Greetings from Camp Minnesota! What an exciting time to be at camp! It doesn’t get any better than RIGHT NOW!
RIGHT NOW, campers of all ages from all across the Midwest are having the adventure of a lifetime at Koronis, Kowakan, and Northern Pines, and through Servant Heart Ministries!
RIGHT NOW, campers are having opportunities to make new friends, form new relationships with fellow campers and adult leaders, spend time in nature, share in daily responsibilities, participate in team- and community-building activities, develop as leaders, and grow in skill while participating in high-quality activities.
RIGHT NOW, campers are seeing God in new and fun ways, often for the first time, as they’re immersed in faith communities that include daily Bible study, worship and devotion, opportunities to ask questions about their faith, and seeing faith modeled in the words and example of caring adults.
RIGHT NOW, campers are returning home after their camp adventure! This one-of-a-kind, mountain top experience, has now become part of their faith story. They’ve discovered many things about themselves, like how they want to treat others, what kinds of relationships they’ll seek out, how they want to live their lives, that they matter and can make a difference, and most importantly, that they are loved, RIGHT NOW, by Christ!
Below is an excerpt from an article written by Kevin Witt, national director ofcamp and retreat ministries at the General Board of Discipleship. Kevin shares the importance of and wonderful opportunities available through partnerships between camps and local churches—the need for a link, RIGHT NOW, between the powerful experiences folks have at camp and the ongoing nurture of a caring local church faith community.
Here are some of Kevin’s suggestions for churches:
1. Energetically encourage children, youth, and adults to participate in Christian camps and retreats and create ways to be aware of who attends from your church and your community.
2. Develop ongoing strategies for welcoming those who return, and provide opportunities to hear about the highlights of their experiences. Show that you care by celebrating what is important to them.
3. Be intentional about incorporating meaningful aspects of the camp-retreat experience into the local church setting in order to build on the seeds of faith that are planted. This may be a song the congregation can learn, symbols of the experience in the worship setting, sermon or study topics, testimonies and stories, the chance to use new leadership skills in the local church community, etc.
4. Perhaps the most beneficial step congregation leaders can take is to participate in camp/retreat events and develop partnerships with camp/retreat center staff. The connections you will make with the participants can have lifelong implications. Rarely will you have the opportunity to develop such deep relationships with people from your congregation and beyond. Living together in Christian community for an extended period of time at a camp or retreat opens so many doors.
5. See camp and retreat ministry as an important extension of your own congregation’s ministry. Get involved and support it with your prayers, your presence, your service, and your gifts. Watch lives change before your eyes as they become open to the moving of the Spirit in their midst in these special settings.
RIGHT NOW, the need to work alongside one another as we seek to share Christ in a hurting and broken world has never been greater!
RIGHT NOW, we are so grateful to be in ministry with you in the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Thank you for all you do to support camp and retreat ministries.
Keith Shew is director of camping for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church