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.
This time next week I am going to be at our 14th kids camp. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that it’s been that many. I thought what might be helpful and cathartic would be to discuss what has worked and not worked for us over the years. Hopefully it may help some of you out there.
What doesn’t work:
Allowing pranks – The first year I was sort of non-committal on the issue of camp pranks. Pranks are a part of camp, right? Well the first year, a mom convinced one of her boys to play a prank on his fellow boy campers. This did not sit well with the boys and men counselors. I ended up stopping a potential kidmin Apocalypse, where counselors were angry with counselors, and kids were scared. I now have a VERY strict “pull a prank and go home” policy. What I found was that for most kids coming to kids camp, it’s their first experience being away from home. I don’t want kids to have to fear a prank and have a bad experience that may even keep them from going to our youth camp.
Using youth group games – The first year we did camp we did all youth group games and I didn’t modify the rules AND I allowed the counselors to play. Both were big mistakes. I still to this day remember seeing counselors swinging socks filled with flour and hitting kids; the flour started out soft, but the more the socks were swung around the more cement like those socks became. Needless to say we now modify the rules to youth group games AND counselors don’t play games with kids.
Allowing kids to sing on the bus – Ok. Maybe this is just a personal thing for me. I can’t take 40 kids singing “The song that never ends” for 2 hours straight. I have a strict “no songs on the bus” policy.
These are just a few things that I have learned the hard way. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what does work, then on Wednesday I want to give you a few of the resources we use to pull off camp every year.
What about you what hasn’t worked for you at camp?