Developing a Love for STPs in your Kids

Our sons loved STP’s! When Jim was asked to take the EDGE Director role in 2004 one of the first questions from our boys was, “Will we still get to go to STP’s?” Our answer didn’t please them, “Well, not all summer like we have in the past.”
Why did they like spending the summer in the cool mountains of Colorado and not playing baseball in Iowa? I think the key was that we purposed to be intentional with them at the STP. At our first STP our boys were 7,9, and 11 years old. This was new for our family and we determined ahead of time that we wanted to do everything we could to make it a good summer for them. I must say that there were aspects of the summer that were out of our control and were not ideal for our sons. However, we really tried to do what we could to make it a positive experience for each of them.
One thing that made it intentional for our boys was doing the STP Bible study with our family. We were all at very different places spiritually and we adjusted the study accordingly. The boys prepped what they could on their own and we came together in our condo and discussed key points of the study.  We set aside time each week to make this happen. The Bible studies led to great family conversations.
Another highlight for our sons was having a student leader meet with each of them 1:1 regularly. Someone else investing in them served to help them grow in their own walk with the Lord. I remember our youngest, Mark (9), coming back from a 1:1 with Chris. He told us how they climbed a mountain and had a Quiet Time at the top looking at four verses in Ephesians. His excited comment to Jim was, “Dad, if there is that much good in only a few verses, think how much there is in all of the Bible!”
On days off we hiked, went fishing, toured the area and enjoyed one another. Some days we included other staff or students with our family. During meals (which were served in a huge cafeteria with guests of the YMCA and students in the STP) we sometimes sat as a family to be sure we stayed connected. We didn’t want the boys to feel like we were ministering to students and that were just “there.”

Each STP is different as is each family. STP’s can be an opportunity to work hard, play hard and to invest well in your family. If I could encourage you in one thing, seek to be intentional with your family as well as with students. This will help to develop a love for STP’s in your kids and set up your family for summers of ministry together in the future.


Beth and her family at STP in 2003
Beth and Jim have been married almost three decades and they consider it a privilege to partner together in life, family and ministry. Being empty-nesters and having three son’s in their 20’s, they have been able to work more closely together than before and are enjoying this phase of life. Beth loves it, though, when her kitchen table is full of family and she cherishes those moments greatly as they are few and far between.

Beth gives us great ideas of how to help develop a love of STPs in our kids. What ideas can you adapt for your family from this post? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments section below!

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