My wife and I met at a Christian camp where she was serving on full time staff and I was invited as a guest speaker for staff training week. Ironically, my assigned topic that week was “Relationships.”
Previously, I had worked at another large Christian camp which, in the years after I left, chose to drop the “camp” moniker in favor of “sports resort.” The “campers” were thereafter referred to as “guests.” In some respects, I was quite happy to have missed that transition. More recently, the camp’s name has become the brand and “sports resort” has been dropped, at least in the official nomenclature.
But in any ministry endeavor — as in the wider spectrum of life — terminology is constantly in flux.
|Here’s an interesting change that’s taken place in the last decade: Can you think of a word in which the singular form is always male, but the plural form can be male, female or mixed? Answer in the comments.|
In many churches that were around in the mid-20th-century, the person who directed the music portion of the church service was the “song leader,” not the “worship leader.” Actually, many churches don’t use the word “services” anymore, they create “environments.” And if you do call them services, you don’t say “Sunday services,” because that doesn’t take in the ever-growing popularity of Saturday options, hence “weekend services.”
Meanwhile, back at camp, I was surprised this week when my youngest son corrected me as to his job description when I called him a counselor: “It’s ‘cabin leader,’ not counselor.”
When I pressed him on this, he explained that with so many kids coming as campers who are caught up in the net of social services, the word ‘counselor’ is loaded with baggage. While I’m sure that some of these kids look forward to the weekly gabfest with the counselor in question, apparently the term is pejorative for enough of them that a new vocabulary is needed.
And that’s just sad.
I guess it’s unfortunate that many of them need a counselor, disturbing that probably many of them are shunted around to different counselors, and sad that the whole scenario brings with it negative connotations.
Hopefully in the change of words the essence remains intact: Kids get away from family, friends, computer and life in the city and get to refocus in an entirely fresh setting. Between that, and the focus on Jesus in the songs, skits and ministry time, great things can happen in a kid’s life.
With all that taking place, it’s great for a kid to have someone to talk with, no matter what you call him or her.
Photo: Heartland Christian Camp in the mountains of California. Take a deep breath… you can smell the forest. Click the image for more about the camp, or this link for more photos.