During my last couple months as the Gateway District NextGen Rep, I am particularly thankful to have been invited to our Missouri camp to serve as camp speaker for half of the senior high week and to play drums on the worship team for the junior high week. It worked out for me to bring along three of the kids as well: Kella, Zion, and Dairian. And Kella got to be a camper during the junior high week. All three of them had a blast! And I did as well.

It’s a 15-hour drive from Bayfield, CO, to Camp Hebron, so we split it up both ways by staying with our friends and pastors, the Birmingham’s, in Wichita, KS, both ways. So thankful for the rest stop and for good friends!

The first week, we arrived half-way through, tag-teaming with Jessie Cruickshank as the speaker for the senior highers. I preached, threw dirt, got a few laughs, and Holy Spirit worked through God’s Word and in ministry times as well. I LOVE sharing at camp!

Over the weekend, we enjoyed some solo time at Camp Hebron’s amazing pool. So relaxing and refreshing! We spent four hours there on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon! We also discovered Mr. Ed’s Drive In, which serves some pretty amazing ice cream Sundays. We visited Grace Church in Springfield, had lunch with the Bean’s (pastors at Grace), visited the incredibly huge Bass Pro Shop, and tried out some of the highly recommended Andy’s Custard (cold stuff is always a hit when visiting Missouri in the summer).

Week two, as I mentioned, I got to join the camp worship team on drums. It has been several years since I’ve played, but I loved having the opportunity. It was great getting to play with such an awesome group of musicians and friends. Also, later in the week, I filled in teaching a couple of workshops on being baptized in the Holy Spirit after one of the staffers had to leave unexpectedly for a family loss. It was an incredibly rewarding time.

My kids left sharing stories of their adventures and Dairian was singing along to every song of the camp worship list on the way home. Pretty cool!

Camps matter. They change kids’ lives. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity these past eight years to be so fully immersed in the Gateway District summer camp culture. I look forward to seeing what God does through the next NextGen Rep!


Shawn Michael

Husband, father, musician, pastor, Internet junkie, and Foursquare District NextGen Rep for the Gateway District