If you’ve been around Hope Church for a while, you’ve probably noticed our efforts in sending both kids and students to summer camps. Kids are encouraged to pick a week at Hidden Acres only a few hours away here in Iowa. This past summer middle school students were also encouraged to pick a week at Hidden Acres as well. While high school students spent a week together, with adult leaders from Hope Church, up in Wisconsin at a camp called Silver Birch Ranch. Why do we pour into this effort so much? We believe summer camps have a huge impact on spiritual growth. If you think about it for a moment, a week at summer camp is a week unplugged and focused on Jesus. I like to call it somewhat of a “spiritual microwave”. Where day in and day out you are focused on growing in God’s word and having tons of fun along the way. When I look back on my memories of summer camp, I primarily think of the spiritual moments that impacted me most. Summer camp is where I powerfully experienced Jesus for the first time. Back when I was a camper returning from camp I remember saying things like “that was the best week ever!!” and “I had a moment with God that I will never forget.” Likewise, after returning from high school summer camp just a few weeks ago, a lot of the statements were the same. Summer camp was fun, but connecting with God each day was better. Believe it or not, the consistent time with God we make at summer camp can be made at home, too.
Psalm 119:9-11 says “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
If summer camp could be summarized into any passage, this could be it! Each day at camp we devote ourselves to spending time in God’s word, seeking him with all our hearts, and memorizing scripture so that we might flee from sin.
We are so thankful for all God has done through summer camps this year! Would you take a moment to pray for all the kids and students who experienced camp this summer - that they would have strength and boldness to continue to walk alongside Jesus this year?
Maybe before the school year starts, look for a teenager and ask if they went to summer camp this year. If they did, ask them what their favorite parts were. You might be encouraged by their answers!