Thursday, June 11, 2009

Camps, Retreats and Summer Oh, My!

I've spoken with many Youth pastors and Pastors on the subject of "summer camp."
The responses are quite mixed, they range from;
Love to go to camp, it's great for the teens.
Camps are a necessary evil.
Got to keep teens busy.
Summer camp, ahhh!!!

Honestly, we've probably dealt with ALL of those feelings at one time or another.
I've always viewed camp as a great time to take teens away and get them exposed to something bigger than the local church while at the same time forming bonds with the teens. Regardless of your feelings about this time of year, allow me to share some thoughts on the subject.

I have the honor to speak at a camp this summer and then turn around and take a group of teens from a church to another camp.
Back to Back.
I've been doing some praying and research about camp and here's what I've discovered.

In a survey of over a 100 teens, a simple question was asked, "have you ever made a decision at a camp to make Jesus Lord of your life and has that still held true today?"

7 out of 10 said yes! The actual stat is 71% of teens asked said, they made a commitment to follow Christ and are still doing so.

Wow! What a return on an investment!

Here's another tidbit of info, several youth pastors got together and came up with 11 different things they thought teens would like at a camp. They then gave the list to those teens and asked them to rank the top 3 that was most important to them at camp. (I've added a pic below for total view)

42% said "More in-depth exploration of God"

41% said "Building deeper friendships"

Wow! Now think about this; Jesus gave us the two greatest commandments: love God with all that is within us and love people in the same way. Seems that camp is a great tool to help teens foster that type of mentality.

Now here is the final thought about these and many more findings.

It really doesn't matter if it's a small camp or large camp. What does matter is putting everything into the planning stage and execution to making it the best camp you can on whatever budget you have to work with.

No one likes cheesy (ok, some people do, it's why there are books dedicated to poking fun of church marquee signs---I have two books, they're great.....they give my purpose strength!!)

Teens don't like cheesy, but they hate fake more!
Cheesy can be tolerated, but if it's not real, they'll check out in a heartbeat.

This summer ask God to give you fresh vision for your teens, ideas for the camp experience to make their experience with God real and with others, loving.

1 comment:

  1. I only went to one "church camp" as a teenager and that was my Senior year. I was already a believer, but it was there I felt God call me to Youth took me a while to see that crystallize


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