The Problem With Church Camp

The house should be less crabby this week. My brother left this morning for church camp, a week of hanging out, high school flirting, and sports. I always went to church camp growing up. Once, twice, or three times a summer I left home for a long bus ride to a week that always featured an evangelist that preached a couple times a day. I, along with most of the other kids, always came back from camp all excited about the fun and preaching.

For those who do not know, church camp is intended to get the campers to make a "decision." A decision is when a camper decides to do something, i.e. respect one's parents more or read one's Bible faithfully. Kids are persuaded to make a decision by the evangelist. The evangelist usually will use sermons that don't use too much Bible, and will clinch this sermon by an emotional story that persuades the listeners to make said decision.

Anyway, I always came back on an emotional high, and this batch of kids is not likely to be any different. I'm sure there will be a testimony service at my church where everyone can share what decisions they made with the church. The problem makes itself known a couple weeks after camp when practically no kids are keeping said decisions and have resumed the lifestyle of the week before camp.


Why do camp revivals never last? Why do the results of revival meetings never last for more than a couple weeks?

Answer. Because most camps and revival meetings are built on emotion.

I don't want to say that camp and revival meetings have no spiritual benefit. They can, and do. But, for the most part camp preaching is fluff. I have heard messages that resulted in "revival." Almost everyone made a "decision." The next week I realized that what had "convicted" me wasn't the Bible at all. It was simply a story about the speaker's childhood. The only "conviction" I had felt was an emotional build-up because I was listening to a good public speaker. When the emotion wore off, so did my desire to do what I had decided to do.

The fact is that if we truly read our Bibles, we will realize that it doesn't say anything about decisions. True Christianity really isn't built on things we do, but a relationship with God. Whenever we try to manufacture a religion that uses emotion to get people do a bunch of external works without building it on a relationship with Christ, all we get is a religion that fails when the emotion wears off.

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