Why I Believe In NMC Summer Camps
By Derry Prenkert - March 20, 2015
Posted in Student Ministry, Children's Ministry, Summer Camps
NMC Summer Camps are a BIG DEAL. When hearing “Summer Camp,” the immediate mental picture likely contains sunshine, swimming, s’mores, and singing Kum Ba Yah. All are all part of NMC Camps (except the Kum Ba Yah singing), there is something much deeper and profound that happens at our Camps. Don’t get me wrong. We have a TON OF FUN at Camp (I have the stories, pictures and a few scars to prove it), but it’s so much more. And the “so much more” stuff is why I’ll trade in my regular schedule for 11 days every year for a lot of heat, a ton of students, very little sleep, and some of my favorite moments in ministry.
I BELIEVE IN SUMMER CAMPS. Here’s just a few reasons why…
- I believe NMC Summer Camp provides a perfect opportunity to GET AWAY: We are more fast-paced, high-pressured and plugged-in than we have ever been as a society. In the years I’ve been able to serve in this community, I have watched the amount of responsibilities and activities students’ plates increase exponentially. Add in the ability to be plugged in to social media and smart phones at all time, the spiritual disciplines of silence & solitude is becoming a foreign concept. Something crazy happens when we take Middle and High School away from their normal surrounding, pry their their cell phones from their hands(yes, we ask them to be left at home), put them along a beautiful lakeside, and tell them to simply SLOW down LISTEN… God’s still-small voice actually breaks through. We call it TAWG( Time Alone With God). The awesome part is I’ve seen students experience a meaningful encounter with the Almighty through TAWG at Summer Camp, and decide it is time to create space for TAWG back home.
- I believe NMC Summer Camp is a fantastic place for kids/students to CONNECT WITH OTHERS: As a larger ministry, it can be tough to find your place at times. It can also be hard to get acclimated to the group if you are newer to the ministry. From Kids Camp through Student Ministries Camps, I have seen Camp be the best place for new friendships formed and existing friendships deepened. I’ve seen students make a connection with their Cabin Leader in a manner that has lasting impact. Healthy spiritual connections to peers and a caring adults are so essential the to the spiritual journey… especially through the elementary through High School years. Summer Camps have a history of providing a place and space for those connections to take place.
- I believe NMC Summer Camp has a history that is marked by CHANGED LIVES. Last year, I took a group of our Seniors on a retreat as a sort of “final moment” in their High School Ministry experience. We had some fun at Cedar Point for the day, then spent the night at Beulah Beach Camp, the location for our Middle and High School Camps. We shared a lot of memories and laughs over that retreat, but we ended our time in a special way. The group of Seniors circled up in the area where the tent we gather for worship and teaching at Camp. There tent wasn’t set up yet, but we took some time to thank God for all he’d done in that area as well as pray for the camps to come. After we finished praying, the Seniors started making their way to the bus… all of them, that is, except for Austin. I noticed him just standing and looking down at the ground. I walked over to check on him as I sensed something was going on. When I asked if everything was okay, he looked up at me with tear-filled eyes, pointed to the ground and said, “That’s my spot.” I realized right away what he was talking about. It was at that spot 2 years prior where Austin, as a hurting and lost High School Sophomore heading into his Junior year, had placed his trust in Jesus. I had the privilege to watch the transformation in Austin’s life the two years, and continue to see what God is doing in his college years.
Austin’s story is one of many who have seen life-transformation at a Summer Camp. I believe there is more life change to come through our 2015 Camps. Kid’s and students, get signed up! Parents, prioritize it on your schedules. It is well worth the investment.
Get Away. Connect with each other. Allow God to Change you. Have a ton of fun.
If you will be in K-12th grade for the 2015-16 school year, go here to find out more information on our summer Camps.