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Seeing students take one-step closer to Jesus is what motivates the Youth Team at Mount Hermon the most. Of course a week of camp is powerful but we often talk about camp being much more than a “mountaintop” experience. Our long term goal is to help students find ways to connect to the people of God and the Word of God when they leave, so they can continue growing in their faith beyond their time at Mount Hermon. Developing the Challenge Book and giving it to students is one of the ways we hope they’ll continue taking steps closer to Jesus at home.
This last summer, 1,160 students signed up to take the “26 Day Challenge,” the book that was created for this summer season. A project that started in 2011, there have been 16 books developed as a post-camp reading plan for students. Each book covers a section of the Bible, and is often a continuation of the summer or fall theme that students just experienced at camp. Knowing it takes three weeks to form a habit, we always ensure there are at least 21 days of material. Though the books are different and the styles have changed over the years, each one holds the elements of “read, write, pray, share.” Each day contains a passage of the Bible that students read, questions or verses for them to write out, a guided prompt as they pray and talk to God, and an encouragement for them to share with others something they learned that day. Designed to take 15-20 minutes, students can form the habit of spending time in God’s Word each day. At the end of the book, we include our email so students can contact us and share what they’ve learned from the book. We also include an invitation to help them find other Bible-reading resources, or mail them previous Challenge Books.
One student recently emailed us and asked how to read the Bible on her own without the Challenge Book tool, and we were delighted to encourage her that the “read, write, pray, share” model is one that can be used for any passage of the Bible she’s reading. Our hope is that students will eventually outgrow the use of the Challenge Book, but keep the habit of spending time each day in God’s Word.