(This is a blog I sent to the Church of God ministers of South Carolina)
Some of my earliest memories include attending the South Carolina Campmeeting at Mauldin.
For the first part of my ministry Campmeeting was a greatly anticipated annual event. In the early years of my ministry my parents pastored the Mauldin COG which allowed Sonja and me to spend time with them and also attend Campmeeting without an undue financial strain on us or our church. Those were special years.
I must confess that as the years went by and my responsibilities and work load increased Campmeeting became more of a burden than a privilege to me. I was blessed to have Campmeeting quality worship every Sunday (I even enjoyed my own preaching…most of the time) and a week away from my church attending Campmeeting only left me weary and more behind in my workload.
However, whether it was to get away for a few days and meet old friends and be refreshed or whether it was more about duty, without fail, I have always attended Campmeeting.
The main reason is that I feel like attending Campmeeting pleases God.
I know we do not live under the Old Testament Covenant, but the Law does teach us about God’s nature, priorities, and wishes for us. It also teaches us a lot about how life on planet earth works best.
And one of the things that God insisted on for his people is that they appear regularly before at the temple. A few times a year they would drop what they were doing and leave their synagogues and shops, and their house and fields untended and unwatched and make a long trek up to Jerusalem to appear before their God.
I considered Campmeeting (and Prayer Conference and other all-hands-on-deck State events) an equivalent of “going up to Jerusalem to present myself to God” event.
Attending Campmeeting was good for me. It reminded me:
- That ultimately, life is not about me and what I want to do but about obeying God
- That I had to be accountable to those over me in the Lord. If my Overseer called a meeting, then who was I to ignore it? As the ole-timers used to call it—“I don’t want to get to big for my britches”
- That I was a part of something bigger than my own little world
- That I was a part of a family and families get together
- That friendships were more important than positions and workloads (all assignments end but friendships can last a lifetime if you invest in them)
These are just a few of the reasons I faithfully (and sometimes dutifully) attended Campmeeting these last 37-years. And I can honestly say, without exception, there would always been a “God-moment” during the week. I come looking for that moment. Some of the most important spiritual moments of my life have occurred under that old Mauldin Tabernacle. Moments with God that set direction for me and recalibrated purpose and hope in my life.
I will be looking for one of those God-moments this year and I believe God will be looking to give me one, but I will have to be there.
The journey will be a lot shorter this year (!) but there is still a long distance between what I can be for my Lord and what I actually am. I believe this year’s Campmeeting will help shorten the distance for me and I pray the same for you…if you are willing to make the effort to be here.