Multiplication Center

Investing the Summer in Young People

July 11, 2011

A few weeks ago an obituary appeared in many places about the death of a prominent Twin Cities area pastor.

Paul Youngdahl was 73 and still the lead pastor at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church. The church is one of the largest in the Lutheran tradition. His father had pastored the church as well in previous decades.

I think I met him once at one of our forums years ago and I know I have met some of their staff along the way, but I must confess I know little about him or the church.

But this remembrance by Randall Balmer really caught my eye for one notable pattern of his use of time.

This section in particular:
“Youngdahl spent 10 weeks every summer at the church's Cathedral of the Pines camp on Lake Caribou in northeastern Minnesota. He believed that youth was the key to the future of the church.
Hardly an original observation, but he took a personal interest in the younger generation, from serving as a mentor to playing pickup basketball, even into his 70s.

“Camp is the greatest life and growth program we have here at Mount Olivet,” he told me. “When we get the kids there they never want to leave this congregation.”

Looking on the church’s web site, it appears that the Cathedral of the Pines Camp is not a modern luxury palace. In fact before the camp sessions open, it looked like Pastor Youngdahl and another pastor personally lead the work camp to put the camp into shape for all the children, youth, singles and others that will use the camp in the summer.

Also from the church’s web site I saw the variety of camps offered both to congregational members and to outsiders throughout the summer.

And according to this remembrance, this is where this Lead Pastor of a very LARGE church placed himself in ministry every summer.

Now I am not advocating that every church go buy a camp. Camps are like Christian schools. Churches that have them want to get rid of them and churches that don’t have them think they want them.

But what if, as a Lead Pastor of a Large Church, you spent 8-10 weeks of the summer ministering to the children and youth of your church and community?

How would that change….
Your Church?
Your Teaching Team?

I would love to hear your thoughts….

I will post a follow up next week with some collection of your thoughts and mine. So send them in!

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