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Greenfield Camps: the gospel down on the farm

August 2015 | by Steve Moxon

At the start of each year, one question echoes round Harrogate, Ripon and York, ‘When is Greenfield?’ For many young people, aged 7-14, Greenfield Bible Camps are the highlight of their year, returning again and again each May.

This spring bank holiday, despite the mud washout of last year, 106 children and 50 leaders gathered at a farm just outside Boroughbridge, in North Yorkshire, for Greenfield 1. This is for 7-11 year olds and was a sunshine-filled weekend of activities, fun and Bible teaching.

Activities included ‘It’s a Knock Out’, a camp fire, varied interest groups, and an obstacle course based around the farm. Most of the children’s only Christian contact has been through their once-a-week church Bible club, so Greenfield provides them with a full weekend opportunity of hearing the gospel.

Each day, the children enjoyed singing choruses, learning memory verses and taking part in quizzes during the ‘tent time’ meetings in the marquee. Here they also heard our speaker, Dave Lancaster from Derby, present the gospel through the theme of ‘Lives Jesus changed’.

These tent times were followed up by the children’s cabin leaders reviewing the stories and answering any questions that the children may have. This is an opportunity for the children to share their thoughts and questions.

Serious questions

One girl, asking serious questions, started by saying, ‘I know now that going to church and reading my Bible doesn’t make me a Christian’. Other children who have problem backgrounds and are seen as ‘difficult’ children thrive in the Greenfield environment. One such boy listened intently and asked numerous spiritual questions … including out loud in the tent time!

The following week saw 52 campers, aged 11-14, accompanied by about 30 leaders on Greenfield 2. Although the weather had cooled a little and there was some rain, it was not enough to dampen the spirit of the campers.

Alastair Gooderham from Doncaster spoke on the life of Moses. The gospel was presented and challenges given during these tent times.

Many of these older youngsters are from church backgrounds and, during the cabin times, many encouraging conversations took place. It was thrilling to see how God was already working in the hearts of some and it was good to hear several praying in their tents. There were also those who were searching for more truth, and some great open conversations on ‘who God is’.

Follow-up

The majority of those attending either of these two camps are known to either the camp leaders or members of the local churches that leaders are linked to. This allows all children, especially those who have made a profession of faith or asked serious questions, to be followed up effectively.

We know that Greenfield Camp can have a lasting spiritual impact on many of the campers. In fact several of the leaders would acknowledge the place that Greenfield has had for them, in either trusting Christ or growing in their Christian faith.

Greenfield Camp is run through Young Life (YL) Holidays and many of Greenfield’s leaders are past or present members of the Harrogate or York YL branches. YL aims to evangelise the lost and disciple the found, through its network of local groups. Greenfield is a great way to reach out with the gospel and train up young believers. For more information on Greenfield Camp or Young Life, please visit our websites (www.greenfieldcamp.co.uk; www.younglife.org.uk).