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I DARE YOU to love

Hi Friends! It's been almost two months since our last update: June was filled was promoting and planning, and July was final preparations, team trainings and camp!   Yes, you saw correctly: Half Step Camp 2022 came and went last week. In this update we will share stories about what God did at camp!

Students Engaged

If you've been following along on this journey for awhile, you know that we lost a lot of momentum with Half Step when the pandemic hit. This was our first camp since before things shut down and in so many ways it was like starting from scratch
We saw many students from Christian homes, who had never experienced HSC before, get dropped off "against their will" and mope their way up to my check-in table (it was actually quite funny). However, even by the end of the first day, we saw those kids drop  barriers and choose to engage. By the end of the second, the engaged students took the initiative to welcome the less enthusiastic! 

Our amazing team worked so hard to create an environment where the Spirit could do whatever work He wanted to do.  We knew going into camp that this would not be a "professions of faith" kind of camp, but we did believe that God would use this camp to meet students and grow them.  Our team surrendered expectations and goals, and instead took the posture each day of, "Spirit, how can we make this a space where you can work?"
Here's some of the ways we saw students engage at HSC:
  • Guitar teachers shared stories about students that were scared of their instruments at the beginning of the week, picking guitars up with confidence and excitement at the concert.
  • Improv teachers shared about a student you couldn't get two words out of at lunch but wouldn't stop talking and laughing in the Improv workshop.
  • The Dance teacher shared about how one of two students tended to talk over the other at the beginning of the week, but then after Survival, intentionally gave space and invitation for the other student to speak more.
  • A leader shared they had never felt more seen or appreciated than they did being apart of the camp team!
  • Most discussion group leaders reported that students shared more openly than they expected and that the students in the group carried each other well in moments of vulnerability.
  • There were a couple students that came in knowing nobody and by the end of the week, they had made connections and relationships that they would carry beyond the end of camp!
  • The talks at the end of the day challenged many students. In particular, Thursday night, we talked about grief and in discussion groups, students confessed addictions, harmful behaviors, and found freedom in those confessions!

Survival Day

Each year at camp, we do a "spontaneous" day called Survival and this year students really loved it! On our end of camp survey, 60% of students said that Survival Day was their favorite thing about camp. On this day, they spend around 6-7 hours out in Fort Collins walking and solving challenges and riddles with their Discussion Groups. We had so many stories from leaders and students alike on how this time was great for expanding friendships and inviting deeper conversation. We created space for the Holy Spirit, and he showed up! In Discussion Groups the day after, it was especially apparent the impact that Survival Day had in breaking down walls and building trust. 

At Camp:

  • There were 25 students mostly from at least 6 different churches

  • There were 22 Camp Leaders from 7 different churches

  • There were 15 volunteers from 5 different churches preparing and serving food all week

  • There were 13 volunteers from 4 different churches that led bands for our evening programs

  • There were 9 volunteers from Mill City Church that showed up to help us tear down all of the equipment we used for camp.

The amount of people that were willing to serve high schoolers in NoCo was incredibly encouraging and inspiring! We are SO GRATEFUL for all the ways that people stepped in to serve at HSC. We may have had less students than we were praying for, but we had almost 60 people step in to serve through Half Step Camp this year! 
We prayed and prepared for 50 students, 25 attended camp. We prayed for, pursued, and prepared for non-believers, none came. It was the same our very first semester of Half Step at Faith Church. We prayed for non-believers and received 17 Christian homeschooled students. However, once Christian students saw that Half Step was truly a place their non-Christian friends would be accepted and that they would actually enjoy, the ministry started to shift.  I believe that's what this camp was about. It reestablished the heart of Half Step after years of upheaval and change. It inspired students and leaders to look beyond their safe Christian spaces to dream about a space where a non-believer can be singing and jamming right next to a believer regardless of what they believe. This is the heart of Half Step. 

At the end of the day:

I believe that we succeeded in three things: 

1. Creating an environment where youth can connect with Jesus by building authentic relationships through their passions!

2. Building up a team of leaders from multiple churches in NoCo that also share the vision of connecting with youth and leveraging their time for the expansion of the kingdom of God.

3. Re-lighting the spark of Half Step with students and leaders alike in NoCo.
Thank you so much for praying for this camp: all the preparations, details, the students and leaders.  Your support and encouragement was felt in full through the entire week of camp and leading up to it! We look forward to continuing on in ministry however God leads us. We will be back with our next update in September to talk about what's next after we've had some time to rest from this super busy season. 

Our prayer for you is this: "I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit." Eph 3:16

As always, if you would like to support Half Step Ministries financially you can visit our website or click the button below. Thank you so much for your continued support! 


 
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