Summer is here, and school is out! Students do not have to turn in assignments, study for exams, or have to sit at a desk for seven hours. Those things are now replaced with swimming, backyard cookouts, and family vacations. As a student, I enjoyed hearing that last bell ring and seeing what summer adventures awaited me, but there I was one event that I enjoyed the most every Summer. That event was youth camp.
Every time the month of June came around, I got excited because I knew that youth camp was coming. As I packed the night before I arrived on those campgrounds, I knew that God was going to impact me and others that week. While I understood that was spiritual life was going to increase, I knew that I was going to make connections that would last a lifetime. I have now aged out of being a camper, but I consider those weeks I have spent on the Pentecostal Campgrounds in Louisiana to be some of best weeks of my life. I now want to share my reasons of why a student should take advantage of going to a youth camp this Summer.
1. You get to connect with other Christians.
When the Christian church started in the book of Acts, the members continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:42). One of my favorite moments of attending youth camp was getting to connect with other Apostolic young people around the sate of Louisiana. As a camper, I have found that these connections have been valuable to me. Most of the people I met through camp are involved in youth, music, or another form of ministry and we still catch up when we see each other at various youth events like North American Youth Congress or a statewide youth rally in March.
From our conversations, we learn from each other. We tell each other how we are progressing in our ministries and we encourage each other to continue in our walks with God. Having these types relationships are essential to a young person. As a student grows, they are going to make life changing decisions. These decisions can range from what college to study at or what church to attend if they take a job out-of-town. By having these relationships, a student will feel more comfortable as they leave their hometown and move to another city where they already have a connection with someone there.
2. You get to grow closer to your youth group.
As young people, we want to be involved in a community. We want to take part in something that we are passionate about with other individuals who feel the same way. My youth group was my community, and I found that my relationship with the other members increased during every youth camp. We sat together during the services every night, and we prayed and worshiped God together. All of us guys stayed in a private dorm with our youth pastor and other staff members, and every night each one of us gave our thoughts on the services that week. Our collaborative worship and fellowship with each other increased our faith and our sense of community, and I believe that every student will have the same outcome as they attend youth camp.
3. Your walk with God will change.
There is not question about it. When a student goes to youth camp not only do their connections with their youth group and other students increase, but their relationship with God will grow as well. As a camper, I found myself more focused in my walk with God. I was attentive to what God was speaking to me through the messages at every service. My increased focus was because I was away from things that caused me to be distracted. As a result of this, I have learned concepts that helped me in my ministry and to continue my grow in my walk with God. As I stated before, I believe that every student that attends a youth camp will have the same outcome as I did.
If you are a student who is thinking about participating in a youth camp this Summer, I hope my experience persuades you to go. If you want to attend, I would recommend talking to your youth pastor to get more information about what to do to get registered. As you go, remember that you will have the opportunity to connect with other Christians, grow closer to your youth group, and experience the most life changing moments in your walk with God. Talk to your youth pastor, start packing, and work on your jump shot or volleyball serve in case you want to participate in any recreational activities. Most importantly, pray and fast so that you can be ready for what God is going to speak to you that week.
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(Photo credits to Zakk Miller)