Gramp Camp Is Back! - Issue #140
Churches of all sizes can create opportunities to bring generations and neighborhoods together for old-fashioned fun. Summertime is a good time with longer daylight hours and schedules that may be more relaxed for people of all ages. Forrest Heights United Methodist Church is a small-membership congregation in Lubbock, Texas. Many of the Forrest Heights members are grandparents and great-grandparents. Some grandchildren live nearby, and the neighborhood around the church has lots of children. During the long summer evenings, the congregation provides Gramp Camp.
Gramp Camp is an opportunity for the grandparents to pass on what they enjoy to the children. Children have a chance to be with grandparents and try activities they might not be exposed to at school, daycare, or by their busy parents. The Gramp Camp evenings include snacks and Bible-related conversation or activity. Here are some examples:
- A couple of years ago, a wood worker guided the generations as the children learned how to hammer nails and work screwdrivers. During the evening, there was a story about Jesus and his carpenter father, Joseph.
- This summer, a kite maker helped the group build kites. Later, the grandparents and children launched the kites at a nearby park. As the kites were flying, there was conversation about the way we send forth our prayers to God. The park also made a good place to have watermelon and a seed-spitting contest.
Gramp Camp is an example of a congregation willing to try a new way of reaching people. The church is still exploring ways to connect with more neighborhood children in addition to grandchildren. In order to continue as a vital congregation, they understand the importance of identifying the needs in the neighborhood, figuring out ways to reach the people in the neighborhood, and making the changes necessary to welcome people who are different from themselves.
Some Questions for Discussion
- How does your congregation use the summer as an opportunity for making disciples?
- How might your congregation be more intentional about helping people connect daily life (both work and fun) to their Christian faith?
- List the specific needs of your congregational neighborhood. How can the congregation meet people where they are?