Longing for Belonging: Welcome to GMBA Camp!
This week, we're interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a series of articles from GMBA Campout!
This week, the camp is being held in Redlands, California, and the theme is "Peace, Joy, and Strength in Righteousness," and the anchoring scriptures are found in Philippians 4:4-8.
Before we flesh out the theme for you, let's talk about friendship. GMBA Camp is a place where new friendships bloom, casual acquaintances take root and go to a deeper level, and time-tested bonds grow even stronger. Friendship and fellowship are a big part of what makes camp camp.
People crave friendship. We long to know others and be known by them. Even those of us who are shy and reluctant to put ourselves out there want close, intimate relationships with other human beings.
Who doesn't need a few good friends who share your worldview, love you for exactly who you are, and who encourage you to do and be your very best?
I believe God wants this for us. Yet, so often, friendship is reduced to a flat, 2-D version of what it's intended to be. For example, "friendship" happens too often on our phones rather than face to face. Even though we call people our friends, we may feel like we barely know them. Too often, our friendships are the first to go on the back burner when life gets busy. Why is that?
I have a few theories.
As a society, we're isolating ourselves — which is weird. If we long to belong, then why would we cut ourselves off from people? I think there are two major reasons why we're doing this.
1. We've got this expectation that life should be easy and smooth sailing, and if it's not, then something is wrong. In olden times, I believe that people were taught that life is filled with struggles, and you'd better have good friends by your side if you're going to make it through. An easy life doesn't require supportive friendships. An uphill life certainly does.
2. We're losing sight of life's higher purpose, a purpose rooted in God's plan and what He's asked us to do as the body of Christ. When we work together for a common goal, the result is often rich, meaningful friendships. We realize that the job is too big for any one individual. It takes a community of like-minded, hard-working folks to make progress.
For me, GMBA Camp is a wonderful opportunity to re-frame the way I think about friendship. At camp, many people open up about struggles they're going through, and they don't have to go far for a listening ear or a minister who can pray for them. Also, at camp, we're reminded of the Great and Divine Commissions, and we think and pray about what our role is and where we fit in to the body.
Thinking along these lines, we're much more likely to move toward friendship than isolation. We're much more likely to be the type of friend that someone else needs us to be.
Want to know more about what God's word says about friendship?
Here's your next scripture reading plan! Click here to download it. There are 16 days worth of scriptures, but go at your own pace. Use the reflection questions in your study, or create your own!
May God bless you as you ponder what godly friendship is. (And, while you're doing that, it's good to remember that no earthly friendship can meet our need for a relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ. That kind of friendship is divine.)
Aaaaaand…. Here are a few photos from the Sunday service yesterday at camp.
The Youth in Action group that served at the Vacation Bible School in San Carlos, Arizona.
The Spanish speakers treating the congregation to a hymn.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.