March 23, 2016
Summer is almost here and the whole family is excited for warmer weather, time off from school, and a slower pace of life. Reality soon sets in, however, that vacations, band camps, football camps, day trips to Kings Island, summer camps, and many other options are on the table. What was supposed to be a season of catching your breath turns into a process of deciding how to best use your “summer break.” With so many great opportunities, the decision usually comes down to time, interest, and finances. Many great opportunities exist this summer, but I believe that every student should make Student Camp the top priority for the following reasons:
1. Gospel Conversations
The most important decision every person will make is what he or she believes about the gospel. The gospel, in short, is that Jesus died for you. Jesus can save anyone, at any place, at any time. However, we often see that God uses special events like camp to draw people to himself. Camp is a time where we focus heavily on the gospel. We go down water slides, run through mud pits, play paintball, zip-line, go white water rafting, and most importantly, share the gospel multiple times a day. Students may decide to attend camp for the activities (which I am totally fine with!) but end up leaving in a relationship with God. He uses all sorts of scenarios in life to show people their need for Him. However, using fun as the tool to help share the gospel can be very effective with teenagers.
2. Spiritual Decisions
For as long as I have been going to summer camp, I can’t remember a time when God didn’t do something in the lives of the people that went with me. When we get away from our everyday environments, the normal noise in our lives is turned down and our hearts have the chance to hear from God. Even when a student has a relationship with Jesus, chances are they are struggling with something in life. It may be a habitual sin, a difficult relationship, the loss of a loved one, depression, abuse, etc. Camp creates a unique, safe environment for students to address these issues. It’s a place where students can have times of repentance and can refocus on who they should follow.
3. Important Relationships
The most important time in life to choose the right friends is during the teenage years. People care about the opinion of their peers more during the teenage years than at any other time in their lives. They are influenced by what others say about them, by what is considered “cool,” and by what the popular crowd is doing. If you went to any sort of summer camp during your teen years, chances are you became very good friends with those who had the same experience as you. When you spend a week living with a group in a fun environment, you create a bond with those people. Getting students plugged in to Christian community during the teen years can literally set the course for who they are during this pivotal time in their lives. Student camp is one of the best opportunities for teenagers to establish strong, healthy relationships.
Camp is one of my favorite times of the year. God used it significantly in my life as a teenager and I have seen him use it to change the lives of many teenagers over the years. I truly believe that every student should find a way to get to summer camp. The things in which we are interested, the things on which we encourage students to spend time, and the areas in which we choose to spend our finances all speak volumes to teenagers about what is most important to us. If we say that Jesus and his church are the most important things in our lives, our interests, our time, and our finances should reflect this commitment. Student camp certainly requires a significant financial and schedule commitment, but the dividends will echo into eternity. So don’t waste your summer – join us for a fun, life-changing week of camp!