Why have a Family Camp?

Dear BPCWAians, We thank God that we have just concluded our 2018 Family Camp this year. Over the last several months, many meetings have been held to plan for the church family. Many hours of intensive planning and energy has gone into the preparation from many in church. To some Christians, family camp is a “Nice to have, it is something for dedicated Christians to do, but not really necessary for all Christians”. For others, it is an annual event which the individual and family commit and plan to do every year. What should be our view of a family camp and why does the church actually bother to plan a family camp every year, especially since it is such an investment of time and resources?

Why we have a family camp. The Family Camp serves several purposes.

1) Most importantly, the reason we have a camp is spiritual. It is a time to refresh our personal spiritual walk with God. A camp is a unique opportunity for us to listen to messages from God’s Word with minimal distraction. It is a time of going aside to retreat and seek God through His Word. At camp, we begin each day with a morning camp devotional message, followed by a morning theme messages. A time of group discussion helps to reinforce the learning of the past messages. After dinner, there is another theme message. Over the course of the camp, full time campers would have had about 16 hours of messages. On the last afternoon of the camp, campers go aside for an hour to reflect on the messages they have heard, and to recommit themselves before God in areas He has dealt with us. 2) It is also a time for the covenantal church family to get together to know one another better to build and strengthen bonds. While we meet regularly for fellowships and every Sunday, the camp is a unique opportunity for us to stay together in chalets and have breakfast together and end the day in chalet prayer together. Also, discussion groups further help to provide more interaction as the older children and adults gather together to discuss their learnings from the sermons heard. The afternoon slot for family activity allows the church family to play together in a casual and informal setting. Just as in a normal family, the church family also eats together as we meet in the hall for lunch and dinner. 3) It is a time for the young ones to inculcate good Christian habits and build Christian friendships. We thank God for the families that are coming with their children. Thank God also for the families that have not wavered in coming to camp even the year after their babies were born. And we thank God that many of the children, from young, are looking forward to coming for camp. An excited child was said to be crossing out the days on the calendar, counting down the days to the camp. From young, children are taught by example by their parents how they too must put aside time for camp to be with their covenantal family. To these, it is often the highlight of the family calendar for the year. This is an investment for the next generation to treasure church, Christian friendships, and most importantly a yearly retreat to draw closer to God without distractions. Besides just attending, we have also encouraged the older children to begin serving fruits to the tables after meals, supervised by their parents. Parents who do not bring their children to join us full time are missing out on this blessing which God provides for the Christian families in BPCWA.

Why camp is important to you. As I mentioned earlier, the most important reason why we have a family camp is spiritual. That is why, despite the tiring schedule for the thematic preacher and myself, with so many sermons within a few days, we do it with joy and much prayer for God’s elect that they may benefit from it spiritually. The theme is chosen as an important focus that we pray is useful for all of you. It is to help you, child of God, refocus your priorities and your life and to live for the purpose that is eternal. We often send our cars in for that regular engine oil refreshing and tyre checkup. We know that that is important to help keep it working effectively. But simply because we don’t see our spiritual lives, we cannot ignore it. In fact, while physical things will pass away, only the spiritual will remain. A year passed without spending it for Christ is a year wasted and cannot be turned back. Only what is done for Christ will last and are the true riches that will last for eternity. As your Pastor, I don’t want you to while and waste away your life. We provide you numerous Fellowships and Bible Studies to attend. But take time aside and make it your priority to come for the church family camp. It is a time for you to, under the preaching of God’s Word, review a “report card” of your spiritual life and know where you must do better. Many of us believe that taking time out once a year to spend with family is important, and to take a break to recharge ourselves. And so we take leave for that. Should we not do so for our spiritual lives and our spiritual families? Heads of families – do not deprive your wives and your children of this precious opportunity to grow! Individuals, seek ye first the kingdom of heaven even as you live upon earth!

To those who may be thinking – I don’t need to take my leave to listen to the camp messages. After all, I can still do it online, can’t I? Yes, but remember it is more than just listening to the camp messages. It is about spending time with God, in personal and group prayer, and in undistracted meditation. If you didn’t go for camp, would you set aside the similar amount of time to assimilate God’s Word and seek Him? You wouldn’t benefit from that time of discussion to reinforce your understanding of the messages and how it applies to your life. And you wouldn’t build up bonds with your brethren. But it’s more than that – God saved you to be part of a church. And the Family Camp is a time when you can be with your spiritual family. It is a foretaste of heaven – where heaven is not just you, your family and God alone, but with all of God’s redeemed.

Yours in our Lord’s service