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How To Make Youth Camp Count

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I’ll never forget going to youth camp for the first time. Although I was only 11 years old, I sweet-talked the youth leaders of our church into letting me attend the junior high summer camp. We took an un-air-conditioned school bus from Denver, Colorado, to Hollywood, Florida, in August. That camp experience changed my life and forged the basis for the ministry I lead today: Dare 2 Share.

That camp did five simple things I’ve rarely seen replicated at other camps. I’m going to share these five things in the form of five action steps you can take to make camp exponentially more influential for your teens this summer.

1. Create a Gospel-Inviting and a Gospel Advancing Atmosphere.

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).

Gospel-inviting atmosphere assumes that many of the teenagers attending camp are not yet believers. It means making sure your camp speaker gives the Gospel clearly every night and that there are consistent opportunities for teenagers to respond to the Gospel publicly. This also means that adult leaders are equipped beforehand to navigate Gospel conversations with the teenagers in their cabins. To equip your leaders to share the Gospel effectively, have them watch this five-minute video on how to clearly and concisely share the G.O.S.P.E.L.

Gospel advancing atmosphere means that, from square one at camp, Christian teenagers are challenged to share their faith. This missionizes the camp experience, making it less about the what’s-in-it-for-me consumeristic mindset so prevalent today and more about how God can use teenagers to make disciples.

2. Pray! Pray! Pray!

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).

You probably wouldn’t want Jesus as a camp speaker, because you’d never be able to find him when it was his time to speak. He’d be out roaming around in the nearby fields or hills, praying for the teenagers, praying for their souls, praying for impact!

But we must follow his model if we desire to make a deep and lasting impact on teenagers at camp. We must PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!

PRAY leading up to camp! Pray that God prepares the hearts of both believers and unbelievers. Pray that every teen who should attend will attend.

PRAY all during camp! Meet together as a team early in the day to pray for God to make a maximum impact—that souls will be saved and lives will be changed!

PRAY after camp! Pray that the decisions made would be steeled and sealed, that the seeds sown would produce 30, 60, and 100-fold harvests!

And, in addition to you and your adult leaders praying, incorporate prayer into your camp meetings. Have teenagers pray. Get them praying for each other and for their unreached friends back home to come to Christ.