In this day, the Lord is raising up a generation of bold lovers of Jesus, ones who are not ashamed of their faith and live for Him in their churches, schools, families, and society at large.

Why Camp Is As Important As Ever

by Lenny La Guardia
3 months ago Awakening Teen Camps

Perhaps now more than ever, we must guard ourselves, and our children, from falling into isolation. Why is this important? Because the Lord God made us for relationships! And not just relationships through a computer screen or phone, but rich, vibrant, in-person relationships. The book of Genesis mentions that God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. And while sin separated them from God, and from one another, in Christ those divisions are healed so that we can enjoy healthy fellowship again.

There is a great need for this fellowship, especially in a day and age of social isolation (because of the coronavirus), racial tension, and overall conflict in society. As members of the Church, the Body of Jesus Christ, we are called to come together around our love for our King and for one another. Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). And while we might have been challenged to express that love during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we remain firmly committed to living out the commands and ways of Christ.

As director of children’s ministry at IHOPKC, I’m particularly passionate about seeing young people raised up to walk with Jesus for a lifetime. While the Lord wants to encounter each child—regardless of age—individually, He also works through groups. In this day, the Lord is raising up a generation of bold lovers of Jesus, ones who are not ashamed of their faith and live for Him in their churches, schools, families, and society at large.

My wife, Tracy, and I have given our lives to this cause; indeed, it is the bedrock of our ministry. Since joining the International House of Prayer 20 years ago, we have developed camps for young people (Signs & Wonders Camps for ages 4–12, and Awakening Teen Camps for ages 12–18) to nurture and develop their relationship with God. These camps also provide an important social outlet where like-minded youth come together around the person of Jesus.

As most children ended the school year isolated from their classmates while having to spend the last few months at home, we are particularly excited to offer our camps this summer. Of course, we will be taking extra safety and sanitary precautions to ensure the well-being of all of our campers (read my letter here), but our DNA remains the same: worship, encounter, relationships, fun. The challenges we face may be new, but we’re not deviating from the One who not only warned us of this day but also promised salvation to those who will persevere (Matthew 24:4–14).

As parents ourselves, my wife and I want to see families refreshed, including a break for parents and a chance for children to “act like children” again—running, playing, worshiping, praying—and do these things with their peers. I can think of no better place for that than at one of our summer camps. If the threats and crises in our nation are as real as they seem, and if Jesus promised that more shakings are coming, now is not the time to retreat in fear!

Rather, we must direct our hearts—and the hearts of our children—into God’s great love and hope. That is our intention at Signs & Wonders Camps and Awakening Teen Camps. Would you give us the privilege of having time with your precious child or children this summer so that you can have a break and they can have some of the social outlet (and normalcy) that they need in an environment that fosters relationship with God and with each other?

You can learn more about our camps here. Tracy and I look forward to hosting many young people in Kansas City this summer!

Lenny La Guardia

position

  • Vice President of Ministries, IHOPKC
  • Executive Director, Children's Equipping Center, IHOPKC

For over three decades, Lenny and Tracy La Guardia have devoted their lives locally and internationally to equipping, empowering, and mobilizing young people, parents, and leaders with biblical truths and relevant strategies for ministering to children and youth today. Lenny and Tracy are the executive directors of the Children’s Equipping Center (CEC) at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, where they lead a missionary staff that equips children from all over the world. Currently, the CEC provides over 130 hours a week of children’s services. Lenny also serves as the senior vice president of IHOPKC’s Ministries and Justice Divisions, giving oversight to vital ministries that mobilize the values and priorities of the IHOPKC Missions Base in Kansas City and abroad. Lenny started the Grandview, Missouri, Police Chaplains in 2007 and currently serves as a police chaplain. Lenny and Tracy have been married for 38 years and have five children: Leonard, Leatha, Andrea, Adrienne, and Shontavion.

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