Our middle school students recently returned from a week at camp, and it didn’t take long for them to log back into Facebook and Twitter. After barely surviving five days without their cell phones or internet access, they overloaded their social media accounts with posts and status updates about how amazing camp was and how unashamed they are now of the gospel and their relationship with Jesus.
Statuses that were once crowded with trivial comments about the latest movie or relationship drama now burst with excitement and passion for Jesus. This transformation (commonly known in Christian circles as the “camp high”) is more often than not short-lived as the emotional and spiritual high of a gospel-saturated week wears off.
Students often comment about how they wish every week could be like camp. I challenge back and reply that it can. There’s nothing magical about what makes a week at camp so transformational in the lives of our students. The formula is simple: The daily routine of spiritual disciplines makes camp effective. And what’s encouraging is that these disciplines are easily applied and transferrable to the other 51 weeks of the year.
Parents, by putting before you the daily schedule your child adhered to at camp, I hope to highlight the spiritual disciplines and exercises that made our time together so transformational. Please prayerfully consider how you can work these disciplines into your child’s daily life.
Tuesday – Thursday
- 6:45 a.m.-8 a.m. | Breakfast
- 8:15 a.m.-8:45 a.m. | Quiet time with church group (individual prayer and Bible study)
- 8:15 a.m. | Family group leadership meeting
- 9 a.m. | Celebration (corporate gospel-centered worship and Bible study)
- 10:15 a.m. | Recreation / family group Bible study
- 11:30 a.m. | Family groups to lunch
- 12 p.m. | Recreation to lunch
- 1:15 p.m. | Recreation / family group Bible study
- 3:30 p.m. | Free Time
- 3:45 p.m.-4:45p.m. | Free Time (options available)
- 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. | Dinner
- 6 p.m.-6:45 p.m. | Family group prayer gathering (corporate prayer)
- 6 p.m. | Youth ministers’ meeting
- 7 p.m. | Worship (corporate gospel-centered worship and Bible study)
- 9 p.m. | Church group time (elements of gospel-centered community)
- 11:30 p.m. | Lights out
Individual prayer and Bible study
Each student was given a Camp Magazine that contained a daily Bible study. Hopefully your child came home with the magazine because Student Life provided four post-camp studies to encourage your child to continue in this spiritual discipline after camp. Devote time in the mornings for your child to complete these studies and sit down with them during the day to discuss what they learned.
Bible study and corporate, gospel-centered worship
Fathers, make your homes a place of worship. You don’t have to play the guitar or sound like Bleecker to lead your family in worship. Purchase a worship album, perhaps from The Village, and gather your family together to sing praises to the Lord. Sure, it might be different at first if this is something your family has never tried, but give it time and watch as the Lord blesses it.
Elements of gospel-centered community
Each night at camp, before lights out, we gathered as a group and opened up the floor for students to share what they took away from their personal Bible study, the corporate worship or the sermon. This was a time to encourage and pray for one another and a perfect note to end the day on. I encourage families to make this a part of their daily routine. Before bedtime, instead of gathering around the TV, sit around the kitchen table, maybe over chocolate milk, and talk about your interactions with the living God. What did He teach you today? What did He show you? How did you worship and interact with Him?