Summer is a time when I get really nostalgic. I listen to the music I grew up on more. I daydream about yesteryear. I reminisce about summers of the past. Some of my best summers were spent working at a Christian camp. It was in the midst of those pine trees and sandhills that my faith was formed and I developed as a disciple of Jesus.
Parents love to send their kids to camp during the summer and kids love to go. But with limited time and limited resources, parents must choose wisely where their child will spend a few days this summer. There are so many camps to choose from nowadays: sports camps, academic camps, just about any other themed camp you can think of. It’s out there if you look for it.
But Christian camps are where it’s at. Amongst so many choices, why is a Christian based camp best for your child? Here are 3 reasons you should send your child to a Christian camp this summer.
1. Spiritual conditioning matters more than physical or social conditioning.
Sports camps can be great fun and kids can learn a lot. But the things kids learn during an intensive week at a Christian camp are of eternal value. 1 Timothy 4:8 reminds us, “For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
Your child could spend a week learning the basics of baseball or basketball. They could be sharpening their motor skills, but what about spiritual skills? They could be learning how to have a quiet time with God. They could be devoting time to worship with other kids their age or sit under strong and engaging biblical teaching.
As a former church camp attendee and later staff member, I can say this time was invaluable. I watched scores of kids come to a life changing decision about Christ. I got to counsel kids about real life problems, social issues, relationships, divorce, grief. It affected lasting change for them and change for me.
2. Camp is a neutral ground for spiritual things to happen.
Being sequestered from the real world for a few days with leaders who are influencing heart change is a great canvas for the Holy Spirit to work with. Kids start to feel safe enough to come out of their shells when they are away from their real world problems for a time. They open up and share their stories.
I’ve listened to campers express concern over their parents’ relationship. I’ve comforted them as they cry over school pressures and bullying issues. I’ve listened as campers share how they lost a friend to gun violence. Kids tend to bottle this up and we don’t get to typically see what’s going in their hearts.
But at camp, magic happens. They enter a safe zone and they know it. They experience the Spirit move in a way that attending a regular Sunday church service just doesn’t always offer. This neutral ground forces them out of their comfort zone and into a space where God moves and works in their hearts. It’s hard to explain just what happens in that space but when you experience it, it is undeniable.
3. Kids should know Christian living can be fun and enjoyable.
Apart from deep soul work that happens at camp, we have a ton of fun! Camp is always a blast. We play hard. Camp is full of extraordinary games, laughter and relationship building. It is a hint of Heaven. The rest (and by that I mean soul rest because not much sleep happens) and play that we enjoy at camp is a taste of the joy that the Lord offers us eternally.
We can offer fun games in our usual kids worship spaces at church but it adds excitement being in a new space. Camp breathes life into our children and student ministries. Relationships strengthen. Worship at camp changes hearts. Kids routinely leave camp “on fire for God.”
If you’re thinking about sending your child to camp, pull the trigger and send them to church camp. They will learn and grow so much in that time, they may just come back as a changed kid.
Got a favorite Christian camp memory? Share it in the comments below.
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