I would like to argue that the reason these kids keep coming back is that Houseboats creates an environment where they can unplug from the day to day at home and plug into God. The distractions are put away and they can see God clearer and feel how much our amazing, mighty God loves them. When you are worshiping under the vast night sky with tons of stars above you or watching a sunset over a magnificently still lake, you can feel the presence of the Creator in the midst of His created.
On the lake our youth were able to release the pressures of daily life, feel the presence of God and finally, learn that God knows them, loves them for who they are and wants the best for them. Do you remember when you learned this? When you became aware that God knows you personally, intimately? Your thoughts, your dreams, even the yucky stuff and He still loves you. It is a powerful and life changing moment. I call it a game changer. During the Wednesday night gathering at camp, we invited kids to accept Jesus quietly and privately during our worship time. After a couple songs, we invited the kids who had accepted Christ and wanted to share it with everyone and be celebrated to come down in front of their peers. 20, yes 20 self-conscious teenagers, courageously and boldly came down. For a youth pastor that prides himself in knowing all the kids who walk thru the doors of Oasis, I did not know any of their names. The Holy Spirit had been at work in the lives of these kids who were brand new to church and had never given their life to Christ.These kids stood in front of their peers as I told them to to look at the crowd and to know that they are now part of God’s family. The people in this group are here for them and that they are now part of something bigger than themselves. I encouraged them to stay part of our family so they can walk thru the school year learning, growing and being supported by others who are seeking after Jesus too. It was one of the most powerful moments I have experienced at Houseboats…the Holy Spirit moving mightily so that these new kids understood that they are recognized by God and accepted by a whole community for exactly who they are.
So many reasons to celebrate and thank God:
- 198 Kids got away from the craziness of life to intentionally hear from God and experience Him.
- Kids got to taste a little bit of heaven during musical worship that led them to the cross of Jesus.
- Kids had a leader intentionally care for them RIGHT where they were REGARDLESS of what they had done.
- Leaders were impacted as they ministered to students and God spoke to them.
- 64 kids attended that have never been to our camps or are new to our church.
- 25 leaders and 30 adults gave up a week to pour into students and serve them.
- 20 kids committed their life to Christ (FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER).
Thanks so much for reading! We are so grateful that we have a church that loves to invest into the next generation.
Houseboats 2018 Recap Video