Yesterday was “Pastor’s Day” at Water’s Edge campground. Upon perusing the list of available activities at the camp I was convinced because of my pastoral experiences I would be an expert at a number of them. Below is a list of the activities and why I thought I’d be displaying my particular set of skills developed over 25 years of pastoral ministry (and in parenthesis why I wasn’t quite prepared).
High Ropes Course: Living by faith on a tight church budget and praying that tithes given would match bills received has made me an expert in “Hanging from a thread” (In reality the High Ropes Course is a high flying adventure of zip lining from station to station. No knowledge of church budgets is required).
Climbing wall: “Getting over” the occasional unkind statement; a less-than-encouraging email concerning the cross placement in the sanctuary; or an exiting parishioner’s not so “constructive” criticism has developed a tough pastoral skin. (The Climbing Wall is a 25-foot test of strength and endurance that concludes with a sense of accomplishment upon reaching the top. No one shouts “that’s not the way we‘ve done it in the past” or posts on Facebook why they are now attending the Baptist Climbing Wall; instead the camp workers encourage your upward goal!)
Canoeing: I’ve been “up a creek without a paddle” so many times sometimes I forget I had a paddle in the first place. (Canoeing the shimmering waters of Sandy Bottom Lake is a serene and enjoyable experience. Paddles are included.).
Paint Ball: Avoiding pot shots about not enough hymns sung makes even an out-of-shape pastor nimble and quick. (The only shots fired in this pretend battle experience are colorful balls of paint from friends whose goal is bragging rights around the campfire before singing the non-hymn Kumbaya.)
Waterslide: I can plunge feet first into deep theological debates with the best of them (The Water Slide is a slippery 30-foot plummet into the cool refreshing waters of the lake formerly known as “the boy’s lake.” A thorough knowledge of the differences between John Calvin and John Wesley’s theory of atonement does not enhance the waterslide experience.)
Blob: The Monday Morning feeling I have after a belly flop of a Sunday sermon. (The Blob is a fun water activity where one is propelled laughing and screaming into the lake. Preaching a terrible sermon is not a prerequisite for the Blob at Water’s Edge Camp).
Thanks Dr. Gardner, Rev. Rob Lewis and the Eastern Michigan District Camp team, you made a great pastor’s day even if I wasn’t an expert in any of the activities!