1. Give students an opportunity to talk about their experience. If you are at the event with them, you can debrief each night or during the last evening. If you aren’t there with them, find a time to follow up with them after camp either at church or in your home. Ask open ended questions that get them thinking: 1) What was the best thing about the week? 2) What was one thing that surprised you about the event? 3) What’s one new thought, idea, or concept that you’re bringing home with you? 4) Describe someone you met during the event? Tell me an interesting story about them. 5) Describe your energy level during the week? Why do you think that was? 6) Where did you see God at work?7) What might be one way your life will be changed because of God’s work in your heart this week?
2) Have the students write a letter to their parents / families while at the event and then mail it home. Have them tell how God worked in their hearts this week.
3) Put up pictures or a video someplace at church for people to see and for students to be reminded of their experience over the course of the fall.
4) Set up a time to talk with the students’ one on one or in a small group setting. Be an audience for them and listen to their stories. Invite them to live a God filled life during the school year.
5) Invite the students to talk about their experience during Sunday worship at your church. Give specific guidelines to make the most of the testimony: examples of how they saw God at work, where they felt God’s spirit and how they sensed their life will be changed because of their time.
6) If possible, invite the pastor to come and visit during the week or weekend (if permissible by the campground / mission organization). This will allow for the pastor /staff to get a taste of the student’s experiences.
7) Invite the prayer partners /supporters / families to a special lunch following worship to hear about your experience at camp or on the mission trip.
8) Ask the sponsors who went with you this year, if they would be wiling to go next year (while you are experiencing it together).
9) Get the dates early for next year and begin letting families of the students know about them.
10) Keep telling the stories from the summer during the school year. Explain the inside jokes to the students who didn’t experience it (include them in on it, don’t just say, you had to be there). Lovingly utilize the new (and uplifting) nicknames that kids might have acquired during the summer trip. Keep the habit of praying as a group going at home.
11) Remember, as important as a week of ministry during the summer is, nothing replaces week in and week out discipleship of meeting together, praying for each other, and modeling a faithful walk with Christ. Keep the energy going by making that foundation strong.