The following is an excerpt originally published in “Camp! A Leader’s Guide to Making the Most Out of Camp” on My Healthy Church Youth blog.
Every year, I think of three things that camp allows me to build into the life and the health of my youth ministry:
1. Build Runways
Camp is not a stand-alone event that only finds its impact in itself. On the contrary, it’s a landing strip for next steps and a runway for next-level dreams. I always ask myself how I can take 3–4 weeks prior to camp and build momentum so that my students can maximize their camp experience. I then look at the 3–4 weeks after camp and build intentional runways for students to sustain the commitments they made at camp by creating intentional message series’ and daily devotionals that will set them up for success.
2. Build Leaders
Bring adult leaders to camp! Seriously. Camp is a safe place for you to get to know your leaders, trust them with responsibility, and give them inroads into the lives of your students. Your leaders will have the opportunity to validate students on the sports field so that they will have permission to pray with those same students at the altar. What’s your job? Make your leaders aware of those opportunities, and then trust them to follow through.
3. Build Moments into Movements
You never know when a moment with Jesus could turn your ministry into a movement. While “movement” is a favorite buzzword for youth pastors to use to describe their youth ministries, movements never happen on their own. They happen because someone, somewhere capitalized on a moment and stewarded it well. Camp is full of moments, and any one of those, if you’re intentional with recognizing and stewarding them, could turn your youth ministry into a move of God.
One challenge that I will leave you with is to believe in your own ability to make these things happen. You’re called to your context because you are God’s Plan A for your students. You have the gifts and talent it takes to see your ministry benefit from camp in the best possible way.
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