At our church, we have just completed two large events with a couple more staring us down. One of the things I try to do after each event is to evaluate the events effectiveness and my and my team’s competence. I realize that for each church this may look different, but I also realize that we sometimes need a starting point to get us going.
I break those questions down into three categories. People. Church. Me.
Did the right people come?
Who was missing that should have been at this event?
Who came that I didn’t expect to come?
Where were their opportunities for God to move in the lives of our kids?
Did we create memories that will last a lifetime?
Did this event help build the church?
Did this event point people beyond their own need?
Did we preach Christ Crucified?
Did we as a ministry represent the values and vision of the church? Or did we do our own thing?
Was the Church fully aware of what took place?
Did I do what only I could have done at this event?
What did I do that someone else can do next time?
Did my team learn something from this event?
Did I grow in my dependence on Christ through this event?
It’s very easy to measure the effectiveness of what we do by how many people came or how much money we earned both are valid and helpful but not ultimate. We are a church, not a Chic-fil-a our aim is to primarily pastor and love people not to be a CEO’s. We are more interested in helping those God has brought into our care to maintain a long obedience in the same direction. Large events to the extent they build the church and deepen our dependence on God are helpful. To the extent, they are a spectacle they are unhelpful. Let us by God’s grace create events that drive us deeper into God’s heart for our good and His glory.
Every year I try a few different things at camp. Some of them become a part of camp others we NEVER do again. Here are a list of things that we tried this year at camp.
1. I used social media alot – The past two years I have had a hard time getting Mom’s and Dad’s to go to camp as councilors we also had a down year this year attendance wise so one of the tools I wanted to use to fix that was using social media to help peel away the mystery of camp. So parents who had kids at camp could see what was going on and parents who’s kids had yet to attend could build excitement and anticipation.
What social media did I use?
Facebook – Most parents I know have a facebook and know how to use facebook so this is by far the most helpful in getting the info out there. From face book I linked to my blog, because well I don’t like facebook and I can control the layout of my posts on my blog much easier than FB. On facebook I published updates from my twitter account and posted pictures for parents. I uploaded all my photos to facebook using pixelpipe for my iphone.
My Blog – This year I summed up each day with a blog post and video that supported and summed up what we did. I shot and edited all that footage on my iphone with iMovie for the iPhone. The reason for using my blog was two fold. 1. I could control the layout (have I told you I hate facebook) 2. So parents who didn’t know I have a blog could find it because I often write about stuff I am thinking for Uptown as well as things that could help other parents from what I am learning as a parent.
Youtube – I uploaded videos I shot and edited from my phone up to Youtube directly. Very stinking cool
Twitter – to point parents to my blog and facebook.
Ustream – We used Ustream to put our evening services online for parents to view. I love the idea of parents spying on kids without kids knowing that their parents are spying. We had a couple of hiccups and will plan to do streaming better next year.
2. Journals – I made some journals for the kids – nothing elaborate but just got some notebooks from the dollar store and added bling to them that pertained to the theme of camp. Each morning I shared a few minutes and then the kids met with their councilors and talked through the assignment I gave them and wrote in their journal. This worked great we will do it next year for sure.
3. Partner with parents – This year I tried to include parents in on the process of camp through social media, and on the last day I made a video for parents summing up what we talked to their kids about each day and gave them some ideas for next steps after camp.
4. Movie night – For a night time activity we did a movie night I really liked it. We showed Pixar’s UP what an amazing movie. We had to do something indoors because of the weather but I really liked it we may do it again next year.
The first day of camp started with a torrential downpour. We have been blessed to have 14 consecutive years of sun. It rained and rained. We had our first dinner some kids were nervous other kids where excited and so between the two not much food was consumed which is a huge camp no-no because what you don’t eat today will haunt you tomorrow.
The service was fantastic you could really sense God there from prayer although through the message.
After the service was over we split the camp into teams and the kids got into their teams came up with a name, motto and for the first year ever we did team dance competition. It was hilarious.
So day one in the books and all in all a good day.
This is the last post on camp. What resources do I need to pull off camp?
Detailed Councilor schedule – I create a detailed councilor schedule for my councilors every year for a few reasons. 1. So that they feel comfortable and know what is going on at the camp and what is next on the agenda. 2. Most importantly when kids ask me what we are doing next I tell them to ask their councilors. 3. Help councilors know when to be where. I send this out to the councilors a few weeks before camp.
Medical Release form – Has to be filled out for every kid under 18 according to our insurance company.
Camp Payment Spreadsheet – I have included a spread sheet that will help you track payments and medical release forms for your kids
High Level schedule – this is a quick reference that tells councilors and kids where they need to be when.
Yesterday I talked about what doesn’t work for us today I am going to tell you what works for us. Now keep in mind these are the things that work for us. Some of them are universal some are unique to us. So eat the meat and spit out the bones.
Consistency – We basically have the same schedule and do the same games and have done so for the past 14 years this has created a sense of safety security and tradition. We do the same things at the some time and it really helps kids who are away from home for the first time because not only do the councilors know what is coming next the kids who have been at the camp for a few years also know. Consistency is key.
No free time – The kids have no free time. Well maybe a few minutes before and after meals depending on how fast of a eater they are. This is huge in keeping young kids from feeling homesick we have only had a couple of kids who are homesick to the point that they want to go home most kids are so busy they don’t even have time to think about home.
Values and Vision – We speak the same three messages every year to the kids we deliver the content in different ways but we essentially speak about 1. Having a relationship with God 2. How we are called to love people 3. How we need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
We make the entire camp a game – Everything is a competition. Kids love it they are all competing for a plunger that I nailed to a wooden box and painted gold many, many years ago. They love competing, we use that time to teach them the bible and serving others outside the context of the meetings. It’s silly. It’s fun and it works for us.