Camp Program Sabbatical – Its Time Has Come

Living in the middle of Ohio’s Amish hill country, I see from my front window hills contoured for crop rotation. Farmers strategically plan to rest the ground to keep insects in check, add nutrients and help restore productivity. The thoroughbred horse farm across the street has neat white fenced rotating pastures to prevent overgrazing. Rotation rhythmically keeps the farm production cycle moving with rest, restoration and reuse.

The Old Testament Law introduced crop rest, the year of jubilee along with its Sabbath rest concept. As today’s farmers know, rested land gives back productivity. Let’s stretch the principle to your camp program. Does it need a rest? If your program could talk, how would it answer you if you ask “how is it feeling? It might say:

“I need a break; I’m tired, hungry, grouchy and just plain done in!”

“Would you listen to me please, just once?  You expect me to be some kind of miracle worker, to do everything but for what I’m designed for…and what exactly do you want me to do?”

“While you’re asking, I really need some new clothes, these duds you have me wearing are really worn out, out of style and I’m getting some pretty snide remarks about my age.

“Look, I’m old, I can’t do this anymore.”

Like the farmers field, I’m proposing you give your program a rest every seventh year. Put your traditional program aside for one year. Break out a new schedule, new games, and a new style. Change everything. Force yourself out of the old rutty field. Here is what might happen.

  1. You’ll be forced to be creative again. This brings new air and nutrient into your program soil.
  2. You’re program will take on a fresh new appearance. This will greatly aid sales at the farmers market.
  3. Staff will be on their toes. You’re plowing new territory. No sleeping behind the program steering wheel this year.
  4. New ways of doing things will be found. After all, farm ingenuity breeds innovation to get things done better.
  5. It’s an excuse for change. Our local farmers take risk and find new products for market. Can you smell a new harvest in your newly turned soil yet?
  6. You can go back to your old program next year. My guess is you won’t. It just won’t be the same since you’ll be improving it with new program vitality. New possibilities will expand ministry horizons, that’s my farmer’s almanac forecast to you that gives your tired old program a rest.

Now is the time to plan. Use the brainstorm ideas I gave you awhile back. Enjoy your program sabbatical! The next thing you’ll be doing is putting your program into a regular crop rotation for a better harvest.


About the Ordinary Hiker

A Christian camp director for many years, I enjoy ministry and being outdoors. I refer to God's creative wonder as the testimony of creation, a special place where God brings His word to life. Its where I like to be and where God speaks in His gentle voice in the awe of His creative work.
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