Camp in its outdoor setting away from daily chaos is meant to be a simple ministry. The example from the early church gives us a simple pattern for ministry. Camp as a ministry supports local churches and should reflect good ministry practice, and simple ministry reflects Christian camping at its best.
Acts 2:42 gives us a simple ministry template for the church and camp. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
First is the attention given to Bible study and doctrine. Doctrine brought to life with every day application should never be boring. Especially at camp where experiential application applies so easily.
Second is the power of sharing or fellowship. Giving testimony of God at work before and during camp bonds the Word of God to the heart.
Remembering Christ life and teaching the Gospel message in camp makes for spiritually healthy breaking of bread. Given the time spent at camp for this message to root, the example of Christ can take hold of a campers life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer and its work at camp. The consistent pattern and results of prayer at camp sets a wonderful example to take home. The Spirit of God grows and mature those who give attention to meeting regularly Him.
In the context of this verse the Holy Spirit is abiding and working in the church and in its believers. It is in fact the Spirit of God at work in simplicity and in the absence of complexity that should grab our attention. Complexity takes us away from the very ministry tools above that God is asking us to employ. Complexity overwhelms needed time for Bible study, relational sharing and prayer focus that God intends His servants to use, work through and bring glory to His name.
To paraphrase J.C Macaulay, a Moody Bible Institute professor from another generation, “When we lack the fulness of the Spirit we turn to substitutes like religious entertainment and gimmicks to hold and attract an audience…so that we can compete with the world.”
What will you do to keep program complexity in check and simple ministry central in your Christian camp ministry this summer? Feel free to share.
Life in the Spirit, J.C. Macaulay, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids MI, 1955