Last night we had our weekly campfire meeting. I call it that because since we have gone outdoors, it resembles those great meetings at summer camp. Remember? We would start out with a familiar chorus or spiritual. We often harmonized on our favorites, “Not my father, not my mother, but it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” We usually have a theme, book or some current event to share, but more times than not we end up just sharing our dreams and concerns spontaneously. Don’t you think that’s how the first century church gatherings went? Very little was planned in advance except the next time to meet. In Bible times they didn’t have many communications except from the last meeting, so the time together was for sharing and it was left up to the Holy Spirit to lead worship and fellowship.
About a year ago Sheila and I gave a teaching on faith at home and asked if anyone wanted to start meeting each week . One young mother said she thought it would be something she wanted for her family. Since then it has grown to four couples, their children and two singles.
We started with a course on marriage relationships built on Ephesians 5:33 “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” The course ‘Love and Respect’ sets a working biblical foundation for the marriage. Then our families learned to find God’s will for child rearing. In spite of American cultural norms mom and dad learned not to outsource their children’s spiritual growth, but to step up and lead it. The Blessing by Trent and Smalley helped with an important, “How to.” Later, after blessing her daughter every day, one of our moms took her daughter to preschool. In the rush she forgot to bless her daughter. Her 4 year old daughter complained, “Mommy you didn’t pray with me this morning!” Financial Peace was another important workshop. When finances are taken care of, a major obstacle to family stability has been removed. We have continued to share various books and videos on family issues when good ones come to hand.
I love this weekly campfire meeting for the change we have observed in the lives of it’s members. Our group’s moms and dads are spending time daily with their children. One father confided with me that he had never prayed out loud in front of other people even though he grew up in a church known for its spiritual life. He is doing it now and he is growing in leadership too. Another started witnessing to people at work and on the street.
From this camp fire came a showing of the movie Courageous by one of the men stepping up and then the others helping. It was followed by a Courageous Signing ceremony like the one in the movie, then a 4 week bible study at 6 am on Saturdays. 19 men signed up. 21 attended. The class continues on with discussions about ways to share our faith.
One of the men brought information on his concern about the abortion epidemic in America. This has now become a full fledged commitment by the whole group to reach the people of Missouri to stop abortions. We have a few group actions planned already. Stay tuned for news about our progress.
Last night though, it was personal, loving, singing, telling God and each other about our struggles and so alive. I came home full of joy and the Holy Spirit.
If you want a campfire meeting let us help you start one.