Imagine more than 300 high schoolers on the shore of Panama City Beach, fighting for victory in tug-of-war face-offs by day and pouring out praises to the Lord by night. That is Beach Week in a nutshell, a week that is anticipated for months in advance. Themes are chosen, team shirts are decorated, and lip-sync choreography is planned. The high schoolers go all out. But more importantly, during this week, they go all out for Jesus.
Most people go to the beach for peaceful moments. Beach Week is made up of many different moments. Some are peaceful: Students sitting on the beach, reading their Bibles at sunrise. The whispering of prayers as the piano softly plays during the worship service. Other moments—not so peaceful: Chanting and yelling during rec games. The pandemonium that ensues when the Camp Champs are announced. But every single moment comes together to create a week that’s unforgettable and transformative.
As much as Beach Week is fun, there is intention behind it. Last week, June 26–30, campers, leaders, and pastors came together for a purpose.
“Bro. Steve and Mrs. Donna gave up two days to come and support our students, and it was a true gift,” Grace Wade, Bellevue’s High School Director, said. “Bro. Steve prayed over the seats, spoke truth into the lives of individuals, and even joined us at the rec field and the lip sync battle.”
Beach Week is a time of refreshing, renewal, and revival. For this week, high schoolers removed distractions and encountered the Lord.
“The students came ready,” leader Kristen Lyons said. “They were hungry and open to hear a word from the Lord and to respond to what He had for them personally and collectively.”
The students at Beach Week responded in big ways: praying for hours, answering calls to ministry, surrendering their lives to Christ, and following in believer’s baptism. In all these things, students were called to do one simple action: discover. Discover God through His ways, Word, works, and will. Through these discoveries, students were led deeper into their faith.
“All of these items pushed students to think through and engage in what the Gospel is theologically and what response this should warrant with our actions,” leader JP Funk said.
High school senior Parker Harrington discovered the power of prayer. Her prayer life has changed since coming back from Beach Week, and she knows that God will continue to work.
“I don’t ever want to confine God to one week of my life just because it’s supposed to be a spiritual and emotional high,” Parker said. “God always has me leaving Beach Week refreshed and renewed.”
God did a lot in just one week. He opened hearts and called students to know and love Him more. He called students toward Himself, but, as Parker noted, He can and will do so much more beyond this week. God will keep moving and pursuing students, leading them to discover Him more and more.
To learn more and find out what’s happening in Next Gen Ministry, visit bellevue.org/next-gen.