News Articles

Lifeway seeks to prepare generation for revival at 2024 camps

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP) – The Lifeway camps team has been watching to see where God is working and is ready to join Him this summer through FUGE Camps and Student Life Camp by preparing a generation for revival.

This summer, for the first time, every person who attends a Lifeway student camp will be learning about and praying toward the same thing – revival. Brad Barnett, senior manager of events for Lifeway Students, said the vision for this year’s camp theme of Revival Generation came about as Christians started seeing unique movements of God on college campuses, beginning with Asbury University in February 2023. “We wanted to explore how God shows up when people seek Him,” Barnett said.

Each summer, Lifeway hosts two models of camps for students – FUGE Camps and Student Life Camp. Historically, these two models have emphasized different themes. But Jared Shingleton, director of Student Life Camp, explained that a new unity emerged as teams planned for summer 2024 camps. “We believed we could do more together than we could apart,” Shingleton said. “For the first time ever, we made the decision to join forces in casting the same vision and call to action through our themes.”

Together, across 160 weeks of camp in 2024, FUGE Camps and Student Life Camp are planning to equip more than 78,000 students and adults to be catalysts for revival in their hometowns. Along with emphasizing Revival Generation at camps this summer, Lifeway has also been praying for and equipping students and student ministry leaders for revival through Youth Ministry Booster cohorts and a student Bible study, “Revival Generation: Awakening to a Movement of God,” by Shane Pruitt, national director of next gen evangelism at the North American Mission Board (NAMB).

What is revival?

As a generation seeking revival, it’s vital for students and their leaders to know what revival is (and what it isn’t). Pruitt explains revival as “the awakening of God’s people to their true purpose.”

Although many think of revival as goosebumps or an emotional high, Pruitt says true revival happens when God’s people get serious about worshiping Him above all else and living out His purpose for them. Although revival primarily impacts God’s people, it also benefits those who do not know Christ.

“Revival always comes from God, but it comes through His people,” Pruitt said. “Our nation will never experience revival until the churches in our nation experience revival. And churches will never experience revival until the individuals who make up the church experience revival.”

Pruitt pointed to G. Campbell Morgan who is credited with saying, “We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”

“I believe Lifeway camps emphasizing Revival Generation can help this generation realize that revival can begin in their personal lives if they ‘set their sails’ by personally seeking the Lord and preparing themselves in case God chooses to move,” Pruitt said. “After all, revival isn’t the goal; fully knowing Jesus is the goal.”

Revival generation

God can bring revival to any generation, and the Lifeway camps team believes students today are particularly poised for revival. Shingleton said teenagers are searching for identity and belonging, and only the power of the Gospel will fulfill what they are longing for.

Barnett agreed, saying: “This generation of teenagers is being pressed from many sides, and we’re seeing a groundswell of desire for something more.”

Pruitt said he had been praying that young adults and students would be the “revival generation” before the COVID-19 pandemic but sensed that the pandemic ushered in a shift. “The pandemic in 2020 didn’t create new problems for young people; it just poured gasoline on the problems that were already there,” Pruitt said. “Young people are coming to the end of themselves at a much earlier age.”

As students experience brokenness, they begin looking for hope, answers, and truth, Pruitt said. “That’s where the church gets to approach a ‘seeking generation’ with the Gospel, saying that the hope, answers, and truth they’re looking for has a name; it’s Jesus,” Pruitt said. “They’re not searching for something; they’re searching for Someone.”

This summer’s Revival Generation theme at camp is built on the belief that God is already doing something special in this generation. “The church can help stir up a generation to shift from a seeking generation to a revival generation by sharing the gospel,” Pruitt said. “They’re ready. And once they truly understand the gospel, they’re going all in with full obedience and surrender.”

Praying for revival

As Lifeway prepares expectantly for a summer of camp that awakens revival in this generation, leaders are praying the impact of revival will ripple across the United States as students return to their hometowns after camp.

“We know true generational revival cannot live at camp alone,” Shingleton said. “Our prayer is that what God sparks at camp will return to the local church where it might grow into a light that brings renewal to an entire city.”

At Student Life Camp, students will study the theme of revival by examining the God of revival, revival in their lives, revival in their communities and revival in their generation. Through a week of camp, students will be introduced to the God who calls generations to return to Him, learn that revival starts in the life of an individual, be equipped with tools to be a catalyst for revival in their own community and unpack the multiplying impact of revival on a generation of teenagers.

Barnett hopes to see revival spread to families, churches and communities after camp but recognizes that it begins with individual students repenting and placing their faith in Christ. “We pray God will show up in this generation in a way only He could receive the credit for,” Barnett said.

Campers at FUGE Camps will explore four stories in the Bible of great change and revival that resulted in generational impact and be challenged to make a difference for generations to come.

Pruitt is expectant to see students who know and walk with the Lord make Him known in their own generation. “Typically, the most effective evangelists and missionaries to young people are other young people who have a heart that beats with passion for Jesus and is broken over the spiritual lostness of their own generation,” he said.