Sending your child to a week of bible camp can seem daunting. “Are they going to teach my child something weird? Will the bible lessons be different that what we teach in our home or home congregation? Is this one of those places where adults preach sermons that scare kids?”
First, you need to know, Senior Week’s number one goal for the week is: “Foster the development of each camper’s spiritual growth.”
We are, after all, a Bible camp. We exist to further the work of God’s kingdom. Every camper is different and every camper’s experience at Senior Week will be unique. For some teens, Senior Week is a week of intense spiritual growth. For others, Senior Week is a reminder of the teaching and example that parents have already provided. From a program perspective, we provide two bible classes each day, two different bible devotionals (morning and evening chapel), individual prayer time, and sometimes cabin devotionals.
In many ways, teens get whatever they put into the week. For instance, each day we have 45 minutes set aside for “Experience God” which is a time for them to sit quietly, reflect, pray, read their bibles, or work through a prayer exercise that is prepared by one of our youth ministry leaders. Some teens use this time productively, while others do not. We don’t force kids what to believe. Rather, we give them opportunity to grow. They have to decide how to use the opportunity.
We make sure we place Godly men and women in their lives that serve as great mentors. As I previously discussed in another post, we make sure to surround your child with great role models. All of our counselors are awesome Godly examples. We’re not perfect, but our staff strives to be excellent role models for your kids.
Let me briefly summarize a common question that comes up regarding baptism. I want to tread lightly here because it’s such an important and sensitive subject. We don’t push teens to make any big decisions at camp. We don’t usually have traditional “altar calls” during our week. Rather, we encourage teens to talk to the counselors to discuss issues they’re working through. We encourage teens to pray with their fellow campers and pray with their counselors. We want them to take time to introspectively examine their decisions and their life. There have been times where we actually discouraged campers from being baptized at camp, and encouraged them to continue their study and spiritual growth after camp. Baptism is a huge commitment, and we honor it as such during Senior Week.
If a teen requests to be baptized, baptisms do not occur without specific permission from the parents. We want Senior Week to be a part of your teen’s spiritual journey. We don’t want Senior Week to be the beginning, middle and end of your teen’s relationship with God. Rather, we hope it’s a catalyst for a life-long walk with God.
For anyone that has spent any time around churches, you know that often theological and personality conflicts can create hardships within any group of believers. We have a variety of congregations represented with a variety of norms. At Senior Week, we try to be peacemakers.