Spring is in full swing, which means students are getting excited for summer. Summer brings great freedom and opportunity for students. The Disney cartoon “Phineas and Ferb” that ran from 2007 to 2015 opens with a song that expresses the greatest frustration of a student’s summer:
“There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation, Til’ school comes along just to end it, So the annual problem for our generation, Is finding a good way to spend it…”
The best way for a student to spend their summer is with a week at a summer church camp or on a mission trip. Here are a few reasons why:
- Students make significant decisions for Jesus.
Recently, at our Baptist Collegiate Ministry meeting at The University of Arkansas we asked a room full of students how many of them had made a significant decision for Jesus at a summer camp. At least a quarter of the room raised their hand. Many Christian summer camps report that 5-10% of all students who attend a session of camp over the summer make a life changing decision for Christ. God uses camps and mission trips to speak to students and call them to faith, to ministry, and to deeper commitment to Christ.
- Students form life changing relationships.
At week-long summer experiences, students can form friendships and mentoring relationships that could last a lifetime. There is no better place for these faith-building relationships to develop than on a trip dedicated to serving and growing in the Lord.
- Students form healthy habits.
Most Christian camps and mission trips encourage students to spend daily time alone with God in prayer and Bible study. For many students, a week-long Christian summer experience will be the first time they have ever spent five days in a row in God’s word. For many students, the habits developed over a week in the summer will impact their entire life.
- Students develop healthy independence.
For many students, a mission trip or summer camp will be their first opportunity to spend a week away from home. There is no better place for a student to develop independence in a healthy and supervised way than at a Christian summer experience. Camps and mission trips enable students to develop in their responsibility and in their spiritual life apart from their parents. Having served in collegiate ministry for the last 12 years, I cannot overstate how important it is for a student to develop healthy independence before they move away to college.
Summer is coming. With it comes the opportunity of a lifetime for students. One week away at a Christian summer camp or mission trip could change their life and their eternity. If you are a ministry leader, decide now that you will take students to camp. If you are a student, make the commitment now to go with a church to a summer camp or mission trip. If you are a parent, remove every obstacle from your student going to church camp and encourage them to go. If you are none of these things, consider sponsoring a student to go to this summer.