Last week our church hosted its first family camp. It was not as big as we wanted it to be but it accomplished almost all of the goals we set out to accomplish. It’s funny, because I never really liked the idea of a family camp – but here are some reasons why I thought it was important to put one on.
- State of our church. In the last three years our church has welcomed numerous new families. Especially in the last year, more than half of our church is new. Being a replant church we have grown fast, but the connections between all these new families are lacking. It was important to have an event that can bring these new families together and establish a solid foundation for future friendships.
- No one is an island. In family ministry we are striving to build trusting bonds between families because it is next to impossible to get through life alone. We desire to see parents mentor other parents, children being safely connected with other adults outside of the children’s ministry and for adults early or later in life connecting with others in the church family. The name of the game is relationships, and ministry/discipleship/mentoring cannot even begin without building trusting relationships first.
- Shared values. As Christians we have different values than the rest of the world but there’s a good chance we share similar values with those inside our own church. I’m not talking about political or social values so much, but more about values of faith. It is crucial that we surround ourselves with people that can encourage, challenge and solidify the values we desire in ourselves, our children and our church.
- Experiencing God. There are times when we need to just be with our Father and retreat from the distractions of life and experience His love. Jesus did this often. Times of worship, prayer and communion are important elements for our walk with Christ. Family camp is an opportunity to get away from everyday life and grow in faith. Instead of just one hour that week, you have a whole weekend devoted to experiencing God by yourself, with your family and with your church family.
Family camp is not for every church, but for our church where we are at and the vision we have, it was an event worth investing in. Next year we will re-evaluate and make sure it is an event worth continuing.