I have loved camping ever since my first experience in January 1980. Since then I’ve been on more than 100 week long church camps and over 200 church weekends. I’ve written mission manuals on running church camps and been committed to ensuring that the youth ministry at our church has camps for each age group. This is not just because I love camping ministry, but because camping ministry plays a significant role in the spiritual growth of those who attend.
Recent McCrindle research has revealed that those who have attended a church camp are twice as likely to attend church each week compared with those who don’t attend. They are twice as likely to engage in daily devotions, twice as likely to end up in a ministry role and three times as likely to have God as the most important part of their life.
When it comes to making a faith commitment, Christian camps are the 3rd most influential activity for teenagers after Church and Youth Group. Camps come before Small Groups, SRE, evangelistic events, and introductory courses to Christianity. These are significant outcomes. Especially given that camping is the one activity that isn’t provided on a weekly basis.
What is it about camps that make them so different?
Here are a few key factors.
Camps provide community
We live in a world were people are more connected than ever and yet are starved of real relationships. Camps can be like a digital detox with social media being replaced by social interaction as relationships develop. We live together, share in meals, experience a range of activities, compete in challenges, and create relational history.
Camps provide contemplation
We are always so busy in life that we don’t have space to be still and reflect on life. On camp there is always time to sit back and smell the roses. We have time each day on our camps where students get to sit quietly and reflect on life, their relationships and of course, what God’s Word is saying.
Camps provide continuity
A series of studies in church or Bible study is always interrupted by the things of this world that distract us during the week in between. It can be hard to remember what we heard last week, let alone at the start of a series. Camps provide ongoing development of Biblical thinking without the competing voices of the world that steer us away from what really matters.
Here’s a 2 minute video from Christian Venues Association that speaks of the Power of Camping.
In our youth ministry we see young people taking small steps of faith and growth in maturity throughout the year, but after a camp we see them taking strides. It’s at the camps that we see most young people making life changing decisions.
So, if you want your kids to grow stronger in their Christian faith, pray for and make camps a priority.
These are the camps we have each year within our youth ministry.
|Camp||Dates||Year at School||Cost||Location|
|Jannali Summer Camp||14-19 January 2019||Years 9-12||$360||Gerringong|
|IGNITE||21-26 January 2019||Years 6-8||$170||Jannali|
|Coledale Camp||8-10 March 2019||Years 9-11||$50 + Train Fare||Coledale Beach|
|KYCK||26-28 April 2019||Years 9-12||$140||Katoomba|
|FUSE Camp||13-15 September 2019||Years 6-8||Approx $165||Port Hacking|
|XII Escape||23-30 November 2019||Year 12||$675||Nelson Bay|
XII Escape for 2018 begins this coming Saturday. We have 26 of us going to spend 8 days at Nelson Bay and explore the book of Ephesians together. We’d value your prayers for safety as we are on the road quite often travelling to various activities, for good relationships as we live together in four townhouses, and for spiritual growth as we sit under God’s Word each day.
The following camps are already receiving registrations.