The summer is drawing to a close. Vacation Bible School and mission trips are in the rear view mirror as the focus is moving towards Rally Day and fall programs. During this transition, let’s not forget that some significant Christian Education happened this summer…at our camps and conference centers. The children and youth of your congregation participated in a variety of programs over the summer. These individuals may have had a “mountain top experience,” a significant faith experience that brought them closer to God. Not only do we need to acknowledge a possible milestone on their faith journey, it is also important for us to share their experience with the rest of the congregation. Connecting with them as the church helps sustain this significant faith experience.
Connecting with your youth on conference experiences is a little easier. Adult advisors on those trips can help with the post-conference follow-up. Here are some suggestions:
- If they took a group picture at the event, have that image enlarged, framed, and hung in the church (in the youth room or a more public place for all to see). This may seem like a small gesture, but this photo will be a constant reminder of that conference experience.
- If there was a significant number of youth who did not attend the conference, the conferees could work with the adult advisors to create a program, Bible study, or worship experience for the rest of the youth group (and maybe family members) that helps to convey what they experienced.
- Your youth group could put together a worship service for the congregation that uses the themes, scripture, and songs from their conference experience. The sermon could be split up among several youth as they share what they learned and how that impacts their life.
The next post will discuss how we might connect with our summer campers. See you tomorrow.
Joel Winchip is the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association (www.pccca.net). He also serves on the adjunct faculty of Columbia Theological Seminary (Decatur, GA), where he teaches classes on recreation and camp/conference ministry.