At the beginning of May I was sitting in church when I got this sudden inspiration, that it would be so cool if this summer all of the counselors were reading the same book together. Wouldn't it be neat if instead of just leading our campers we were supporting and growing alongside and talking with other counselors about things that really matter? Camp found the money for spiritual development and we looked for options of a book that would really connect with everyone and be applicable to what we're doing at camp. My friend Chrissy had told me about Love Does a couple weeks earlier and when I saw it in the bookstore I had a gut feeling that this was it, the book we were supposed to read this summer. A group of counselors looked at a few options and decided to go with Love Does. Camp ordered a shipment of books and I started reading and planning.
I first heard about Bob Goff when his good friend Donald Miller wrote about him in A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. He convinced Bob to write his own book-- I couldn't put it down.
“God usually chooses ordinary people like us to get things done. As I sit on my island, it becomes clear that we need to stop plotting the course and instead just land the plane on our plans to make a difference by getting to the “do” part of faith. That’s because love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: Love does.” –Bob Goff
When Jesus spoke to people he always used parables, telling a story to illustrate a point. Bob wrote his book the same way, stories of things he has done and experienced and the people that he has overlapped with. I'm so excited for counselors to read this book together this summer because this idea of love being an action, of making your words matter, of figuring out what you're passionate about and then doing it for awhile is what camp is all about.
Right after I finished the book I emailed Bob, telling him about our plan to read his book and inviting him to come to camp and yell cheers from our chairs at lunch, go on a mud hike and be part of closing campfire with us this summer. I hadn't heard back from yet when a couple of days later I found out that I had missed the last page of the book where Bob includes his phone number because he believes people should be available to one another.
So I called him. He answered the phone, "Bob Goff!" just as friendly as I had imagined. He was in the middle of talking with a friend and he asked if I could call him back ten minutes later because he really wanted to talk to me. "Of course," I told him.
A little while later he answered again and we talked like old friends, he must be used to starting conversations with all types of people by now. My hand shaking from excitement, I took notes from our conversation because I didn't want to forget a bit of it. He told me when he first said that he wanted to include his phone number that everyone thought he was insane but it was important to him, "Jesus continued to make himself more available to people and I want to follow what he did so I can be more like him. It's super inconvenient but it's awesome. I get about thirty calls a day." In just the past couple days he heard from a guy at his bachelor party and a woman on her 90th birthday that said his book changed the way she was going to live her life.
Bob and I talked about Young Life, he has been involved for decades and still has leaders and staff from Malibu come to his house every summer, and the school in Africa. They just moved students into the new building last week and are starting to build a second school. A group of Christian musicians worked together to build a music building for the school and now a man from Texas is bringing them a hundred cellos and violins and instruments so they can have a string quartet in the middle of Uganda. "Everyone is invited. People ask me what the mission is but that's just it--everyone is invited. I'll invite everyone and some awesome people will come and do awesome things here together."
He's going to be in Canada with his family all summer so he won't be able to come visit us but he wants me to email him with stories and tell him about the staff reading his book and all the capers we pull off.
This morning we had a chapel to introduce Love Does to the summer staff.
We had Morph on the keyboard, Mike on guitar and Kata on box drum. We sang favorites like Blessed Be Your Name, the Servant Song, Mighty to Save and From the Inside Out. Then we introduced The Stand, Give Me Faith and Live Like That, songs that have changed our hearts this year that we want to introduce to this staff.
Our skit was about Randy, a Young Life leader, and Bob. The story is actually a chapter right from Love Does about how Randy tells Bob "I'm with you" and actually goes with him. It's beautiful because God goes with us. He sent Christ, Emmanuel, to be with us. Now the Holy Spirit is with us. This summer we get to go with our kids. We get to show them the love of Christ in real and tangible ways.
My favorite part of being on stage is seeing the faces of everyone in the audience. I love seeing the counselor's faces worship when I can tell that they've slipped to another place and they're focused on God and no longer on anything around them. Today I loved when I saw them nod or the look of excitement when I got to tell them that this summer we're going to be reading this story together.
People have started reading and have told me they love the few pages they've already. I'm so excited for the conversations that will happen over the course of the summer.