Last week we had a our summer camp reunion service. Basically, we come back from summer camp and do all the things we did at camp and do them in our service. We sing the camp songs, play camp games, and we share camp stories.
Usually at service I will get up and teach a little bit. I do love teaching. Especially after camp because energy is super high and they are tuning in because they just spent a whole week doing this. Of course I want to teach in that moment.
But I don’t.
We let students share. We had 7 students be the sermon at service and had them share what God did at summer camp and it was super powerful. Let me share why I think we need to let students teach and share regularly:
Students teach students better – The selfish side of me wishes this was not true. But it is. the human side of gets bummed out when I know for a fact that all of the time and effort I put into a sermon only to have it not remembered by students over the years. “Not my sermons, mine are rememberable” says the first year youth ministry guy. What did your senior pastor teach 7 weeks ago? Did you look it up without looking on Planning Center? Students listen to students better. Students teach better to their peers. We have students write out their whole testimonies and they read it straight from the paper and it’s way more powerful and engaging than if I were to memorize and give to most epic sermon ever. When they see someone like them on stage, they are bought in and God can grab their attention in a way that you as an adult cannot.
When students say “me too” it’s powerful – When students have the opportunity to share, they can hear the story of one of their own and have the opportunity to say “me too”, and that is powerful. When a student can hear another student’s story and hear about the sin, addictions, struggles of those students and say “me too” it’s memorable. Then they God hear what God does when lives are fully given to Him and then they can say, “I want that too”. It gives hope that God can move in their lives too.
I’m not saying we should have students share all of the time, but I am saying we can be more intentional about them sharing more. Especially when it comes to summer camp. My challenge to youth workers is to give up the stage every now and then and yield it to an unpolished, nervous to be on stage student who tells the story about how God has worked in their life and watch God work.
It’s pretty incredible.