As we discussed yesterday, some significant Christian Education happened at our camps and conference centers this summer. Children and youth from your congregation 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.
Yesterday we talked about conferences, so today we will discuss how we might connect with your children and youth after their summer camp experience. Here are some suggestions:
- Have a camper write an article for the church newsletter or website. This could be in an interview format, so it is easier to write (it also helps you guide the sharing towards what might have been important to their faith…and not all about their love of s’mores). For younger children, you could serve as the interviewer and compile their responses.
- The campers may have experienced spiritual disciplines like individual quiet time, morning devotions, or a labyrinth. Perhaps you could weave these into Sunday School classes or even create a new program that will help sustain these practices.
- The camp staff normally try to visit your church in the new year to talk about next summer, but you could invite them to come in the fall as well. They could visit Sunday School classrooms to talk about what happened at camp this past summer. I am sure they would also like to have a moment during the worship service to thank the congregation for sending campers (perhaps the campers could come forward and share something about their experience).
All of this helps create better connections between the different facets of ministry that touch the lives of our children and youth. Reinforcing these experiences continues to nurture them during each step they take on their faith journey.
On behalf of all of our camps and conference centers, thank you for sending your children and youth this past summer. Let’s do it again next year.
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.