5 Reasons Pastors Should Attend Summer Camp

5 Reasons Pastors Should Attend Summer Camp

It’s March, and summer seems far away. But with how quickly the new year has already flown by, summer will be here before we know it. If your students are attending camp this summer, have you, as the pastor, made plans to attend with them?

If not, here are some reasons you should get those dates on your calendar and make plans to go away to camp with your students. There is power in presence. If your student minister hasn’t yet made plans for camp this summer, urge him to make plans today.

1. Your presence communicates that student ministry is an important part of the church

You are the pastor of the entire church, not just the adults. When you take time to go to camp, you demonstrate to the church that student ministry is important. And you show you value students and their role in the church.

Investing in today’s teenagers is necessary for church health and growth. Students are not the church of tomorrow but the church of today. Connecting with students at camp allows you, as the pastor, to impact the next generation for Christ. Involvement and investment in all areas of the church nurture the congregation and allow the church to flourish.

2. Your presence shows students you care about them and about investing in them

Camp is a great environment for relationship building. By spending time at camp, you have an entire week to get to know your students by name, learn about them, and make lasting memories. You’ll have the chance to talk with students over meals, worship alongside them, play games with them, and engage in spiritual conversations.

These opportunities at camp will be much more than the few minutes you may normally have with them on Wednesday nights or Sundays. You’ll more than likely get to know students better in just one week of camp than you can in an entire year of Sundays.

In return, students will have a chance to build relationships with you and see you as more than just a figure in the pulpit on Sundays. You’ll have the chance to share your personal experience and mentor them as they grow in their faith.

This will also allow you to follow up and keep students accountable for decisions made at camp and for applying what they learned. As you observe students and see those with leadership potential, you can begin to see where they might be used in other areas of the church or even to help advise you on relevant issues.

3. Your presence supports the work of your student pastor and adult volunteers

When you make attending camp a priority, you are saying that what your student minister and workers spend hours upon hours doing matters. Your presence is a huge encouragement to them and their ministry and shows that you support them and their work.

Your role at camp is to serve as an adult volunteer, not to be the one in charge. That is the student pastor’s job. You shouldn’t go with an agenda or to spy on what is happening or tell them how to run camp. You go to listen, watch, participate, engage in conversations, build relationships, and lead students to Jesus.

Use this time to build relationships with your student minister and adult volunteers as well. They can give you great insight into your students, which ones are struggling and need extra attention and the ones who have not yet made a decision for Christ. They may also provide knowledge about student’s families.

4. Your presence helps keep you relevant

Most students desire church to be relevant and engaging, meeting them where they are. Being present with students and spending time with them at camp helps keep you connected, which in turn, keeps church relevant to them.

Pastors can lose touch with what students are facing in the world, creating a disconnect between real life and sermons and overall programming in the church. Getting to know students and their families—what they are facing in life and where they are in their faith journey—will prove beneficial as you consider future sermons and studies and the overall direction of the church. Seeing firsthand the dynamic, youthful programming at summer camp will also help you ensure some of this will be incorporated at your church to keep students interested and engaged.

5. Your presence demonstrates that you can have fun, too

Camp is meant to be a time away to draw closer to God, but it’s also meant to be fun. This is a time to show students that being a Christian can and should be joyful and life-giving. It is a time for adults and for you to let go and just play and have a good time. There’s nothing like a friendly game of ping pong, playing a game of three-on-three basketball, taking a hike, or conquering a ropes course with your students. It will create lasting memories.

So, while the days will be long and hot, the beds may be hard, and the food not great, you do not want to miss the chance to form lasting relationships with the students and adults from your church and to see life change happen right before your eyes at camp. It will create lasting goodwill for you and your church for years to come. Make it a priority for your summer!

Kyle Cravens serves as team leader and a camp coordinator for FUGE Camps. For the original post go to: https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/bptoolbox/5-reasons-pastors-should-attend-summer-camp/

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