This past week, my wife Trish turned on our outdoor Christmas lights. They lit up the night and shone to the coming arrival of Christmas. However, I quickly realized not only was Christmas coming soon, but it also meant the end of our calendar year! Soon, we will have much to say about next year regarding registration, applications, new programs, and how you can be involved. However, I wanted to quickly share about what happened at Frontier Lodge this year that speaks to why we do what we do.
After three and a half years I am often asked if I still enjoy camp. Rather, do I love camp? My answer is that as each year goes by, I do enjoy/love camp more! My passion regarding the impact and influence of camp ministry for all ages continues to grow. Here’s why…
First, at the beginning of summer, we hold an intensive week of training for our staff. The program is designed for staff to bond, to learn practical skills to engage and care for campers, as well as a time of spiritual formation aiming to engage the staff in the way of Jesus. One area we took time to look at was the Church. Our session leader spoke of the importance of recognizing that when someone chooses to place their faith in Jesus and to follow in His Way they become part of a community. That community is the Church. The Body of Christ. It’s wonderful to be involved in a ministry that builds the Body of Christ and it was awesome to see the staff over the course of the summer recognize that and build each other up. This was on display one Saturday evening when we held our Staff Saturday Evening service on the point.
Over the years, many have chosen to be baptized at camp as it is a place that God has profoundly worked in their lives. This was the case on this particular Saturday evening. It had been a trying week for most, and the staff were tired. Yet, gathered by the edge of the lake, around the campfire, and under the stars, I found myself asking the staff what they were thankful for. I immediately thought I would regret asking that question. I expected silence due to the way I thought they were feeling. However, the resounding answers spoke to a family or a community where they felt loved, accepted, forgiven, encouraged, supported, and ultimately a sense of belonging. They spoke of the body of Christ, the Church. It was an unexpected and awesome demonstration of what the baptism to come meant. Leaving the old life behind and coming into a new life. That’s what happened that evening in front of family and friends and a nice bookend regarding what we were discussing at the beginning of the season. It’s a reason why I love being involved in camp ministry!
Another impactful time took place during our Overnight Senior Camp. It was during that week that the campers heard about the person of Jesus, how much He loved them, and what He’s done for them. As well as to wrestle with the implications of a life that follows Jesus. There was a real sense God was at work through various conversations, sessions, challenges, and prayer. During the Thursday evening session, our speaker Micah provided an opportunity for campers to stand in front of their friends and commit to following Christ. Half stood! It was awesome to see the Lord gather His own and another reason why I love being in camp ministry!
Our Day Camp program is so integral to our involvement in the local community. Thankfully, this year’s Day Camp Coordinators were able to reach out further and find others who wanted to participate in the program through speaking. Our Coordinators and staff did a great job showing why the campers are valued and loved while shining light on an isolated area to the broader Church. Watching that take place is another reason why I love camp ministry!
Lastly, I would like to say a big thank you to all those that supported camp financially, those that kept us in prayer, and volunteers that gave of their time to serve at camp this summer. There were over 50 volunteers who came to build, clean, be a nurse, work in the kitchen, be a speaker, lead worship, and serve in other areas. Your participation and willingness to serve is what makes each camp season successful…and why I love being involved with you all in camp ministry at Frontier Lodge!
If you want to know what others are saying about Frontier Lodge, watch the video below!
Blessings this Christmas Season,