I love youth camp. I gave my heart to Christ for the first time at a camp called Life For Youth Camp in Vero Beach, Fl. I worked there for 7 summers and have been speaking there, one week a summer, for the past 13 years. Oh, and I met my wife there. Needless to say, I love youth camp.
Summer and summer camp is almost upon our youth ministries and I thought this would be a great week for some last minute tips for making your devotion time awesome.
1. Be prepared to lead or prepare your leaders to lead the devotion.
You can’t be angry with your volunteers if they did not lead the devotions the way you wanted if you have not taught them how you want them lead them. Be sure to meet with your leaders, train them, and build their confidence to accomplish their tasks. Here’s a short list of practices I encourage
Talk less and ask more questions – Our goal is to get kids talking
Stick to Scripture – It’s easy to get off track and allow opinions to dominate the conversation. Delving into the Scripture keeps the discussion on track.
Use A Creative Closing- Sure, pray is the standard and appropriate way to close your devotion time but that does not mean you can’t make it interesting. You could close with a song, a formal reading, a physical reminder (such as a mustard seed if your talking about faith), or a a group project such a piece of art.
2. Don’t re-preach the sermon
If you do your devotions after the service, it’s tempting, but don’t re-preach the message. It’s o.k to summarize the messages but for the sake of time, and losing your kids attention, don’t re-preach it. I think devotions are about engaging campers, not speaking at them. Devotions are a great time to answer questions that kids had during the message and for practical help on how to live out the message they just heard.
3. Your youth camp is like a house
I like this quote from a friend on LinkedIn
“Remember when you have a Camp its like building a house with four walls(four topics) your theme is the foundation and your Bible Studies /Devotions are your roofing sheets to complete the house.” – Rodgers Nkhuwa
I have never thought of Camp Devotions in this manner but Rodgers is dead on. The theme is the foundation, topics the walls, and devotions are the roofing sheets, they protect the house from weather and damage. Don’t obsess over the shingles, but don’t forget them either.
Devotions are critical part of camp because they show kids the need to take time out of a busy day to talk out the issues of life with their Creator and we have the privilege to show them how to have that time. Let’s not waste it.
Youth Camp Devotion Resources
If you’re looking for camp devotions to share with your group this summer, here are a few places to pick some up below. I was shocked that there were not more. I have not vetted these devos (except my own) for theological correctness so I encourage you to read the resources (including mine) thoroughly before using.
I can also custom write you a set of devotions to go along with your theme
If you know of a good camp devo book, website, or idea, leave it in the comments section.
Thanks for reading and have a great camp!