Check out some wisdom from @bsuess on why you take students camping as a part of your activity rhythm..

1. GOD IS REVEALED IN NATURE. Something deeply spiritual happens when we take students out of their plugged in lives and offer them the simplicity of nature. Stars, hills, and trees offer a unique glimpse into the character of God, and these things can only be experienced outside. Rather than preach a 3-point sermon, we get to be silent and let God’s masterpiece speak. Some of the greatest conversations I’ve had with students have happened around a campfire.

2. RELATIONSHIPS. Jesus always seemed to make great memories with those around him. He raised people from the dead, cast out demons, and even turned water to wine. Memories with him also included climbing mountains, sailing boats, and traveling. When we take students camping, we make memories with them our relationships are never the same. We get to know them in all kinds of situations, and when they remember back, they will remember life with us.

3. UNCOMPRESSED TIME. There is really nothing to do when you camp except hang out together. Agendas are irrelevant. Students live in a fast-paced world of routine, and camping is the exact opposite. Life slows down long enough for us to see who they really are. Rather than a lunch meeting with them where we talk for 30 minutes, camping gives us at least 24 hours with them. What we gain relationally in one camping trip typically takes half a year to achieve only seeing students in our weekly program. Students get to stop and just think.

4. ADVENTURE. I’m convinced that kids need to be kids again. They need to build fires, hike mountains, and have adventures. Our hearts long for discovery and camping trips offer a unique chance for us to give kids what their hearts long for. Outdoor trips often spark the fire of adventure in a student’s life, which plays out in how they learn to live out the gospel. Adventurous students are more willing to say yes when God asks hard things from them.

Here are answers to some questions I get frequently about student camping:

1. Find a place where you can build a fire.
2. Girl camping trips work too.
3. Cook your food, don’t pick something up.
4. They are a great chance to invite new kids. Don’t limit it to your ‘main’ kids.
5. This is also a great way to involve dads in your ministry.
6. Make kids leave their phones. Fight this battle before you leave.
7. Drive far enough away that students can’t leave early for a game or practice.
8. Don’t plan an agenda, let the trip unfold.
9. Bring plenty of leaders, about a 1 to 5 leader to student ratio.
10. Let students do the cooking, fire building, setting up camp. These are things they should learn.

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image adapted from creative commons photo

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