In the summer of 2018, we’ll welcome teams of middle and high school students to our 20th anniversary youth mission camp and growing older means trying new things, right? ARM has always been about holy, kingdom-inspired experiments. We like to ask, “What if…?” and seeing where God leads us. As we prepare for another summer of youth mission camp, we’re exploring some exciting new approaches to how we invest in the middle and high school students who extend Christ’s love with us!
In the past, ARM has always developed a scripturally-based theme: “Fools for Christ”, “Seeking Simplicity”, and “Shalom beyond your Home” to name a few recent themes. Our summer mission interns create morning and lunch devotions around our theme as well as nightly programs that are a blend of retreat-style worship and interactive workshops. One night usually focused on the theme scripture passage, another night explored how the theme relates to our understanding of and response to poverty, and the final night incorporated the theme into a celebration of communion. It’s been a great model that has made space for God to work in the lives of our interns and mission teams in powerful ways.
So what’s changing? And what’s staying the same? What won’t change is our commitment to teaching scripturally and theologically sound principles that lead our teams deeper into loving God and neighbor. We also will stay committed to poverty education so that our teams leave ARM with a better understanding of what poverty is so that they can respond in more Christlike-ways to those living in poverty around them. What’s also not changing of course is the way we extend Christ’s love through our home repair and children’s day camp ministries.
What we’d like to explore is doing more to equip our teams to be in ministry back home and for the rest of their lives! We really want mission to be more than a trip because we know that service is a lifestyle for followers of Jesus. And, no matter what career or vocation you choose when you “grow up,” we can all seek God’s kingdom on earth as it in is heaven – from our homes, businesses, churches, neighborhoods and more!
We also know that students have amazing leadership potential that often goes untapped. That’s why we started LeadUp! – an annual weekend retreat for high school juniors and seniors that is all about identifying students’ passions for God’s coming kingdom and walking them through the steps of putting their ideas into action. (LeadUp! 2018 registration begins today at www.arm-al.org/leadup). We’d like our youth mission camp to do something similar but also be suitable for younger students.
We’re exploring how to incorporate principles of leadership development, vocational discernment, and community development in creative, practical ways that your team can take home and continue developing. Our nightly gatherings and devotions may look different, but we’re excited to see how new leaders, new missionaries, will be created and nurtured in the process!
So, what if… what if your team of middle and high school students serves with ARM this summer and comes home with a mission plan for your community? Or with a bigger understanding of how every gift and talent they have can be dedicated to God’s kingdom? Or with a new way to connect the assets of their community with its needs?
These are all just possibilities we’d like to explore together with you and your students. Some things change, some things keep on staying the same. We hope you’ll join us this summer to restore hope, build dreams, and make sweet homes for Alabama.