As a former youth pastor, one of my biggest issues with camp ministry was the “mountaintop” experience that many students have at camp. Students would go away for a week at camp and then come back on a camp high having made decisions to change their lives for Jesus. However these same students returned home to the same problems, the same families and the same friends that they had before camp. Ultimately many students would return from the amazing mountaintop high of camp to the difficult valley of their lives. Camp decisions could be quickly forgotten and lives could easily fall back into old habits. For some students, camp didn’t contribute to change that lasted.
What I am most excited about at Mount Hermon is the opportunity we have to create a camp experience that is much more than a mountaintop experience. Our vision and our prayer at Mount Hermon is to see lives transformed. Transformed lives don’t go back to old ways of living. Transformed lives become more and more like Jesus and fall more and more in love with Jesus. I see our role at Mount Hermon as that of being servants to the churches who are doing the hard work of consistent, daily ministry to students. We want to partner with churches and serve churches so that students are set up to succeed in the decisions they make at camp after they return home. We have some ideas of what this may look like but we are just starting this journey. I am excited in these next few years to continue the dialogue with students, youthworkers, pastors and parents to figure out how we can better create camp experiences that are much more than a mountaintop experience.
Lord help us to love you and love students and not be satisfied with camp highs and change that doesn’t last. Give us a heart for students that desperately want to see transformed lives for your glory and your Kingdom.