Jesus Camp is a 2006 documentary directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing about a Pentecostal/charismatic summer camp for children who spend their summers learning and practicing their "prophetic gifts" and being taught that they can "take back America for Christ."
According to the distributor, it "doesn't come with any prepackaged point of view" and tries to be "an honest and impartial depiction of one faction of the evangelical Christian community”. Jesus Camp is a documentary about the "Kids On Fire School of Ministry," a charismatic Christian summer camp located just outside Devils Lake, North Dakota and run by Becky Fischer and her ministry, Kids in Ministry International. The film focuses on three children who attended the camp in the summer of 2005—Levi, Rachael, and Tory (Victoria). The film cuts between footage of the camp and a children's prayer conference held just prior to the camp at Christ Triumphant Church, a large charismatic church in Lee's
Summit, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City. All three children are very devout Christians. Levi, who has ambitions of being a pastor, has already preached several sermons at his father's church, Rock of Ages Church in St. Robert, Missouri. He is homeschooled (as are many of the campers), and learns physical science from a book that reconciles creationism with scientific principles. He is also taught that global warming is a hoax and that the Earth's temperature has a history of natural fluctuation not caused by humankind (e.g., the Ice Age was not due to any industry or pollution by mankind). Levi preaches a sermon at the camp in which he declares that his generation is key to Jesus's return. Rachael, who also attends Levi's church (her father is assistant pastor), is seen praying over a bowling ball during a game early in the film, and frequently passes Christian tracts (including some by Jack Chick) to people she meets.
At the camp, Fischer stresses the need for children to purify themselves in order to be part of the "army of God". She strongly believes that children need to be in the forefront of turning America toward conservative Christian values. She also feels that Christians need to focus on training kids since "the enemy" are focused on training theirs. In one scene shot at Christ Triumphant Church, Lou Engle, a leader of the group Harvest International Ministries (the religious organization with which both the church and Fischer's ministry are affiliated—an affiliation not advertised in the film) and founder of the Justice House of Prayer, preaches a message urging children to join the fight to end abortion in America.
He prays for George W. Bush to have the strength to appoint "righteous judges" who will overturn Roe v. Wade. By the end of the sermon, the children are chanting, "Righteous judges! Righteous judges!" In another, a woman brings a life-sized cutout of Bush to the front of the church, and has the children stretch their hands toward him. Some media reports misinterpreted this as "worshiping" the president, but the children were actually "praying over him". Indeed, the woman clearly tells them "pray for" Bush and "speak a blessing to him". Stretching hands toward someone is a derivative of laying hands on someone, which is a very common practice in Pentecostal and charismatic churches.
There is also a scene at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Levi and his family go on vacation to hear its renowned pastor, Ted Haggard. (Less than two months after the release of the film, Haggard became embroiled in a high-profile scandal involving homosexual prostitution and methamphetamine use.) Afterward, Levi, Rachael, Tory, their families and several other children take part in a Justice House of Prayer rally held by Engle in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Additionally, there is a debate between Fischer and Mike Papantonio (an attorney and a radio talk-show host for Air America Radio's Ring of Fire).
The DVD, released in January 2007, includes several deleted scenes. In one of them, Levi's father and mother suggest that the next president may well have been at Kids on Fire. In another, Tory's mother takes several of the kids to a pro-life women's clinic located next door to a Planned Parenthood clinic. In an interview, the clinic's director says that she was very pleased to see children so passionate about ending abortion. The DVD also includes commentary by Grady and Ewing. They reveal that when they arrived in Kansas City, there was a great deal of excitement over the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. However, according to Grady and Ewing, Fischer and the others did not see their activism for socially conservative causes as political, but as a matter of faith. They also reveal that Fischer and the others did not understand why some of the scenes of them speaking in tongues and praying over objects got in the film.