Three Compelling Reasons Why I Still Believe in Camp Ministry...

Speaking to students and youth leaders at Timber-Lee Camp, East Troy, WI, 2022

I've been speaking to students and youth leaders at camps for almost 30 years now.

Why?

Here are three compelling reasons why I still believe in camp ministry...

1. TW (Time With) = Transformation
You get more time together with your group in one weekend of camp than you do in a years worth of one-hour Wednesday night Bible studies. No matter how much technology simulates interpersonal interactions with others, there is no replacement for actually being together (see Hebrews 10:24-25). TW = Time With—and that's one of the transformational "secrets" we learn from the disciplemaking genius of Jesus.

2. Disciplemaking Momentum Back Home
If you just bring students to a camp and hope the program disciples the students, you don't understand that...
* programs don't make disciples—disciples make disciples.
* no camp ministry can do what you as a volunteer or vocational youth worker can do.
* your job as a volunteer or vocational youth leader is to engage relationally all weekend long with the students so that when it's time to go home, you can harness the disciplemaking momentum you got at camp right where you live! (Here's a true story of what NOT to do as a youth leader.)

3. The Gospel
Last, but certainly not least, is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is front and center—and many students and adults respond to the Gospel at camp. (Another true story right here.) When I ask people to tell me their story, they often mention an encounter with Jesus while at camp. Sometimes I ask someone who was born and raised in the church, "When did Jesus really start to become real to you?" Can you guess what they often say? Yep. Camp. 

I could go on, but I should probably stop.

So here's to all the camps I've ever loved before—and all the local churches and ministries that lean into the Holy Spirit's transformative power for the next generation! 

Bonus: 
Since I'm just back from speaking to students and youth leaders at Timber-Lee, here are a couple of responses I received when I got back home—this one below from a student... 
Click image to enlarge for viewing and reading.

And this one from a senior pastor...
"Students heard the Gospel! And you equipped the students with tools to continue their discipleship journey with their friends and our youth leaders. It's always a pleasure to partner with you in ministry. Thanks for showing youth leaders what an Ephesians 4:11-12 approach to ministry looks like!"

 —Pastor Justin Ahlgrim, Senior Pastor, Lombard Bible Church, IL.



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