I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is two free registrations to either FUGE or Student Life Camps. Today’s post was written by Morgan Raybon, a member of our Students team.
Morgan Raybon is a pastor’s wife, mentor to 12th grade girls, and mom to a sweet baby boy. In June, she and her family will move to Brussels, Belgium to lead their church’s campus there. Morgan’s passion is helping women fulfill God’s command to love Him with their heart, soul, mind, and strength through the faithful study of His Word.
The time of year has come once again for student ministry leaders everywhere to begin thinking through options for summer camp and to make preparations for what is arguably the most important week of their year. This season can often be very stressful, and it’s tempting to get lost in the details and completely forget what camp is all about: pointing students to the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether you’re planning your own ministry’s camp experience, going through an organization (like FUGE Camps or Student Life), or planning an entirely different summer event, here are four things to remember in planning an experience that accomplishes your goals:
1. Train your leaders well.
As a summer camp veteran of ten years (both as a student and a leader), I can attest to the importance of making sure your adult volunteers are equipped and prepared to lead a camp group. Our student pastor hosts monthly meetings throughout the spring semester to go over all sorts of information (registration, scheduling, counseling, policies, and other topics related to camp) as well as daily check-ins while at camp to address issues that come up. We must help our leaders understand their responsibilities, and make sure they know who to contact if they encounter a problem they’re not sure how to solve. Training leaders before camp allows them to focus less on managing details and more on ministering to their students.
2. Maintain unity among your team.
Because of the long hours, emotionally-demanding conversations, and lack of sleep that naturally occur at camp, it’s easy for leaders and staff members to get irritable and begin fighting over issues that just don’t matter. The enemy wants nothing more than to distract your team and keep you from being effective in reaching students, so be prepared to address conflict quickly and gracefully when it comes up (because it definitely will come up).
3. Include parents/guardians.
For many students, this week of camp will mark a special turning point in their lives; some will repent and believe in Jesus, some will be convicted of a particular sin, others will grow and deepen their relationship with God, and a few might even answer a call to vocational ministry. Parents, whether Christian or not, are curious about what goes on at camp; they want to see why their students keep coming back year after year! Consider keeping them updated through mass texts, social media, and if your budget allows, live stream of the main sessions! They will be excited to participate and thankful for your consideration.
4. Focus on Scripture, not on fun.
Don’t get me wrong: I have SO much fun at camp. I look forward to it for months beforehand. From the late-night bonfires to the zipline to the lake inflatables, I fully embrace my inner teenager and take advantage of all the exciting activities that camp has to offer. However, we can’t let a good camp experience be determined by how much fun we have (or don’t have). Instead, we must continually use opportunities to point students back to the Truth of God’s Word in the midst of the silliness and chaos. If we don’t, we are at risk of wasting this week that holds incredible potential for life change.
I pray that these reminders will help you as you plan an incredibly fun and gospel-centered week at camp. As someone who surrendered her life to Christ while at church camp, I know the amazing work God accomplishes as a result of your diligent and prayerful preparation. May the Lord richly bless your ministry this summer!
Every moment spent at FUGE is intentional. Camp programming is designed to take students out of their normal routine and place them into an environment that is focused on life-change through relationship with Christ.
Student Life camps challenge youth through engaging worship from experienced worship leaders, learning from sound biblical teachers, building community through Bible study and serving the lost.