Many of you have returned from a summer camp experience where your students are on fire for the Lord like never before. They may have thrown a stick in the campfire, symbolizing their desire to grow spiritually and dedicate their lives to God. Some may have made a salvation decision at camp and are ready to grow in their newfound faith. Your youth are charged up for the Lord!
Well… at least since camp last year.
Why is it so hard to keep the spiritual momentum of camp going when you return home? There are a lot of factors and distractions that the students face when returning home that can quickly quench the fire that was kindled (or rekindled) at camp. What are some things we can do in our youth groups to stoke the fire that was started at camp?
1. Maintain a Daily Devotional
One of the most powerful factors of a week at camp is the unplugging from cell phones and media and plugging into the Word of God. You may not be able to control your students’ cell phone usage, but you can provide resources and accountability to get into God’s Word every day. Where else will they be able to drink from the sincere milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2) or learn to fight the enemy by putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11)? Having a quiet time alone with God in the morning or evening is key to spiritual growth. We, as leaders, set the example. Share what you are learning from your daily time in the Word with your youth, then provide tools and accountability to keep them going and growing in the Word.
2. Gospel Advancing Focus
Have you ever seen a student after they have led a friend to Christ? How did it feel when you led someone to Christ? There is nothing like it in the world! Evangelism is the fuel to keep the fire going white hot. If you want to see continued momentum after camp, focus heavily on training your students to reach their friends for Christ. When your students learn to take their eyes off themselves and see the spiritual needs of others, you will have a new energy and excitement in your youth ministry.
Dare2Share has a simple plan to keep the gospel a priority in our lives. It is called “Prayer-Care-Share.” You encourage students to start with intercessory prayer for a student that is unsaved. Then, they move to looking for ways to meet needs in their friend’s life by caring for them as a person created by God. This builds bridges of opportunity to share the gospel. We can lead by making evangelism a priority in our lives. Making the gospel central to all that we do will radically change the temperature of our youth groups.
3. Discipleship and Accountability
If you want to see students keep the “campfire” burning, develop a plan to coach, train, and hold them accountable. After students return from an awesome week of camp, Word of Life Fifty1 Student Ministries provides the structure and resources for ongoing discipleship and accountability during the other 51 weeks of the year. Small group discipleship is like the camper-counselor relationship they experienced at camp. It is a proven system to set you and your students up for success.
Keeping the spiritual momentum from camp is possible. It doesn’t have to be a roller coaster ride each year, where the teens are flying high at camp but come crashing down in their regular routines at home. By diving deep into the Word of God daily, sharing the gospel with others, and committing to discipleship and accountability, your students will grow in the Lord.
If you need help in any of these areas to keep the “campfire” burning in the hearts of your students long after the summer is over, please reach out to your area ministry coach at https://youthministry.wol.org/resources/ministry-coaches.
Kevin Gregory is the North Regional Coordinator of Word of Life Local Church Ministries and has been involved with youth ministry for nearly 25 years. He and his wife, Gretchen, have three children, and live in Schroon Lake, NY.