2018 was by far my favorite year at camp since I started on the board. This year was more than a success; it was a shining example of God’s kingdom overlapping the everyday activities of camp. It wasn’t that we finally found the template that allows us to harness God’s power and Spirit like a tool. No- All I can say is that God showed up and the staff were faithful. I wish I could claim responsibility, but God is working and all I can do is smile and tell you about some of the ways God worked;
First and foremost, this was a year of discipleship. There was a very significant shift in our attitude towards the staff from ‘Labourers’ to ‘Disciples.’ Our Staff were all given the freedom to teach one another, and the board took a disposition of teaching rather than telling, too. The results from this kind of culture were significant and observable; when we gave people the freedom to operate in their gifting and to listen to the Spirit, God was faithful to do His work in the staff and camper’s lives. The fact is, Camp is an expression of the church, and allowing the whole body to contribute to the mission gave everybody a sense of God-given ownership and passion.
Obstacles are Opportunities
Late in the summer we were having trouble finding a speaker for our youngest camp. Rather than treat this as an obstacle to overcome, we decided that perhaps it was an opportunity to do camp differently. We did. We decided that we could teach our staff to speak in chapel to the children rather than inviting an outsider to come in and speak; the result was that relationships were built even stronger and staff had the opportunity to grow outside their comfort zones. We trusted the staff, and they did exceptionally well, too. Our theme this year for chapel was that “Every story points to Jesus,” and the staff did an exceptional job of pointing to Jesus with several old testament stories. The hope here was that the relationships with staff would help the staff point the kids towards a relationship with Jesus too. As far as I know this was very successful; several kids came to know Jesus as their King this year.
People want more Jesus
There’s this idea out there that labour equates to discipleship. I asked Steve Roadhouse, the coordinator for Gull Lake Centre, and he said that this kind of thinking is actually a heretical leftover from the modern era; it’s very hard to shake the idea that we need to make ourselves right before God! the truth is that Jesus working in our hearts is what matures us, so it only makes sense to get people closer to Jesus. We saw that Steve’s advice was true this year at camp; our new LIGHT (Leaders in God’s Holy Training) program was a hit as we moved the focus from Labour to Discipleship, and Students felt like they really grew from being in it- or more, they really grew from getting to know Jesus.
This year we also discipled leadership for future years at camp. There were new people leading as directors and program directors who had never done it before, and they did exceptionally well. As we look forward to future years at camp we’ve come to realize how imperative it is that we see the urgent nature of discipling new leaders to take our place rather than finding ourselves in a last-minute scramble to fill positions. By working ahead in preparing leadership, we’re ensuring that Faith Bible Camp has Godly leadership for years to come.
All in all, camp is bearing good fruit because God is working there. I’m so excited for the future and to see how God works next. In the next year we’ll be looking at how to connect better with local churches so we can enhance their congregational discipleship, as well as opportunities to grow and expand our camper base: we’re excited about what God’s doing and we want to share it with more people!
Here’s to seeing you next year.