From my second week with 4th-6th graders here at The Oaks, I felt that Thursday should be a day centered around the Gospel. I decided that after rest hour I would take them on a quick hike to the Cross trail. After telling my city staff Pastor Todd about this, he agreed and felt that it would be an awesome thing to do for them. Once rest hour was over, we began our hike to the Cross Trail. When up there, I began sharing about the distinction between knowing about Jesus, God, and the Bible in comparison to walking with the Lord. I began by posing the question to my campers, “Can you imagine having to walk a longer trail after being severely beaten, being mocked in the process, and knowing the symbol of the cross meant your end was coming?” I asked this to my campers from Watts because I wanted to push them to think deeper in their understanding of who Jesus was and what he did. The distinction was based upon my argument that memorizing Bible verses and going to church was not enough to be truly declared redeemed and sanctified.
I gave them an opportunity to come forward for me to pray for them. Not a prayer for them to keep memorizing more verses to impress others or have more presence at Powerhouse, but to give God their lives completely for His use. I felt it was important for me at that moment to share my understanding of the kind of environment they come from since I would use that to convey my next point. My next point was that God would call them to be agents of change for those in their location to help others dealing with the same thing. After this, each of my campers came forward and I said a prayer for them to repeat of giving their lives over to God by confessing that they are in sin and need to learn to walk with Jesus rather than just know about Him. Even if this moment didn’t have an immediate effect on them, I believe that sometime in the future they can look back on that moment when they walked up to a cross and understood the importance of the man who carried the cross up a longer trail 2,000 years ago.