How camp can be key to a child’s growth and discipleship

December 2, 2018

Camp can be a significant life-changing event for children. Camp is a spiritual investment unlike anything most kids experience at home. Attending camp allows students to retreat from the norm of life, limit distractions and focus on truth.

I serve as the children’s program director at Camp Caraway near Asheboro, N.C., and much of our ministry emphasizes experiential learning.  As my first boss taught me on a farm at age 14, “You learn by doing.” We focus on four core values to guide us as we intentionally disciple campers — growing faith in Jesus, developing relationships, learning skills and serving others.  

At Caraway, everything is about the gospel of Jesus Christ. During a week of camp, students see, hear, and experience the gospel continuously through worship, teaching, personal quiet times, interactions with staff or chaperone, and being in God’s creation.  We never pressure or coerce students to trust Jesus, but we strive to make the gospel message simple to understand.

Just as Jesus’ ministry was based around relationships, camp is all about relationships, too. No matter the quality of the camp facility, the food, the music or the activities, relationships between campers, staff and chaperones trump everything else. God uses people, and we are focused on connecting people (especially campers) with Christian mentors who love Jesus and live out that love daily while going about their normal, everyday life.

Author John Eldridge wrote, “There is a humility and a seasoned wisdom to be learned in the natural world.”  Much of our camp programing is done outside with people.

At camp, kids will learn that if you lean too far in a kayak, it will tip. If you rub your hand along a grain of wood, it will splinter. They will work through homesickness and there may conflict with other campers.

All of these experiences provide teachable moments and memories that allow campers to grow, even after they return home. At camp, they can experience things in a safe environment where staff members or chaperones encourage growth and spiritual formation as they work through different experiences. When truth is reinforced through life experiences, students are more likely to remember.  

One recent example of how God uses camp is of a boy who attended camp with the children’s group from his church. He had been introduced to Jesus and truth at an early age through home discipleship and church ministry. While kayaking on a lake during summer camp, he was able to be alone with his thoughts as he reflected on his life at the foot of a cross that stands along the lakeshore.

The Holy Spirit had been speaking to him, and in that moment in a kayak on a lake at camp near the cross on the bank, he said yes to Jesus. When he returned from boating, there were staff and chaperones that welcomed the news and began to encourage and support him. This boy didn’t come to faith in Jesus just because of camp. He came to faith in Jesus through God’s divine plan using his family, church, other relationships, life experiences and camp.

At camp we use fun to create an environment like no other to partner with churches in accomplishing their mission of making disciples. Let’s serve God faithfully and see what God can do through us, through church ministry and through camp.


by Mark Moore  
/  Children’s Program Director  /  Camp Caraway

4 qualities that every children’s ministry leader must have

For children’s ministry leaders, the days are often long, but never boring. Every day can be an adventure. In the busyness of ministry, there are four foundational ingredients to a successful children’s ministry that cannot be overlooked.Teaching
Children’s ministry leaders teach...

How camp can be key to a child’s growth and discipleship

Camp can be a significant life-changing event for children. Camp is a spiritual investment unlike anything most kids experience at home. Attending camp allows students to retreat from the norm of life, limit distractions and focus on truth. I serve as the children’s program...

13 tips to maximize your church’s outreach events

Fall is a time when many churches host community outreach events like fall festivals, craft fairs or trunk-or-treats. Beyond creating a fun and festive time for attendees, church leaders’ often envision these events as outreach to unchurched members of the community. However, the...

How to use your child’s lunchbox for discipleship

Deuteronomy 6 instructs parents to teach their children about God throughout the routines of the day. Parents pack healthy lunches for their children to take to school so they will get the nutrition they need to learn and grow. Why not add something to help nurture their spiritual...

5 ways to guard against child abuse in your church

We may tend to think sexual abuse cannot happen in our church, but it is that very mentality that makes it possible. How do abusers manage to have access to children and teens in our churches? This process often begins with intentional “grooming” of children and their parents. In...

5 things to look for in a Bible for children

LifeWay Research questioned 2000 parents of adult children who did not walk away from their faith after leaving college. The principal determiner of strong spiritual health in the young adults was consistent Bible reading as a child and teenager. So, what can a church do to...

The importance of vision in children’s ministry

Imagine setting off on a ministry trip without thinking about the destination, purpose, lodging, budget or transportation. You might enjoy the ride and see some interesting sights along the way, but chances are that your pastor will not be pleased with your efforts. Do you...

When parents lead, children follow

It comes as no surprise, parents are the most influential people in a child’s life. When moms and dads deny themselves, take up their crosses daily and follow Christ, their homes are never the same. Parents surrendered to the Lord make a deep impact in the lives of their children....

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest news and event information by signing up for the N.C. Baptist newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!