Summer is known for its camps, specifically church camps.
Churches host everything from vacation Bible schools to retreats for adolescents and young adults.
The result of such camps is typically a short-lived spiritual high that dies down after about a week and leaves the participant(s) to continue their lives as if nothing significant had happened.
However, there are camps that leave a permanent imprint on their participants. It may not be a short term spiritual high, but it can result in a changed life.
One of these such camps is PRMI’s Upward Challenge.
Upward Challenge, North Carolina, is normally at PRMI’s Community of the Cross.
However, due to the fire that erupted in the log house at the Community of the Cross shortly after Upward Challenge last year, this year’s Upward Challenge was held at a different location.
Even so, the camp was fundamentally the same.
Campers still slept in tents, went on hikes, heard portions of the Dunamis teaching, and experienced the epic presence of the Holy Spirit.
Location has nothing to do with the impact of Upward Challenge, which became clear throughout this year’s camp.
As the week went on, it became clear that a sense of community had begun building throughout the camp.
As one camper later said,
“I loved seeing everyone hanging out with each other and all the community… Worship also really brings everyone together.”
Each night the worship grew more energetic and Spirit-filled.
From the first night, when many campers stayed afterwards to sing and dance, it became obvious that something epic was going to happen.
By the last worship session, the entire camp was linked arm in arm in a swaying line of worshippers, some even on the verge (or off the verge) of tears.
One camper experienced such joy that she ran, laughing and smiling, all the way from the cafeteria to the worship center.
After the camp, a giant camp virtual group chat was set up by one of the campers. For several days afterwards, it was the hub of many campers’ phone activity.
Many of PRMI’s events enjoy such results.
What makes Upward Challenge so special?
Upward Challenge is directed toward teenagers.
In the face of pressures of life while a teenager, what does it mean to walk in the Spirit? How do you live a life pleasing to God while in school? How do you cultivate a sense of direction, purpose and calling in life?
At Upward Challenge the content and atmosphere give a context for the Holy Spirit to work and shape the future of these teens.
If a teaching is too childish or too mature, teens will pick up on it (often before adults) and disengage.
However, many campers at Upward Challenge feel that the curriculum and atmosphere at Upward Challenge was appropriate and welcomed them in.
There is a safety to ask questions, test out hearing God’s voice, and a community environment where we seek the Lord together.
At Upward Challenge, it’s all about the Lord, so campers being open to Him is essential.
Did you miss this year’s Upward Challenge?
Next year’s Upward Challenge will be held at the Community of the Cross from July 20th to July 25th, 2020 where we will learn about prayer.
Previous campers will return once again to welcome the newcomers.
The volunteers will be ready. The tents will be set up. The cabin will be repaired and ready to go.
In fact, the whole camp will be ready.
The question is: will you be ready?