Never before had I taken so few teenagers to a camp. That was a disappointment. However, never before had I experienced such an intense time. That was a surprise.
To take young people on a trip or holiday course is worth it for a couple of reasons. Either once or twice a year. These times are of immense value during their teenage years.
In my own life I do remember this particular summer. Those three weeks almost 20 years ago. They´ve made me another person.
During this year´s summer break I had five days on a camp ground that made a difference for our attendees. These three things I´ve learned during our time together:
1. Open your heart!
Bringing change without opening up personally is almost impossible. Especially being with a small group. That´s why I spoke as openly and authentically as possible about our topic „dating & sex“.
That had an effect on them. Such a level of openness, thankfulness and willingness to take it further in personal conversations have I never seen before.
Lesson learned: Open your heart, and so will they.
2. Challenge others!
If it is about saying grace or preparing a short message. It´s always good to challenge others.
At this camp a member of my team stood out because of his great effort. He organized accommodation, planned the daily schedules and prepared the day trips. In addition he took care of every single worship session.
The teenagers as well showed a high level of commitment themselves. Two of them shared their personal thoughts on a scripture during a time of devotion. And praying out loud in front of the others, which we encouraged them to do, they did from the first night on.
Lesson learned: Challenge them, and they will step up.
3. Expect God to turn up!
There is no such thing as a formular for spiritual deepness. Every time again it is his grace that he is there and is touching hearts.
That´s why I´m so thankful that he actually showed up. Right from the start.
Someone was touched that much he was in tears the first session. Prophetic words, some of them even spoken by the teenagers themselves, fell into open hearts.
The best thing happened the last morning as we prayed together for more than an hour to bless each one for the new school year.
Once again someone cried. This time it wasn´t one of the girls.
Lesson learned: Expect God to turn up, and there will be an anointing.
What kind of experiences have you made with a small group? What kind of advantages or challenges do you see? Please write a comment.