When I was asked by the library ministry at my church to recommend and review some books, this was always at the top of my list. I found this book to be applicable to my life in so many ways. Like Jon, I too had powerful experiences that shaped my spiritual life and the course of my future at my home church camp. I spent two years as a counselor for a week of junior cabin camp, and one summer as an employee of the same camp. I am also currently working a few small jobs in which I work with preschoolers. I have discovered that I personally know a few of the kids Jon worked with at his camp. Finally, I also met Jon in person a few months back, and even heard him retell a few of these stories live. I enjoyed this book all the more when I realized all the connections I have to the stories in it. This book is an easy read and would be a great resource for anyone, if you take the time to read it. If you want to know more about this book or its author, just ask
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” – Matthew 19:14
The concept of becoming like a child for the kingdom of heaven is one that has confused Christians for centuries. I think this is because there is a tension between the immaturity of childhood and the maturity needed to be the complete person we are called to be in Christ. Many people fall into one of these two extremes, either assuming the mentality of an immature child (“I don’t want to grow up!”) or the overly mature adult (“I’m too grown up for that!”). All the while, they are missing the call of Christ to live somewhere in between, retaining the genuine qualities of a child-like faith, joy, and authenticity while still pursuing the maturity needed to attain completion in Him. One of the best ways to learn how to do this is to observe firsthand what it looks like when kids are able to live out these qualities, especially when it’s done with the intention of learning from them. That’s what happened to Jon Jorgenson over the course of eight summers he served as a camp counselor at a Christian theater camp, and it changed the way he saw everything.
In his book, Authentic Love, Jorgenson tells the stories of how several of the kids he worked with impacted his understanding of faith and authenticity. You will enjoy stories of food in the cafeteria, mail time games, intense dodgeball, and a camp talent show. You will learn how he eventually managed to memorize every camper name each week every summer, or how he survived being the camp director on the last full day of camp after pulling an all-nighter (which was quite an impressive feat). You will hear the stories of some of the fun kids that he worked with, and reveals that they taught him more than he could have taught them. Although this was his first book, published when he was only 22, his entertaining stories reveal powerful truth in an applicable way. His passion and love for these kids, as well as the lessons they taught him, is evident on every page. Although Jon went on to be in a Broadway play, found a popular YouTube channel, and become a travelling speaker, he will tell you that he owns much of who he has become today to these kids and lessons they taught him. I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to teens, young adults, and anyone that works with kids. The stories in this book will probably have something to teach you as well. This book is now available from more book distributors than before, so get your copy today!
For more of Jon’s writings, both on his blog posts and his other books, check out his blog: www.jonjorgensonblog.com
You can also check out Jon’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheAnimaSeries
(Note: He recently changed the name of the channel. It used to be The Anima Series, but it’s now just Jon Jorgenson)
To read the story of how I met Jon, click here