Tag Archives: vital churches

Just Go – A Reflection by Curtis Clarke on his MTOP experience

“You just have to go and experience it for yourself” Those were the words my pastor told me about Mountain T.O.P. Similar advice was reinforced by other members of my church who had spent a week on the mountain; “I can’t explain it to you, just go”.
It was 2008 and my wife and I had been working with the youth at our church since the previous fall. I had been on a mission trip in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina a few years earlier and was excited about “getting blisters for Jesus” again. We had done all the fundraising and training needed for the trip and as I said goodbye to my family and friends for a week, I had no idea what I was doing or how my life would be forever changed by my time on the mountain.
During the course of the week, I soon discovered that time on the mountain is more than just a mission trip; it’s more than just swinging a hammer or running a saw. It’s an immersion in a culture and it’s the building of a community. My first week at Mountain T.O.P. taught me that each and every one of us has a gift and talent that can and needs to be used in the service of others. It restored my hope that there is a generation that is willing to sacrifice and commit to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It also brought about a stirring in my spirit that led me to answer God’s call on my life and go into pastoral ministry full time, and for that I am forever thankful.
The joy I have now as a pastor is being able to introduce others to this ministry and to be able to see the change in them after a week on the mountain, both spiritually and emotionally. I often tell people, “time on the mountain doesn’t change you; it reveals who you really are”. When someone asks me what a week in camp is like, then only thing I can tell them is; “You just have to experience it for yourself”.
In His grip,
Rev. Curtis Clarke
Pastor, Armada UMC & West Berlin UMC