There are somethings you can only learn by experience and practice. For example, you cannot learn to swim by reading a book. Another more real example is learning to lead in three places at once. Perhaps you can learn a skill here, or a technique there to put into practice but really this is a sink or swim scenario.
Over this camp experience I feel that I had my first real experience of leading in multiple places at the same time. Lets just say, I learnt a lot.
Here are three things I learnt (and hopefully I will never forget):
1. Keep the main thing, the main thing
Whilst coordinating camp we had a serious crisis issue which needed to sort out. It was one of those bold, underlined and multiple exclamation mark issues!!!!!!!!!!!! One which falls into both urgent and important. Going through the process of sorting this out in the appropriate manner a friend reminded “Keep the main thing, the main thing”. But what did that mean?
We were doing camp to share Jesus with the children. No matter what else is going on, make sure that sharing Jesus with the children stays the focus of everything. Do not be distracted left or right, sort out what needs to be sorted out but keep the main thing, the main thing.
2. The ability of trusting people is of crucial importance
As I worked through this issue, I had to rely on my leadership team more than ever before. I am aware that I can sometimes seem controlling in leadership, or I trust people to do a good job… so long as I can pick up the pieces if it doesn’t happen my way.
To keep the main thing, the main thing I had to place my full trust in my leadership team. The could keep the camp ticking over, keeping the main thing as the main thing without me being constantly present. In fact, realising that you are not needed to run a camp is a beautifully humbling experience.
3. In the hardest situations, God’s love and forgiveness prevail
The winter holidays in Cape Town is the time of year where the most children and young people here the message of Jesus. In this there is a reminder that everyone is human, everyone is a sinner and everyone can know God’s love and forgiveness. The love and forgiveness God has for me is the very same love and forgiveness God has for a child who lives in a high gang violence area, and that is the same love and forgiveness God has for a leader who use to be a child alcoholic.
This message, the Good News, is a message which is contextually appropriate for every person, no matter the situation they find themselves in. Worldly situations do not define the Gospel or the way it is understood, God does.