To me, June starts in Batam.

It’s about that familiar walk down the ramp with a hundred other kids wheeling their suitcases off the boat. It’s the excitement that builds when the entire Youth Ministry gathers in the same orange ballroom that hasn’t changed since I was 12.

‘Tis the season of church camps, the monumental three-day retreat everyone has marked out on their church calendars.

However, if you’re anything like me, who’s attending her (roughly) seventh church camp, it can be easy to operate on autopilot mode (ask me and I can recite the general rundown of a church camp without batting an eye!).

Church camps can start to feel familiar, almost mechanical… so how do we make sure we make the most of it, this June?

Camp begins before you even enter the campgrounds

Whether your camp takes place in JB, Malacca, KL, Batam, Singapore… It doesn’t matter, get your heart ready at home. Before camp, ask God for a heart that’s hungry and ready to receive His word.

Just like the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13, we need to check the condition of our hearts. Is it like the rocky places with little and shallow soil? Or the path that is open to enemies hunting for scattered seeds?

If our hearts have been untended to for a while, ask God for new soil so His Word may fall on fertile ground during camp.

Getting our hearts ready means intentionally making room for God to move, just as how a host prepares his house for guests to arrive.

Many times I’ve caught myself during camp distracted and struggling to engage during services, simply because my heart was not in the right place.

In doing so, I dishonour God’s presence that wants to meet His people and miss the work He wants to do.

So come to camp with anticipation. Be like a host who waits at the door, and expects his guest to arrive.

Disconnect (to connect)

To me, one of the best things about camp is having the excuse to go off the radar. Trust me, Telegram won’t burn down in your absence. It’s the perfect time to stay off social media.

When we let our phones become a major distraction in our lives, there’s hardly any room left for God. So maybe it’s time for a detox! Putting away your phone is the best way to make sure you leave your distractions to the side.

At the very least, switch off your Wi-Fi during the day and only check your phone at the end of the day (my youth camp used to keep the hotel’s Wi-Fi password a secret, a controversial but much-needed move back then).

When Jesus arrives at Mary and Martha’s house in Luke 10, Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and fully absorb what He was saying.

While all this was happening, Martha was busy making preparations and missing out on what Jesus was saying.

We can be in the same room as God and be completely ignorant of what He is doing, because we find other tasks to be more important.

Choose to be Mary, and know that our distractions can wait but God’s revelations can’t.

Here is Jesus’ response to Martha when she cries in exasperation for Mary’s help: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Choose to be Mary, and know that our distractions can wait but God’s revelations can’t.

Go into town

When the Samaritan woman met Jesus, she didn’t keep it to herself.

She rushed into town and told her people about Jesus, and many more came to Jesus because of her testimony.

We see this boldness in Mary Magdalene as well, who went to the disciples to share the good news that Jesus is alive after He rose from the dead.

It’s easy to “press in” during camps. There’s the extended worship time, the removal of distractions, three full days of intentional time for God undisturbed…

But what happens when we alight the bus and return home? When the suitcases are unpacked and our journals are returned back to their shelves?

The real work begins after camp. God doesn’t move in camps just for us to shed tears at the altar or have a spiritual high.

The real work begins after camp.

Go into town just as the women did in the Bible.

Be excited about what God has done and will do after the camp. Your testimony is meant to be shared and heard, so share and build one another’s faith within and beyond your spiritual community.

Rejoice on the plane (or bus) home and rejoice when you return to church the next weekend, because churches aren’t driven by camps but the testimonies of its people.

“Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”” (2 Kings 4:10)

When God moves, His people must be ready to receive Him.

Don’t be caught unprepared this June, because He already has a word ready for each of us.

Just as how the Shunamite woman prepared a room for Elisha, let’s prepare our rooms for God, making sure to provide anything that He may require us to surrender.

  1. What was the last revelation you received from camp? 
  2. Have you changed since the last camp, or has there been a period of stagnancy? 
  3. Do you feel ready in your spirit to engage during camp? Why or why not? 
  4. What is one thing you must do to make the most of church camp this June?