The coming of Spring means Summer is fast approaching. Now is the time to plan ahead (if you haven’t already) for bringing the kids in your family ministry to a summer camp. Here are 4 things I think you should know about Christian summer camps:
1. Camp is Often THE Highlight of a Kid’s Year – or Life
Kids will often remember these experiences until they day they die. Why? Because summer camp touches the deepest parts of our senses and needs in life. In my opinion, summer camp is one of the most effective forms of ministry and outreach to kids. The rest of this article will explain why I think that.
2. Taking Kids to an Exciting New World Opens Up Their Hearts and Minds
A few weeks ago, my wife and I took our toddler daughter to the local petting zoo. My daughter is 17 months old and had been cooped up indoors for much of this past winter. When she finally met the live goats and sheep (things she had only known from picture books), her face lit up, she danced, she talked incessantly, and her overall demeanor was illuminated.
This is what happens when you bring your kids to summer camp. They get away from the video games and television and finally breath fresh air in a new and wonderful place, where they can safely explore and play. This does something remarkable to their hearts, minds, and spirits. It opens them up in fresh ways that would otherwise not be opened back home on their familiar turf. It is then that we take these open hearts and show them the love of Jesus Christ.
3. Christian Camping is About “Making Space”
I once heard recording artist Michael Card share about the idea of “making space” for God to do His work in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We make space by taking Sabbaths, spending quiet times in prayer, and going to places where we remove all the clutter so that we can hear and see God more clearly. Jesus was in the business of making space for the Father to move in the lives of those around Him. Summer camp is a ministry of “making space” for God to work in these kids’ lives. We take them far away from home, give them plenty of spaces to move around and play, and then we watch as God does amazing things.
4. Summer Camp is All Over the Bible
God placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden, not a video arcade. God led Abraham far from his home to set up “camp” in a new promised land. Joseph left home (not by his own accord) and ended up thriving in this far-from-home atmosphere. Ruth and Naomi left their familiar home, only to find God’s blessing on their lives in their new settlement. Shepherd boy David could have stayed home with his father and animals, but he made the long journey to his brothers’ “camp” and discovered that God had big plans for him at camp.
And then there’s Joshua, Jonah, Esther, Daniel – all who found God’s favor only after they made a bold journey or were uprooted from what was familiar to them. Don’t forget the New Testament – like Mary and Joseph, the 12 disciples, Paul, and Peter. Even John received the vision that became Revelation when he was far away on a tiny Greek island called Patmos.
It doesn’t take long to realize that most heroes of the Bible were not the kind of people who stayed in their comfortable home and town all year-round. They went away (either intentionally or unintentionally) and God did great things. I believe God will do great things in the lives of your kids, parents, chaperones, teenagers, pastors – everyone who goes to camp. There’s something about going far away that makes space for God to do what He does best – change us.
No more excuses. Sign up for a Christian summer camp and take all your kids. Empower parents with the information that will let them know the importance of summer camp (like this article). I would recommend starting at http://www.ccca.org/ to search for a quality Christian summer camp or retreat center.
What is your camp story? Why do you think summer camp is so important?