Kansas Messenger – December 2017
By: Rev. Renee Bridwell
Camp! The schedule is posted and will be included with the February Kansas Messenger. 2018 directors are gathering their staff. Camp T will be ready for your children next summer. But that’s not what’s on my mind.
I’m thinking about summer church camp as an investment in the souls of your children, grandchildren, and the young people in your church’s sphere. Occasionally parents (grandparents?) lament that their kids have so many camps that there isn’t time (money?) for church camp, after they’ve been to soccer camp, cheerleading camp, 4-H camp, Scout camp, band camp, football camp—plus Little League, VBS, and family vacation.
These are valuable experiences. I was a regular in Girl Scout camp. My children were in band camp, Scout camp, and Little League. Camp was important in our family—time away to explore new skills and ways of being.
Like other camps, church camp means that youth live with peers and learn to share two showers and three sinks with a dozen other people—to care for their own needs and those of others, independently and interdependently—to corral their belongings. They learn new songs and games, new skills. They mature.
Church camp is all of these, plus a consciously Christian environment; it is about shaping faith and character. Church camp is about building a lifelong, maturing Christian faith as a follower of Jesus, a faith that will bear fruit through adolescence, adulthood and into a person’s mature years. Church camp means learning the content of Christian faith; worship and Bible study are the framework for each session. You’ve heard it said that a week in church camp is worth a full year of Sunday School? It is that, plus Christian formation.
The essential difference is this: the core of church camp is shaping lifelong Christian character. Other camps are about skills, with character and personality as side benefits. For me and my household, we chose church camp first, then planned our summer and our budget around that.
I encourage you to do the same. Invest in the lifelong faith and character of your children, and your church’s children. Then add the rest.
Our children are worth this choice.