I had a student go to a camp with me one year and hear the gospel message all week long. I sat down with him the last day of camp to ask him how it was all sinking in. I saw that he wasn't responding to my questions about Jesus, so we spent the afternoon chatting about other stuff and having a blast at camp. Every now and then I would try to get some Jesus conversation going, but it didn't take. A couple hours went by and I noticed dinner was coming up, so I was preparing to head out and get ready. I was walking out the door when I heard; "I don't understand why Jesus would die for me; it doesn't make sense". We talked about it for a while, and I realized we had a lot of conversations ahead of us about Jesus. God was pursuing his heart, and I just needed to be patient and be available.
Summer camps give us a chance to connect with students for a week and start talking about Jesus. It takes time for a student to really comprehend the reality that a God loves them unconditionally, and there is nothing they can do to ruin that love. Our leaders that go to camp get to be there while they work through this unimaginable love they may have never experienced before.
We talk to kids at camp, but we all know the most important conversations come after camp when we try to figure out how to make it work in the real world. How can we start talking about Jesus to our friends, neighbors and family? Be prepared to be there to help them figure out how to make it work in the real world. Remember, nobody has ever been argued into heaven, so be ok if there isn't a decision made during that first conversation, or second, or even 6 months later.
I love what camps do for students' hearts. I love how camps set up leaders to be God’s hands and feet with students. I love how camps get us starting to talk.