Why we do Church Camp

Thoughts from your Regional Minister
Steve Martin
published in May in of Kansas Messenger

Throughout the history of the churches in Kansas – those who were called Disciples and chose to work together for a greater good—church camp has been one of the constant opportunities for learning and Christian fellowship. 

We’ve all heard the statistics: 90% of our ministers say that they heard God’s call at either camp or a retreat. Youth who attend church camp over the years have a better understanding of faith and leadership and their place in God’s kingdom. The effects of camp exceed those of Church School (when we had Sunday morning classes).  All of these have truth, for sure!

Yet more than simply “becoming better followers of Jesus” – which is in itself a worthy goal, we find that the youth and adults who have been faithful campers are often the very best leaders in their church and their communities. Why would this be?

I believe that something special happens – call it the presence of the Holy – when Christians gather for a shared purpose and build an intentional community for the days they are together on Holy Ground.  Meals are more than just food; they are opportunities for sharing together and hearing one another, discerning together God’s values. Recreation becomes Re-Creation as deep friendships are formed and everyone is welcomed and valued.  Worship is enhanced, in part due to the setting, in part due to the struggle and growth of campers who prepare and lead, as it becomes the faith community offering up their own gifts of thankfulness and praise. All these together enable the community to sense God’s presence in a new way.  Magic? No—God’s Spirit intentionally sought and experienced.

Summer church camp is all of this and more. Yes, Kansas has an excellent camp program and an excellent facility; we want that to live on for future generations! Those who give leadership as counselors and in other roles are saints investing in God’s People for generations to come; many of them experienced this gift as young people. It’s the chain of Grace, being passed on through generations. We are always looking for counselors who will “give it a try” for the first time! Information is on the website or call any of our regional ministers to get connected!

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