A climbing tower, a blob, bumper boats, archery, make-your-own tie-dyed shirts, buffet style food, campfires, disc golf, squinny ball, prayer walk, snake hill, frog pond….these are not even half of the entire list of all that a family can enjoy at family camp during the summer.
I was able to be at family camp this week. It was tiring but refreshing. The kids probably think this is close to what heaven will be like. Adults might think something close to that because there is so much for their kids to do. But the camp I’ve been at is different than other camps. It’s a Christian camp which, along with the many fun activities, also includes daily family devotions and morning and evening bible speakers. There are also lessons for various age groups during the main speaking.
The difference this makes in a family vacation is incredible. Other camps create the atmosphere for families to connect and get away together. But this camp is preeminently concerned with the spiritual part of the camp experience. Never sacrificing fun, the camp also doesn’t sacrifice the spiritual focus either. The result is an opportunity for parents to capitalize on the Christian atmosphere and work on spiritual growth in their families. Also, families who gather regularly around the Word seem to gather regularly as well. If anything, this only enhances value of the week.
So here is a short list of reason my family and I have enjoyed camp this week. If you haven’t been to a family camp like this, and the Lord allows the opportunity, then you should attend. You won’t be disappointed, and you’ll likely walk away spiritually encouraged.
What I Love About a Week of Family Camp
- Waking up early to drink coffee with a friend before everyone else is awake.
- Watching my son freak out in excitement when he learns he is finally old enough to go on the zip line. And then watching him freak out in excitement as he went sailing across the camp.
- Seeing old friends and making new friends. Especially getting to know the other program speaker and musicians.
- Watching all the kids hover around a 10′ x 10′ mud puddle and reach and grab for the frogs that live in it. Also watching the same kids run excitedly back holding a gross frog, while covered in mud from the same puddle.
- Hearing the word of God explained as it relates to the topic of stress. Seeing the Biblical ways to handle the stresses in life in a productively sanctifying manner.
- Singing with God’s people, loudly. There is something about 250+ voices all singing praise to God in unison that does something eternally good for the soul.
- Laughing hard at 11pm with friends. Yawning equally hard with the same friends the next morning.
- Eating way too much food. And candy.
- Drinking just the right amount of coffee all week (which is to say, way too much coffee).
- Not having to camp in a tent. But having a room, a mattress, and a bathroom.
(Yes, I know some will say this is not camping. But to that I say, “says who?”)
- Taking a sunset boat ride with 20 other campers, all while learning fascinating facts about the lake AND the kids getting the chance to steer the boat for a turn! (And we even made it back to shore ok!).
And here are a few takeaways from the preaching of the word this week.
- Stress is a tool God uses.
Pastor Wood discussed stress this week. He explained how to respond to it in a Biblically productive way. It was refreshing to be reminded to turn to the Lord in prayer in times of stress. Meditate on the Bible to nourish your soul in stressful situations (don’t turn to other devices).
- Productivity needs to be redefined Biblically.
In the Bible, what is your todo list? Answer: The great commission. Many times we get thwarted in our long *earthly* todo lists, and this brings stress. But we might miss the more important tasks when we only focus on our earthly responsibilities and goals we have. Being stressed may mean that we are tackling the wrong list in our life. This was a refreshing reminder for me. How can I focus on my spiritual todo list?
- R.E.S.T. as a method to study the word.
Pastor Wood came up with an acronym for devotions or time int he word. It was memorable and helpful. I teach a class on Bible study, and this acronym works great when paired with the Inductive Bible Study method.
- READ – Read the Word.
- EXAMINE – Look at the words. Study the verbs, contrasts, comparisons, connectors, etc.
- SCRIBBLE – Write something down about what you learned or noticed.
- TALK – Share what you learn with a fellow believer. Be encouraged, and be an encourager too.
So, if you want a good idea for a family vacation, you can’t really go wrong with family camp. But make sure you drink a lot of coffee!