I can’t quite find where it began, but somewhere in the history of YL the tradition of the “9:38” page or “9:38” list began. A 9:38 list is a list of names you create and you commit to pray for regularly to become “workers for the harvest field.” I found one of my lists just the other day in an old Bible of mine. The idea comes from Matthew 9, here is the broader passage:
Matthew 9:35-10:4 (ESV)
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” 10:1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
I would love to break down this entire passage but people don’t like to read blog posts that are long. Here are the most obvious parts:
1) Jesus “went”
2) Jesus had compassion for people
3) Jesus observed that the people did not have a shepherd/leader
4) Jesus declared that the harvest is plentiful
5) Jesus told the disciples to pray for laborers (9:38)
6) Jesus empowered others to do the work Jesus had been doing
7) The names of these workers/laborers are listed (they were a sketchy crew, that is the theological word for them)
Right now I know a lot of us are working toward getting kids to camp. At the end of the summer many of us will recall that we (1) went, (2) had compassion, (3) recognized kids who needed a leader, and (4) saw that there were lots of kids who needed to go to camp. Don’t end at #4. Here is the important part I’d like to suggest:
Every kid we invite to camp we see as a 9:38 future co-worker for the kingdom of God.
I doubt anyone would disagree with me on this aim, but the litmus test is this: what is your follow-up plan? If you are like me you are so busy with just trying to get kids to camp that you haven’t even begun to think about follow-up after camp.
What if you turned your “kids I want to get to camp list” (I have one of these) into a “Matthew 9:38” list? This is what some people call “beginning with the end in mind.” I think if we looked at our camp lists this way it would profoundly influence how we do ministry.
I had two thoughts for this post. The first one was to get the general idea out [see above], the second part is to give some practical ideas for follow-up after camp [see below].
Here are some things you could plan right now to help your 9:38 follow-up:
All-area campaigners – In our area all the schools get together for 4-6 weeks for a huge campaigners. It looks a bit like a shorter club with a campaigners talk and then we get into cabin time groups.
Continuing your cabin time – This is the easiest way to follow-up. When you are at camp simply tell your cabin time group that you will keep meeting when you get home. I usually do this once a week.
One-on-ones – Similar to camp one-on-ones, just put in these in your schedule right now so that you have the time blocked out for when you return.
Partner with a church – Talk to churches and see if they will host your group, provide a speaker, or something similar. One year I asked if I could preach the Sunday after we returned from camp. Nearly our entire area came to hear me preach and it helped many kids go to church for the first time.
Ask people to host meals – Ask four families to provide meals for four weeks. Most likely this is easy to do now and it will help them be involved in camp (they might even sponsor a kid if you ask them to be involved with follow up!)
Share the load – Many YL areas have leaders who are in and out throughout the summer. Come up with a plan in your area to share the load. For instance, our all area campaigners helps a lot because it creates a weekly rallying point even if some of the leaders are gone that week. Maybe consider partnering up with another YL area close to you.
Above all DO SOMETHING – Don’t wait to see your camp friends at the first club of the year. Have a plan now. It might actually get you even more excited for inviting kids to camp.
These are suggestions for the first step. Imagine a kid you’ve been inviting to camp as a future co-worker for the kingdom (not just YL, the big kingdom) who has been trained by you and empowered by the Holy Spirit. That is exciting.
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