Today’s culture is busy and full of noise, and it seems harder than ever to eliminate distractions.
Even if it’s only for a short time, escaping the noise of school, work, and negative habits is essential for Jesus followers. The best ways to remove yourself from the noise are to retreat daily for prayer and Bible study, weekly for corporate worship and service, and annually for spiritual awakening.
I know you’ve heard pastors talk about the importance of daily spiritual disciplines and weekly corporate worship. But when was the last time you heard a sermon about the importance of going on a retreat like a camp or conference?
I know, I know. You’re too busy — that’s everyone’s initial reaction to the idea of a structured retreat away from your normal routine. Everyone has too much going on to get away!
But isn’t this what a retreat is supposed to help with? Doesn’t a summer camp allow us to refocus our eyes on Jesus and realign our priorities?
We can’t make changes unless we take a step back and see our current state. Retreats, camps, and conferences help us do exactly this.
4 Ways Summer Camp Can Transform Your Life
You Experience God Like Never Before
Removing distractions allows you to place your expectations on Jesus. There isn’t anything holy or magical about a camp or retreat facility. An individual who intentionally and purposefully sets aside his or her normal obligations and instead focuses on God will experience closeness with Him.
It’s not rocket science.
When your pastor encourages you to take time every day for Bible study and prayer, he is doing it because he knows it will change your life. You’ll experience God like never before.
When your Sunday school teacher tells you not to miss church, she is doing it because she knows it will help you in your spiritual journey. You’ll experience God like never before.
Similarly, camps, disciple now weekends, women’s and men’s conferences, and other structured retreats help you experience God like never before. Sometimes all it takes to wake you up spiritually is getting away from the distractions of your normal routine and your typical responsibilities to focus on God.
You Build Community
Feeling alone is common to all of us. Even though we know others go through hard things and struggle with sin and tough decisions just like we do, that’s difficult for us to admit or embrace.
Camps have a way of silencing the parts of us that feel so alone. When people get out of their normal day-to-day routines, they become more open, more willing to share, and more excited to bond with other people.
God’s desire for us is to be part of a body of believers working together to bring Him glory and make disciples of all nations. We can’t do that alone!
Embracing the idea of community — being part of a group that cares for each other and supports each other through all of life’s seasons — is messy. But it’s worth it. And the only proven method for creating it is simply to share life experiences with those you want to have community with. You’ve got to show up, show up again, and continuing showing up after that.
Camps and retreats act as a jumping-off point for many new friendships that will help you and those in your sphere of influence in your collective journey to follow Jesus.
You Develop A Lifestyle of Worship
If the only time you worship God is within the walls of your church, you’re missing out!
We are called to a lifestyle of worship where we acknowledge God for who He is and thank Him for being so awesome. The more different places you encounter God’s presence, the more comfortable you will become with worshipping God constantly.
Removing yourself from all the noise and distractions of your daily life will bring clarity. You’ll start to see your schedule for both its good aspects and its bad aspects, and any choice you make to prioritize it so that it’s more focused on God is an act of worship.
You Discover Your God-Given Purpose
When you spend your whole day doing something, you become defined by it. Students spend all day at school, so they are students. They may spend the majority of their off time doing a sport or a hobby, and whatever that activity is will become integral to their identity.
Adults are no different, by the way. If you spend all day as an accountant, you see yourself as an accountant. If you spend your day as the primary caretaker of your children, your view of yourself will be as a parent.
Conversely, whatever you don’t spend your whole day doing becomes part of who you are not. If you don’t spend all day working in a church, you are not a disciplemaker. If you aren’t serving overseas as a missionary, you are not a international missionary. If you don’t prepare lessons for a Bible study class, you are not a Bible teacher.
But God has a purpose for you that goes beyond your earthly identity. He made it super clear in the Great Commission. We are all supposed to go and make disciples. We are all responsible for evangelism. We are all responsible for our own spiritual growth.
When you take an intentional step away from your routine and surround yourself with others who are different from you, you’ll start to see yourself less as whatever you do all day and more as a member of the body of Christ.
You’ll see that even though you spend all day at school, you have the same job everyone else has — worshipping God and telling others about Him.
You’ll see that even though you aren’t employed as a pastor or missionary, you still are one.