Monday, June 08, 2009

Church Camp

Picture of myself and some of the kids from my church in our cabin at Junior week (4th-6th grades) at Camp Illiana in Washington, IN last week.


I’m not sure if you’ve ever got the chance to go and spend a week at church camp or not? Whether as a camper or a counselor/faculty person, it’s a great experience.
I was first exposed to summer church camp at the age of 12 after going with my aunt and uncle to visit my cousin at church camp, I decided to go back up the next day and spend the rest of the week and I’ve been hooked on church camp ever since. As a matter of fact church camp is the reason I’m in ministry, because it was through my camp experiences I first felt the call of God to go into ministry.

After spending about 7 years as a camper I started working at camp as part of the faculty and even became a asst. dean when I was 19 and a dean when I was 20. I missed a few years of camp during my navy days, but soon was able to go back to camp when I got into full-time ministry. I was able to serve as a dorm parent, speaker, teacher, dean of men, and even was blessed to serve a few years as a Sr. high dean and pretty much everything in between during all my years of serving at summer church camp at 4 different camps over my lifetime.

Kids need experiences like Christian service camp in the summer to possibly alter their lives in a positive way for the kingdom of God. How many children or teens have become Christians or felt the call to go into ministry or mission work because of the influence of their local church camp? How many volunteers, jr. faculty, deacons, elders, children’s minister’s, youth minister’s, adult youth sponsors, and preacher’s have had their lives touched or ministries blessed because of the impact of church camp?

Kids are so busy these days, it’s getting harder and harder for church camp to compete with summer ball games, summer sports camps, summer jobs, and even other events, but the fact is, there is no ministry quite like what takes place at a summer Christian church camp. To be able to get away from your normal, typical schedule for a week to connect or reconnect with God and with others that get to know or get to know better can be life changing. I count the people I’ve met at church camp over the years some of my dearest friends.

Most of all the challenge, conviction, encouragement, and uplifting I’ve received because of my church camp experiences both as a camper and an adult have been so life changing. Camp is tiring, sometimes kids push your patience boundaries, and even the food can be rough, but there is nothing quite like a summer week at church camp to help you build relationships with others and with Jesus.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
I John 3:1a(NIV)

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