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This post is coming at you live from the sunny shores of Duluth Minnesota! I’m speaking at a kid’s camp this week, but had to take a quick stroll along the lovely lake superior near where I grew up. I used to spend entire summers at bible camp, listening to the speakers, helping my parents run the camp etc. They are some of the best memories of my childhood.
But what about these days? I have heard all the controversy- Have you? I’ve heard “It’s wrong to send your kids somewhere to receive from God. Spiritual experiences should happen in the home or at the home church. Sending the child somewhere else is a cop out.”

My response to the above objection is this: “Moses, Elijah, even Jesus often went somewhere to get away with God. We know these experiences SHOULD happen in the home, but if we’re honest they often don’t. We must be intentional about creating these opportunities for our kids to connect with God! And me personally? I don’t care if my child meets with God in our car, our church, the camp, the street, an outreach, grammas house, or up in a tree- or better yet all of the above! Just that spiritual growth and meeting with God is happening! And there is something special when you intentionally set that time aside and make God the priority that week, that sees lives really changed. Is camp a cop out or is it one more tool, one more voice?”

Another objection I hear is, “We can do all of this at our home church with our own people- cheaper.”

My response “Cheaper is not always better. Cheap should not be your goal. What if we invested as much time and money and effort in our kids souls as we do their sports? There is still a lot of value in getting away from the familiar and disconnecting from technology. They are in your ministry, hearing from you and your leaders every single week. Sometimes we have those life altering “aha” moments when we go away from life as usual, unplug from the ipads, phones, you tube etc and hear from totally new voices who have a totally different style.  (I think these kids, here this week, have never ever been away from electronics this long!!) Sometimes different is good. Sometimes God has to take is out of our norm to get our attention.”

Thirdly, I often hear, “What about lawsuits and liability? We can’t risk a kid falling and getting hurt or something else happening. It’s just safer not to do camp”

To me, the benefits outweigh the risks. We shelter our kids from everything these days. If we did all our ministry this way we’d never ever do anything or leave the parking lot for fear of disaster! Balance is key. Letting them out for a week to meet with God is so worth it. I met lifelong best Christian friends at camp (still friends!), grew closer to God, was called into ministry etc etc. I still call my old bible camp “my mt. Horeb”

Lastly, have you heard, ” Decisions made at camp never last. They’re all just emotional hype.”

Well, we’ve all seen children and adults have experiences and make choices on an emotional high that did not last. Doesn’t mean that none of those decisions are real. Mine was certainly sincere and going strong today. Let’s not judge every child’s camp altar times by some other child’s life choices. Kids are changed and drawn closer to Christ at camp every summer and who are we to dismiss every one as false? Careful! Perhaps each child has a JOURNEY with Christ made up of many experiences and moments and people pouring into them! Besides, God created is mind body and emotions- and we are told to love Him with our entire being.

So yes, in the past I’ve sent our groups of churched kids to camp. This year I’m speaking at camps, and I sent my own two children to my Horeb! Cool huh. So what about you? To camp or not to camp, that is the question. Why do you feel the way you do about it? Love Trisha

 

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