We just wrapped up 2 weeks of summer camp here at Relevant Student Ministry and wisely I’m on vacation in the mountains with my family getting some rest and getting excited for the rest of the summer. Looking back on our 2 weeks of camp one things stands out…we never had any time where we fostered or pushed a typical “church group” session. No time where we gathered everyone and had a open floor for people to talk and cry. We did not have a time like because we push those experiences to small group. We think when people share what God is doing in their hearts at an event that belongs in small group. When teens need prayer for an issue we feel that belongs in small group. When teens need to vent, that time comes in small group. Why? In small group we create a safe space, with a trusted leader where teens can let their guard down and encourage one another. I hope if you still have a camp coming up you will consider pushing your “church group” time toward small group. Here are a few ways we help transition “church group” to small group time at camp…
- We huddle as a large group first // it’s really important to huddle your group up before you break to small groups just so you can set the tome. Some nights are light hearted. Some nights are intense. Huddling up allows you to set the direction for small group time.
- We never re-preach the message // we never never never re-preach the message. At most camp experiences at night the teens have just heard a message, they do not need you to re-teach it.
- We take care of details // we use the huddle to make sure and take care of announcements for the next day.
- We share one thought // we always share one verse and one big idea to take to group.
- We give questions to our small group leaders // we provide our group leaders with questions so they know where to take the small group time. With cell phones we just email those out or text them!
- We let God work // we trust God to use group time to do what He wants to do. We have to trust the process and allow teens to let their guard down in small group.