In a few short days my wife and I will be heading to Bushnell, Illinois for Cornerstone Festival. We have begun our daily menu and packing plans. This is a Christian music festival that started with Jesus People USA and grows stronger each year. The last time I attended was back in 94-95 and about 25,000 people were in attendance. I had to stop going the year I became a youth pastor. Growing up in the Assemblies of God it was kind of the thing to do to go off to Summer Camp at Spencer Lake. The only problem was I went once as a teen and disliked it. It seems if you were not into sports or hooking up for a one week fling....it wasn't for you. Sure there are allot of good things about it, but let's face it...allot of youth groups and camps have to do with sports. I am a geek. The two don't mix in school and they won't at summer camp either.
When I became a youth pastor the first thing I asked was to not take the teens to Spencer Lake, but rather take them to Cornerstone Festival. What a great place with teaching, worship, and many of today's big name Christian artists. This year some of the big names include Toby Mac, David Crowder Band and many more (which I won't be seeing). I will be attending the smaller stages where the good music is lol (Iona, Living Sacrifice, GKB, etc.). Needless to say this idea was shot down IMMEDIATELY and I had no chance of making this happen. It was like this for 9 years and when I became the lead pastor of Radiant Fellowship, I was asked to remain a part of the family camp which is for the entire family. It was great seeing the youth portion grow from 12+ teens meeting once a day for a few minutes to 140+ in morning and evening services. I brought in a full worship team for the week and different Christian rock and hip hop groups from all over the USA. It was basically an hour and a half youth rally two times a day. It was fun and I am thankful for the opportunity to serve...however the whole time I was thinking I am one step closer to my dream and that is to share a message with the adults in the "CAMP SANCTUARY". Well, that never did happen. I ended up kind of bitter from it and quietly left family camp after an awesome run where things exploded quickly for the teen service. It was funny to see adults attending the teen services throughout the week.
You know...it is funny how God works. This year I am going back to my favorite family camp...this year I am going back to Cornerstone Festival! There is something truly life changing about this place. Those that attend I am sure would tell you the same thing. This year I have been asked to speak at the Sanctuary Tent with a message God has given me to share. This is not just one night either, this is throughout the week! My dream did come true! I wanted to be a speaker at a family camp and I never dreamed God would have placed me back at the camp I enjoy and hear from God. A camp where geeks (and jocks) have things to do. I have even been asked to be an official blogger for the event. This is a camp with 25,000+ people attending and for some reason God laid on Pastor Bob Beeman's heart to have me share in his absence. I am truly humbled!!!!! This is going to be the start of a great family tradition. My kids will grow up knowing what Cornerstone Festival is. When we camp by the Jesus Movement people, they will hear stories that will encourage them. This year it is just Tracy and I going due to the kids ages. Next year? I think the kids will begin to attend as well (unless Grandma says "no" and keeps them that week).
Camping for a week in a tent while cooking meals on a camp stove enjoying great teaching, great bands, and I get to share messages on my heart is going to make for one AWESOME week! God.....thanks!