Get More Out of Camp, Pt 2

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On Tuesday, I introduced a concept I’ve stumbled into the past few years at camp: find the gaps in the schedule. Click here for the full article.

Today, I’m going to spend some time explaining how I’ve used our schedule to help grow leaders.

As I mentioned in part 1, our schedule at camp is pretty laid back, and offers quite a few blocks of free time. So, last year, I split our leadership team into two groups and would meet with each group once a day.

While meeting with the group, we had a few repeating questions we knew we would talk about each day, one of which being “how did you pour into someone younger or older than you?”

I am actually pretty big on building relationships across grade levels. We have a smaller group, so it is important for our older kids to understand their influence on younger kids.

But at the same time, last year I had some younger kids on leadership team and I wanted them to learn their responsibility in developing relationship with older kids. Sound strange? It is, but I tried it.

So, imagine my delight when I saw a soon to be senior walking back from water activities with a soon to be 8th grader.

Those “gap” meetings were simple, short, and something I plan to repeat this year. They were a way for me to help teach a new mindset to a group of students.

So, if you’re a Youth Pastor, let me challenge you this summer to make the most of your schedule at camp. Do not try to force anything, but if the opportunity arises, make the most of the schedule gaps you have at camp.

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Get More Out of Camp, Pt 1

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Today I’m going to let you in on a little secret that I’ve learned about developing student leaders. But first, a little context.

As I mentioned last week, this week I am taking a group of teenagers to camp. I love camp. I love the opportunities we have to grow relationships, to learn, to grow closer to Christ, and to get away from distractions.

One thing I’ve learned over the past few years while at camp is there are opportunities to make the most of the schedule.

Let me clarify.

Our schedule is actually pretty laid back. I’m grateful that the people who set the schedule do not have the mentality of “wear them out”, but instead seek to provide a change of pace.

So, for the past few years, I have looked at the schedule and found little gaps that provided an opportunity for me to meet with my student leaders and help them grow. In doing this, I get to take advantage of the camp atmosphere, while at the same time teaching some core principles and ideas to student leaders.

On Thursday, I will explain in a little more detail exactly what I’ve done in those times.

But for today, especially if you’re a youth minister getting ready to go to camp, let me challenge you to make the most of the schedule. Find the gaps and look for ways to further relationships and connections in those times.

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A New Adventure

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Next week a project on which I have been working and dreaming up for the past two years launches–Horizon Leadership Camp.

On Wednesday, I will load vehicles with a group of students going to youth camp with Horizon Camps. While we are there, I have the opportunity to pour into a small group of student leaders with the sole purpose of helping them develop as leaders.

Many of the things I’ve written over the past 4+ months will play a role in what I share, but more than anything I have to say, I am excited about the opportunity to interact and help develop student leaders from a context different than my own students.

Would you like to find out more about Horizon Camp and the Horizon Leadership Camp experience? Click here.

While this is happening, I also have the opportunity to pour into my own students and student leaders as we enter a new chapter in our ministry, and I couldn’t be more excited.

So, what’s the leadership principle or thought in this?

Hard work pays off?

Leaders develop leaders?

Hang in there?

I can force a principle, but the reality of this post is I am excited. Developing leaders and watching students, especially, adventure out of their comfort zones gives me high expectations.

I am so grateful for someone who saw something in me, pursued it, and has helped me grow through it.

So here’s to a new adventure, to HLC 2.0.


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Encouraging Students to Experiment with Leadership

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On Tuesday I talked about the need to redefine leadership potential. If you missed it, click here to read it.

Today, let’s talk about how to provide a way for students to dip their toes into leadership.

Over the past year, I’ve been teaching a group of student leaders to ask themselves three questions when they walk into our youth room.

  1. What needs to be done? (Awareness)
  2. What can I do to help? (Willingness)
  3. Who can I get to help? (Leadership)

As they work to answer these questions, their outlook on what constitutes leadership has changed. Leadership isn’t something accomplished only from the stage. Leadership happens when one person is able to move another person (or a group of people) in a common direction for a common purpose.

If I can teach an 8th grader the basic principles of leadership, and give them opportunities to exercise leadership, then as they mature and progress through our ministry, they will lead more effectively at a later age.

More than anything else, as I have redefined leadership potential, my desire is to teach students an awareness of what’s going on around them, and a willingness to help.

If you want to read more about the 3 questions, check out the “Foundation” page, or search through the 3 Questions category here on the site.

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Lessons from the Farm: Don’t Leave Cattle on the Truck

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This week I am going to finish up my first theme. I’m calling these posts “Lessons from the Farm”. You can read the first post here, or click the Lessons from the Farm Category to the left.

Just a little background: My lesson today comes from a more recent learning. A few years back, I took a break from full time ministry to serve bi-vocationally. During that time, farming and ranching was my main income, but the lessons learned have not left me yet.

A winter weather storm was moving our direction one day, and it was time to buy more cattle (2 Semi trucks and one 40 foot stock trailer worth). That meant we had three trips from the sale barn to the farm, and only two drivers.

My dad and I made the first trip, he was in the truck and I was in the pickup pulling the stock trailer. We unloaded at home around 7:30, and decided to ride back together, arriving back at the sale barn at 9pm behind 8 trucks waiting to load.

While we waited, the winter storm hit. Snow started lightly falling at first. Eventually, the brunt of storm hit and we were waiting in a snow covered parking lot. Our trailer was still empty.

We got home, unloaded, and walked into our houses that night well after midnight. My pregnant wife was struggling awake, waiting to make sure we got home safely.

The lesson: We never left cattle on the trucks. Weather, exhaustion, anger, confusion, or any other reason. We always worked until the job was done.

Thursday I will finish unpacking what I learned from that night. Until then, I’ll leave you with this question: are you willing to drive an 18-wheeler loaded with cattle through a snow storm to finish the task at hand? What are you leaving unfinished that needs to be finished?

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