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Dirty dishes in a sink. Graphic by Uniting Communications.
Graphic: Uniting Communications

Handy tips for a drama-free church camp

What could be better than heading off for a weekend with your church family? Here’s a few tips about how to ensure that church camp is memorable for all the right reasons.

Start early

Once you have booked the venue, put together a timeline. Publicity is the key to good attendance so create a marketing strategy which gathers momentum over the final three months using newsletters, social media and worship updates. Keep a straight face if anyone mentions the 1982 church camp. Most of us got over it ages ago.

Teamwork counts

Churches are littered with the remains of burnt-out camp directors who expired still clutching their colour-coded washing up rosters. Share the organisational load by including different age groups; schedule regular short meetings and follow up with agreed actions and accountabilities.

Share the vision

Before you start worrying about where to put the tea urn, decide on the key focus of your camp (intergenerational community, spiritual retreat, church strategy, mission?) While all these things can be included, determining your priorities sets the structure and tone of the program.

Butcher’s paper only works for wrapping meat

Wrestle the devilish details of rosters, accommodation plans, team lists and so on into submission by using basic computer spreadsheets. You have limited time, so use it well.

What will we do?

Good speakers are as rare on family camps as decent coffee, and both are critical. Unless you have the resources to attract someone really cool, consider working creatively around a theme.

Take time to veg out

The best camps offer a mix of relaxation, socialising outside the usual cliques, family time and spiritual refreshment. Delegate people to organise entertainment in the afternoon and evening but include a quiet zone for those who need to chill out. Nominate a few people to lead a bush walk or host a small discussion group, then sneak off and take a nap.

Worship together

Aim to include as many groups as possible in closing worship. People may be tired, scruffy, and hallucinating about the contents of their fridges at home, but this is the moment when we lay out all those shared stories and dreams before God.

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