I was an angry teen, and in the back seat of that big old ford station wagon, I was seething even more. My parents thought it best that I should spend a week at camp. I was going alone and it was taking me out of my comfort zone. However, during that week I found that camp was everything I enjoyed, and looking back, I see that it was everything I needed. It was a great place for confidence building, enjoying summer activities, and for me, to enjoy being outdoors.
Each of the next three summers, camp was the single most important factor in my spiritual searching. In my last summer at camp, in awe of my surroundings, I summoned enough courage to stand up around the camp fire and make this statement, “If God has the power to create all of this; then He has the power to lead my life.”
Many camps like to hang their right to exist on a count of decisions made. But despite my stand, I was not in the count that summer. It would be two more years before I would finally reconcile my life to the words spoken around the campfire that muggy July night. My life was still not at peace and my words haunted me. It would be a message titled, “Knowing God,” that would finally connect my mind and soul together to the need of repenting of my sin to Jesus Christ, who stood waiting to be my forgiving Savior.*
My spiritual life journey has a camp connection. But it never was recorded in a report or promotion piece. You had to look beyond the numbers. When telling your camp story, remember that numbers will never tell it for you. They hide what is really happening or put up a false front for fruitless activity.
Are life changing stories happening in your camp? Look for them by keeping the communication lines open and ask questions in which the answers tell a story. Gather them from staff, campers, parents and sponsors. These hidden memories are the real substance of your ministry. It’s in these stories that folks will connect and support your ministry. They will live long past the forgotten numbers.
*”That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” Romans 10:9