When the official pastor / leader of the church is at camp for the week (or even a couple days) a tremendous amount of life is infused. Summer camp provides a huge foundation for faith formation in the lives of children and youth. Having the church leader at camp 1) gives the pastor insight into what the students’ experience 2) helps grow the leadership of the camp by inviting others from the church to participate, 3) gives a foundation to the week of camp as spiritual directors 4) gives the pastor an opportunity to relax with students and others from their church in a setting outside of worship 5) gives the pastor an opportunity to be in worship. I also noticed the camaraderie of pastors as they visit around lunch, dinner and afternoon breaks.
During the final assembly of last week’s camp, the camp director thanked those who helped make the week great by calling them to the front. She called up the family group leaders, the craft team, the bible teachers, the snack shack workers, the kitchen staff and dishwashers, the logistics team, the sponsors in training, the preacher, the music team and the pastors who were helping all week.
There were nearly 200 people in attendance for this Jr. High age camp and the workers were very faithful. The team was strong, the leadership was great, and the week was top notch. Many lives were changed.
Many things could be written about the week, but one thing I was intrigued by was noticing the number of pastors who were there. These folks invested five days in the lives of students and other leaders. It’s a trend that I think is good. I know the life of a pastor is busy. I also understand the desire to send volunteers / staff to lead the kids while they are at camp so they can build memories and connections.
But the impact of being with the next generation in a setting away from the church has tons of implications for the year of ministry and for the life of the church.
– Sign up to help at a camp where the largest segment of your youth / children’s ministry will be attending.
– Join your youth ministry / children’s ministry staff leaders at camp for the whole time or part of the time. With extended time at a weeklong camp, there are tons of opportunities to have great conversations about ministry with your staff.
– Accept the invitation to be the speaker / evangelist / teacher at a camp where your kids will be attending.
– Invite some from your congregation to go along with you to experience a great week or weekend of ministry.
– If you can’t make it for the week, plan to have lunch one day at the camps where your students are attending.
– Pray for the students while they are away.
– Invite students to give a testimony of their experience upon their return.