It’s Time for Summer Camp!
I remember when I first fell in love with the camping ministry. It was the summer that I brought my youngest daughter to a camp for 6-8 year olds in the state of Tennessee. She and I were both campers because, at her age, the camp had the option for parents to attend with their child as a parent camper. We both left closer to God, and God continued to work in our lives through the camping ministry. His plan for my daughter was to encourage her spiritual growth each summer as she returned to camp. I will never forget the day she came home from Teen Camp hungry for more of God and His Word. She spent weeks studying the Bible and making notes. That camp was a turning point for her. God’s plan for me went beyond just attending camp. My husband and I now direct the same camp that I attended with my daughter, the 6-8 year old camp called Big Shot Camp in the state of Tennessee.
Children, just like adults, need a time when they step away from the routine of life and meet God in a place where they can receive all He has for them. Even during His earthly ministry, Jesus took time to pause and pray, and he instructed His disciples to do the same. The camping ministry gives campers the opportunity to experience freedom from everyday life, freedom from social media, and freedom from family obligations and expectations. The atmosphere of this kind of freedom makes room for spiritual freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:7, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
As children experience spiritual freedom at camp, they can let go of life and grab hold of God.
IDEAS YOU CAN USE
Start with a Foundation of Prayer
God’s Word lets us know we are in a spiritual battle, a battle for the souls of children. We must be prepared for battle when we go to church camp. We must put on the whole armor of God to be able to stand against the enemy.
Build Your Theme on God’s Word
Building your theme around scripture will help you recruit volunteers and provide several ways to advertise your event. I’ve also learned that building your theme around scripture provides a solid foundation and helps direct staff and campers toward your goal.
Provide the Right Atmosphere
Providing the right atmosphere at camp invites children into a place where they can experience God. Atmosphere includes space and decorations, attitude, and safety.
Provide Times to Worship God
It is a beautiful sight to see children worshiping the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Every year we have campers who have never experienced true worship, so we intentionally teach them what worship is, who we are worshiping, and how to worship. We help invite children into the presence of God through worship.
State Expectations Clearly
Our Heavenly Father is clear about His expectations for us- to be fair, just, merciful, and to walk humbly with Him. Knowing what is expected helps us to follow Him and helps us know what to do next. Our campers need this at camp. Children will blossom when given clear expectations.
Camp isn’t just about receiving from God. It is also about learning how to serve God. We know that Samuel ministered before the Lord when he was a child (1 Samuel 2:18). God does not have age limits on serving.
Contributing Author: Margaret Bryant
Margaret Bryant is the Children’s Minister at Family Worship Center in Hickman, TN. She and her husband David direct Big Shot Camp at Camp Hickory Hills. They have two daughters, Alyssa and Sarah, three if we count the dog Chloe. Margaret’s desire is for all children to know they are loved by God, and God has a plan for them. Jeremiah 29:11