By their name alone, Christian summer camps in Texas sound like a very exclusive group. Science camps are only for kids who love science; diabetes camps just cater to children whose bodies can’t produce insulin; Christian camps, then, seem as though they would preclude atheist, Jewish, and skeptic boys and girls from attending. Wondering if non-Christians can go too might sound like a silly question, because few Hindi parents would ever consider sending their daughters to Christian summer camps in Texas. Other parents, though, have to ask this. Not every Christian household raises Christian kids. Whether out of rebellion, personal anguish, or the result of reading an atheist treatise online, at some point many kids doubt the faith of their parents. It’s a troubling but common thing, and it shouldn’t necessarily bar these skeptical children from attending Christian summer camp.
In the Jewish faith, turning thirteen marks a child’s entrance into adulthood. They have grasped the Law, and they become responsible for their own actions, no longer able to blame their immature and childish minds. The Christian faith doesn’t possess such a rigid age, but many doctrines and theological perspectives imply that there is a point of accountability, when a child’s mind has progressed enough to understand God. It’s that point where faith becomes one’s own. Depending on the decision, it can be a frightening or exciting time for Christian parents. Kids are no longer “Christian” just because they’re put in Sunday School once a week. They believe in God by choice, or they don’t.
Faith is often described as a journey. Many high profile pastors and Christian writers discussed the years they spent apart from God. The reality is that few Christians have spent every day of their lives fully committed to the Lord: most have regressed from or rebelled against or rejected their faith at some point. Even in those moments, though, people are usually wrestling with God and doctrine, trying to figure out what they believe. From the outside they may appear completely calloused and set in agnosticism, but within their hearts they remain curious, longing for truth. Kids in that position may refuse to go to church with their parents, but they may still find peace and faith in God by attending Christian summer camps in Texas.
If faith is a journey, it’s absurd to think that every 8-18 year old is at an identical place with God. Every kid will have a different level of Scriptural knowledge, a different experience with church, and different questions about the nature of God. One of the great joys of Christian summer camps in Texas is that so many varied perspectives can come together to learn more about Christianity. Camp isn’t seminary. It doesn’t require a fifty-page application and interview with a board of theologians. Camp is a place where kids of all ages and levels of belief can congregate and journey together towards God. A child who’s militantly opposed to Jesus might be too resistant to travel anywhere in his faith, but someone simply pondering the Bible could still find a place at Christian summer camps in Texas. The name implies it’s only for the most religiously sincere, but Christian camp is more than anything a place to grow in God. It doesn’t matter where kids begin; as long as they’re open to growth and learning, there’s a place for them at camp.