“How early can we wake up?” You can only image my shock when one of the teenagers ask me this during our camping trip! I have never had to the answer this question before from a teenager. They seemed to absolutely love being out in the “wild”. This is one event we will do on an annual basis and may do more than once a year.

I just wanted to journal a few thoughts that will help me remember the pros & cons of this activity. Writing down what is causing me to grow is the primary purpose of this blog, the Ministry Fertilizer.


  • Gave me an opportunity to just hang out with the guys. On many activities we stay so busy we don’t have time to just “chill-ax” (combination of “chill” and “relax” .. this is one of the things the teens have taught me)
  • Many opportunities for discussion out of conflict. I should write about this subject completely¬†separate¬†some time. Some of the best discussions I have with the teens start out with conflict. Often “why do we have to..” or “why can’t we..” is just the set up I need to show Bible with them about some misguided actions they have.
  • I was able to show them the “where I come from”. This made for an additionally long drive to KY. However, it was well worth it. I was able to show them the little church I grew up. I was able to show them where I got saved, where I felt God’s leading into the ministry, and any other places that were important to me as a teenager.
  • MEMORIES. I imagined we made more memories together while baking in the sun in the woods then we will on several of our typical activities combined.
  • They were able to see that Bible study and Bible conversation is a constant. No matter what the setting is and no matter what we are doing we are supposed to be students of the Book.


  • I should have the meals scheduled better planned out. When you are in the woods you only have what you brought with you.
  • There are many variables that can cause you to adjust. It is hard to completely plan for all the factors such as the weather.

One of the greatest lessons that came out of our trip was concerning our response to authority. I asked many things of the young men that they questioned. They were things that could be argued. For example our daily schedule of swimming, fishing, eating etc. The guys questioned my every move. Since the things they questioned were not “Bible doctrines” the answer simply came down to “we need someone to lead and at this time God has allowed me the opportunity to decide these things for us”. I probably allow myself to be questioned by the teens more than many youth pastors. However, I try to get the teen to look at activities as things we are putting on and not just things we are doing for them. So, this leads to hearing a lot of “why are we doing this” questions.

We taught the young men from the life of David. We stressed to them that David after knowing he would be King went back to watch the sheep. Also, David felt responsibility for somethings other didn’t – Goliath. Zack Elrod (youth worker) and I joked and said we should have named the camping trip the “it is not my fault” camping trip. In so many ways and in so many ways the teens continually tried to tell us that.

Question: “Did you steal that lure from some eleses tacklebox?” Answer: “I am not sure”

Question: “Why didn’t you make it to the site on time?” Answer: “I am not rich I do not have a cell phone”

Question: “Why did you take the fish that are too small (legally)? Answer: “so and so. said it was big enough”

Also these lame-o excuses gave us a great opportunity to talk to them about “man-ing up” to the mistakes we make. Many of the decisions that were made were not “mistakes” but simply wrong actions and we talked about the difference.

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