As a pastor there is a lot that I love about being in ministry. But what I have the most fun doing is big events. For youth, that means CAMP!!! I love every part of it! The sudden inspiration for a camp theme based on commercial from 10 years ago that your remembered when you hit your head getting into your car; the crazy skits that make no sense, but for 1 week in the summer that super hero with no real powers will mean everything; the creation of games that no one has ever done before and that no one will ever do again (ask me about “The Mousetrap”); the writing of quiet times; the study and writing of small groups and training small group leaders; having great conversations with speakers and bands; sweating so much you don’t know how you can sweat anymore; sweating when you go to sleep and then waking up at 3 in the morning freezing only to wake up at 6:30 in the morning sweating; there is just so much that goes into doing your own camp, but I love every part of it! We do all of this and more all for those moments that change us and our students forever.
Summer camp means sweating when you go to sleep and then waking up at 3 in the morning freezing only to wake up at 6:30 in the morning sweating!
That student who realizes for the first time who Jesus is; the student who in conversation during small groups gets so excited because the truth of Christ comes alive; the small group leader who God uses to lead a student to Jesus, or uses their shoulder to cry on. We do it all for those moments. For those that are just starting out and doing their own camp for the first time or for the vet who has put on so many they can’t even tell you what last years theme was, here are 3 tips to remember when developing camps.
3 Tips for Summer Camp
Go All Out for the Big Things, So Students will Remember the Important Things
The ultimate goal of any church summer camp is to lead students to Christ. Lost students need Jesus and the christian students need Jesus. That’s important! If you fail here the camp is a failure, you haven’t done anything but have a fun camp. Without life change it’s just another camp. However, if there is great material but camp isn’t fun, you should have just stayed home because that information isn’t going to stick. So go all out on your theme! Go all out on games! Go all out on training leaders. These are the big things that will make the important things have greater impact.
5 of us got into a nasty lake and waited until our skin shriveled, leeches attached to our legs, and we got tired of treading water. But what happened next, people still talk about. “Hey, you remember that time you made Jesus walked on water?” Yeah, we do. What the 5 of us remember most is that on a perfectly clear night with a full moon, at just the perfect time, God put a cloud over the moon to hide us so that He was glorified. You want to make moments that students will remember forever. You want to create memories, so that when life gets in the way a memory sends them right back to camp and Christ. See, what you want for your students is 20 years from now, you want them to say…
“No one has ever done that before!”
“How did we ever get away with that!”
“I’ve never seen anything like that, ever!”
“I can’t believer we did that!”
Pray, Pray, Pray
This seems a bit obvious, however, sometimes it’s so obvious we forget. So much of camp needs prayer. There is too much that we want God to do and so much that can go wrong. Please – DO NOT FORGET TO PRAY!
One more thing. PRAY!
P.S. I would love to help you with your events, please contact me, even if it’s just to bounce ideas off someone.