Thursday, July 24, 2014

What's So Special About Church Camp? Part 4

P - Camp is the chance to Prepare.

Camp is kind of a unique thing. There's a unique emphasis on spiritual things and doing the right thing. Sometimes it's easier to feel like a Christian at camp, surrounded by other Christian kids, or at least kids not exactly opposed to Christianity.

But that's not the way life is the rest of the year. We do our best to equip kids to face the real world. We teach a biblical worldview. Not just what we believe but why we believe it. Kids are not too young to learn apologetics.

Some kids need the time at camp to realize they don't need their phones every second of the day.

Some kids need camp to learn how to make friends with a new crowd of people.

Some kids need camp to learn how to lose gracefully.

Some kids need camp to see how they can push themselves and feel pleased by their efforts.

Some kids need to see what a godly man or woman act like, how they respond to difficulties or trouble.

Some kids need to be reminded that commitment to Christ is not just words we say, but a life to live.

Camp, done right, is a way to prepare a child for the other 51 weeks of the year.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What's So Special About Church Camp? Part 3

M - a chance to Minister.

Some children receive this benefit - a chance to minister to others - as well as the adults. A popular child will reach out and include a new kid. A child will sit with a hurt friend since she can't go on the hike. Someone will help a friend make her bunk before inspections. They'll work together on projects and during group activities.

But in spite of those things, this one is primarily why church camp is good for adults:

A chance to unplug (although maybe not as completely as we enforce this rule for the kids. Counselors with spouses back home have to check up every once in awhile)

A chance to learn patience.

A chance to sacrifice your own desires (MORE SLEEP!) for the good of others

A chance to benefit from truth, simply explained

The staff from our church does not pressure children to make a decision about Christ. We never - not ever - ask a child to pray after us or say some words.

We listen.

We teach.

We try to answer their questions (and children have a lot of questions) as best we can with the Bible.

And we pray, a lot.

We aren't trying to make a quota of professions of faith (real or imagined). Instead, we pray for the Holy Spirit to do what only He can do and awaken these young spirits to their need for a Savior. The joy of it is we get to be part of that.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What's So Special About Church Camp? Part 2

What's so great about church camp?

A - A chance to Achieve.

Our camp has memory work, team competitions, personal challenges, sports, swimming, bunk inspections, board games, and challenges that stretch your creative muscles (design a flag, make a poster for your team, make up a song about your team, etc.)

No child excels at everything we do. Some children will not be recognized as the fastest runner or the neatest bunk. Some will stare at a creative assignment with blank faces. Some will breeze through their memory work and others will struggle. Some will be constantly surrounded by a group of buddies and others will take longer to warm up. Some will quickly grasp the rules of a new game and others will need two (or three, or more...) explanations. Some will sing enthusiastically in choir or act their hearts out in drama. Some will wish they could do craft every night.

Some children will be staying away from home for the first time, proving to themselves (and their parents) that they can do it.

For the staff, it's a chance to push ourselves. Play more games of dodgeball than we have in an entire year. Swim more. Stay up later and get up earlier. Supervise more meals, patch up more scrapes, remind more children about sunscreen, sing longer and louder, answer hard questions, pray more.

This is why everyone goes home happy and exhausted. You've achieved something - you worked hard and if God blesses, then lives have been changed.