I wrote this post last year before our Summer Camp, and I thought it would be appropriate to share it again, as we have camp coming up this Sunday!
It’s camp season right now for us, and it’s a huge part of what we build towards all year. Not only is it so much fun, but it is truly a life-changing experience. Those who’ve attended or served at a camp know this, because they’ve seen it firsthand. Every year we see students commit to Jesus, make new friends, have fun, and come home with a renewed passion to pursue God’s purpose for their lives.
That’s why it’s funny to me that year after year we encounter resistance from students and parents alike when it comes to camp. For whatever reason, they’ve chosen to not see the value of camp. Or, they say they can’t afford it because of the $$$ they just spent on new J’s, baseball camp, etc.
So, I figured I’d write a few reminders about Why CAMP is so Awesome:
1. It’s a BREAK from normal.
A lot of people say things like, “I shouldn’t have to go away to camp to connect with God…” The funny thing is, most of the people who say that are the ones who are stuck in routine, without purpose and completely disconnected from God. Something special happens when you break from your routine, turn off your phone (there’s no reception anyways) and take an extended period of time to awaken your physical and spiritual senses. This happens at camp.
2. It’s NOT convenient.
Camp costs money. It requires time off of work and time away from family. It takes planning and sacrifice. It’s not convenient, and it shouldn’t be. If church always has to be convenient, it’s going to translate down the road to a very weak faith. The reason we prioritize certain things is because we know that if we don’t, they’ll fall to a lower place where they shouldn’t be. If we’re not careful, we’ll make the things of God an afterthought rather than a priority. Placing something at a high priority shows that – though it may be difficult to maintain – it’s worth prioritizing. Make camp a priority!
P.S. Parents – Please know that a passive approach to the things of God will often translate to your kids becoming passive Christians (if they even keep their faith at all). It’s not about camp, but what camp is about. I do know that there are times where your student will miss things like camp. IT’S OKAY! Just be careful that you’re not consistently sending a message that sports/friends/fun/etc is MORE important than God. It’s not.
3. FRIENDSHIPS are made.
Great friends usually aren’t made overnight. The reason we have games, swimming, competitions, all while sharing small rooms for 5 days is to foster relationships. Students who come to camp lonely usually end up coming home with many new friends.
4. Lasting MEMORIES are made.
I still remember the nights where all of us guys stayed up til 2am farting and telling stories about farting. I also remember how those talks led to us talking about life and what God was doing in us. I remember getting duck-taped to several other 7th graders by all the 8th graders (don’t worry that wont happen at our camp). I remember playing the most intense games of ultimate frisbee. I remember having to guzzle a can of grass jelly juice (so gross) so my team would win. I proposed to my wife twice at camp (long story)! I’ll never forget the memories made at camp, and neither will you.
5. JESUS does stuff.
Ultimately, this is truly the why behind camp. All of the planning, fundraising, tweeting, coordinating – it’s all to create an environment where God can do great things. Talk about making memories… It was at camp where God gave me glimpses and visions of who He was calling me to be. Every year students are marked by God in ways they’ll never forget. Many students come closed off, but by the last night (having spent several days away from their phones and the harsh realities of life, all in a safe environment with friends having fun) their guard is down and God ends up changing their lives forever.
6. It’s a great way to LAUNCH into the Fall.
We strategically plan camp to be just before the school year starts and life gets busy. Camp is a great way to allow God to give you a vision for what he wants to do through you (or your student) this year! Before you go off to camp this year, talk to God about what you want to see him do in/through you this year.
6. It’s a BLAST.
It’s really fun. Duh.
While there are plenty more, I ain’t tryna write a novel. Also, please know that I am NOT calling anyone out, and that I do NOT think you’re a bad Christian if you don’t value camp! I just really believe in what Camp is all about!