Green South Carolina countryside rolled by as we drove down dirt roads to Tracy’s Camp, Cookout drinks in hand. We talked over open windows and rush of air, wondering what the weekend would hold. What were we expecting? Why were we taking a weekend to spend together as Summer LINKers in the middle of nowhere? Simply put, we were launching into relationship. We aimed to set the groundwork for a summer of service and growth.

Upon arrival, we lugged our baggage into the cabins and took out a volleyball. Dark clouds swirled in with threat of rain, and we moved inside. After several thoroughly confusing games of four on a couch (which the guys won), we went to bed. Next morning, Matt, our Summer LINK Director, shared our theme for the summer: Reconciled. In 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Paul explains to the Corinthians that they have been moved from enemies to friends of God, and begs them to engage in the ministry of reconciliation. How amazing to see that God has done the work to bring us to Himself! How can we not share such good news with others?

God used the weekend to jumpstart in us a passion for serving because of what Christ has done in and for us. All of our Summer LINKers have either jobs or classes over the summer, so a weekend together laid the groundwork for community. Our goal for the summer is threefold: to know Christ, to become like Christ, and to make Christ known as we do life where God has placed us, engaging in the ministry of reconciliation.

How will we pursue these things over the summer? First, we will seek to know Christ by studying the Bible together and memorizing 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. Every Tuesday morning we will meet for a prayer meeting, and on Tuesday evenings we will share dinner and a Theme Night equipping talk. Thursday nights we will meet for Discipleship Groups. On Saturdays, we will have evangelism training, and then work with a couple from Citadel Square to do a children’s club ministry with Latino children.

Second, we aim to become like Christ as a team. God intended life to be done in community, and we are thrilled for the opportunity to do life together this summer, to extend grace and Christ’s love as we discover rough edges in our lives. Friday evenings will be Team Social time with the goal of growing in relationship with each other. Saturday afternoons will be a time of community service as we aim to pour into others the love that Christ has shown us. On Sunday mornings, Summer LINKers will serve at Citadel Square Church, learning what it looks like to actively use their gifts to bless the Body of Christ.

Third, we seek to make Christ known as we grow over the summer. Since all of the Summer LINKers are working or doing classes outside of Summer LINK, they each have natural environments in which to build relationships with people who don’t know Christ. These relationships provide an amazing opportunity to practice Gospel service through a normal routine. Ultimately, there is no better way to build a lifestyle of evangelism and discipleship. We will do this in community, praying for one another and holding each other accountable.

We left Tracy’s Camp late on Sunday morning, mud splashing and the car bouncing as we carefully maneuvered the country roads. Cool air and cloudy skies contrasted the norm of boiling liquid air in Charleston’s heat. In our car, one emotion stuck out to me: excitement. Excitement to see what God will do in and through us. Excitement to grow in love for one another and love for God, and excitement, compelled by the love of Christ, to share His love this summer with the lost of Charleston.

Timothy Buttram

Summer LINK Charleston Assistant Director