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Why lead on a Christian summer camp?

The days are getting longer and we’ve all started wondering what we’ll be doing over the summer. And as the summer approaches, for many of us at church that will mean praying and preparing to serve at a summer ‘camp’ (sometimes also called ‘ventures’ or just ‘holidays’).

If you’ve not been on a Christian summer camp before, you might be wondering what all the hype is about (and what an earth even happens - are people spending seven days of the year singing Kumbaya in a field somewhere?).

Here’s the inside scoop on what happens at a summer camp, why they’re so great, and why you might like to get involved.

What happens…

A bunch of young people, aged anywhere between 8 and 18, get together for a week. These guys travel from all over the UK (or perhaps even further afield) and take over a boarding school or a campsite for a fantastic time away.

Lots of fun is had, from wide games to water sports, from football to fancy dress: there are activities for everyone to enjoy! It’s a week of fun in the sun (Great British weather permitting), playing sports, doing crafts, exciting off-site activities, and lots of getting to know one another better.

Most importantly, God’s word is taught. Through main-meeting talks, afternoon seminars, small group Bible studies and even casual discussions, a summer camp gives young people the opportunity to engage with God’s word and learn lots! Often a camp will have a theme for the week, or will go through a particular book of the Bible, as well as potentially offer topical seminars discussing issues that are relevant to the lives of these young people.

Why it’s great…

It’s really fun! It’s a week away from the busyness of life, nasty London air, and all the other things that we love to moan about. At summer camp you have a week full of great fun, time away, and a chance to enjoy some of the Great British countryside.

It’s really encouraging! Not only do you get time to spend a week in the Bible, with more time than usual to hear God’s word read and taught, but you also get to enjoy young people engaging with God’s word and asking big questions about how to live for Jesus.

You get to meet Christians from all around the UK, from lots of different backgrounds, and be encouraged by how Christ is at work in their lives. Lots of lifelong friendships are formed at summer camps - between campers or leaders - as you partner in gospel work together.

Why you should get involved…

It will grow you spiritually. As you help teach younger Christians the truths of the gospel, and discuss how to live for Christ, you will grow in your own convictions of the truth and authority of God’s word. And as you seek to serve, you’ll be pushed to depend on the Lord in prayer, trusting him to be at work for his glory.

Your efforts will help grow others spiritually. Coming from a non-Christian background, I was able to explore the claims of Jesus for myself at a summer camp that a friend brought me along to. Many of the young people at these camps are not followers of Jesus, but may have questions and want to find out more, and you could have the joy of sharing the gospel with them! And for lots of the campers who have already put their trust in Christ, spending time with older more mature Christians can be a real help to them being encouraged and inspired to keep living for Jesus.

Camps need leaders! With such amazing work going on at these camps every year, it is clear that the camps need lots of hands on deck to happen. The Bible needs to be taught, food needs cooking, small groups need leading, fun needs organising, music needs playing… there are loads of ways that you could help! If being a leader straightaway sounds a bit daunting then lots of camps have a ‘junior leader’ team (or similar category) where you can enjoy lots of Bible study, get your hands dirty with practical service and try your hand at leading a few activities through the week. So why not get involved?

How to get involved…

Convinced that a camp is an excellent way to spend a week of your summer? Good.

There are lots of camps to choose from, but if you’re interested in getting involved, chatting to your Bible study leaders or the person you’re reading one-to-one with is a good place to start.

At SKG this week we heard more of how best to make use of long student summers, and what camps other church family members are serving on this year. Don’t miss out! Be thinking and praying about how you could be involved in this ministry this summer.


Clare Dooley, Student Team Apprentice