You go to camp. You learn about God. You spend time with godly friends. You feel a complete rejuvenation in your desire to know God and grow closer to Jesus…and then you come home.
As school and work take up your time once again, and seeing your Christian friends isn’t a daily occurrence, it’s easy to lose the “spark” that once filled your heart in the camp environment.
Many young people “recommit” to Christ or decide to let Him change their lives while attending camp. This is AMAZING! But to see lasting fruit, the life change has to continue beyond your week, month or summer. Here’s how to make sure it does.
Remember that camp is awesome, but it’s temporary
I spent a summer working at a Christian retreat and camp center in New Mexico. Surrounded by believing friends, weekly chapel and Bible study groups, it was easy to grow in my faith. I have so many fond memories of that summer, and many of the people I met there are my friends to this day (10 years later!).
But the camp environment can be deceiving. It’s awesome—but it’s temporary. Recognizing this will help you see your decision for what it is: a dedication to pursue Christ long term.
Following Christ won’t always feel good
In a camp environment, everyone is pursuing God. Everyone is (usually) a Christian. Everyone is working toward the same goal and spending both work and free time together. The only place this kind of community happens is, essentially, at camp! When you leave camp, seeking God will have to be done on your own time.
It won’t always feel good. You won’t always want to do it. You won’t have someone mandating chapel or leading a Bible study group, and your friends might not be as passionate as they were before. However your circumstances change after camp ends, stay true to what Christ is doing in you. Follow Him—even when you don’t feel like it! As you are faithful to pursue God, He always shows up. Emotions follow actions.
Put yourself in Christian community
Camp facilitates community that we don’t have in normal life. But what if that community could be cultivated on a weekly basis? No, you won’t be living with your Christian friends or spending every day with them, but you can intentionally put yourself among people who love the Lord and encourage you to do the same.
Some ways you can do this:
- Join a strong Bible-believing church that has a high school or college ministry. You could also start a Bible study for people your age, if there isn’t one.
- Make a point of attending or trying out Bible studies and youth groups. The hardest part is showing up.
- Get to know people your age, even those outside your friend group. Invite the new girl. Get to know people outside of the church by inviting them to coffee or having people over to your house. It doesn’t have to be fancy! Everyone can bring food and play games.
- Think about people whose faith you can pour into. As Jesus teaches you what following Him looks like, you can teach others. You don’t have to be an expert. You just need a teachable heart.
Camp is a great place to be encouraged in your walk with God. But that’s exactly what faith is: a walk. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stand still. It doesn’t become stagnant. Follow Jesus forward, even after camp ends.