I’m just back from the WES camping trip–our 8th or 9th one as a family. I’ll admit it: I have a love/hate relationship with the camping trip. On the one hand, there’s bonding, laughter, a talent show, a campfire with singing, and the chance to disconnect from devices and reconnect with each other. On the other hand, mosquitos.
In the end, I do it for the kids.
Sitting in the outdoor pavilion this past weekend, I looked around and noticed: the multi-age groups playing cards, the adults working with other people’s children on art projects (because it’s not just families who come on the trip!), the couple of dads jamming on guitars. At one point I was worried about the littlest children–only to be informed by the older kids that they had set up their own buddy system and it was all under control. Later, I saw fifteen kids playing an elaborate game in a very muddy swimming hole, while five parents watched and chatted with each other.
Trips like this one create bonds that simply cannot happen on a Sunday morning. No 45 minute lesson can build a friendship that spans a ten year age difference, and no committee meeting can lead to the same kind of sharing that you get at 3pm, sitting under a tarp together as the rain comes down.
But good news! You don’t have to brave the mosquitos.
You just have to be willing to take a little more time. Invite someone new to join you and a friend for lunch after platform. Go to that auction event or the neighborhood potluck. Call another parent and invite their kids over for a playdate–give them the chance to get to know each other outside of Sunday morning.
Summer is the perfect time for this. One platform, fewer meetings, longer daytime hours. So I have a challenge for each of you: new folks and longtime members alike. This summer, make two new connections. Two invitations to do something outside of WES. Two opportunities to test the waters of deeper friendship. Just two–surely you have time for that?
And then, share your stories with me! My favorite part of serving WES is seeing the connections that you make. Make my day, and tell me about one. Then go out and make another.