I love our Student Ministries Team here at Palm Valley Church! Earlier this year they came to me with an idea. They had been rethinking the programs they put on each year through the lens of their Biblical Purpose. (In case you are wondering, there are 5 taken from the words of Christ in the Great Commandment and Great Commission – Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, and Evangelism).
Each summer they have two big events – a week long mission trip and summer camp. Both are amazing events that fulfill different purposes for our students.
The mission trip is a discipleship event. To go on the trip, one must participate in the equipping that starts months ahead of the trip, It involves daily Bible reading, verse memorization, prayer, accountability, etc. Every year this is one of the greatest catalysts for spiritual growth among our students. Because of this, it is available to each student at no charge. The church body covers the expense of the trip and these students prepare and then serve for a week putting on church for kids at many of our partner churches throughout the Phoenix metro area.
Summer camp has traditionally been about evangelism. Its a fun week where students will hear the gospel message clearly away from the distractions of daily life in an incredible environment.
Here is the dilemma; the same students were attending both events. You see summer camp is expensive. Upwards of $400 per student. Because of this, only our most committed students would save throughout the year to participate. The students we wanted to experience camp…the friends of our committed students, the students who attend church infrequently, the students form our community, were not making it to this incredible evangelistic camp opportunity. Our teams proposal was crazy: since camp was not fulfilling the purpose it was intended to meet…they wanted to cancel it and try something else.
That’s where Block Party comes in. What if we brought a camp experience to our community? We keep the fun levels high, the energy off the charts, and communicate the gospel clearly. What we got rid of were some food, lodging and transportation costs and brought the price down to $50 for four – four hour days. Even better…we gave our students who registered early, a free ticket to invite their unchurched friend.
It is a risk. I love camp. I grew up going to camp. I worked at a camp. But I am willing to let our team try something new because they are trying to fulfill the purposes that God sets out for the church.
You can check out the details of Block Party HERE.