Our mission in camping ministries is to be an extension of the local church … one more way to make disciples of Jesus Christ. When someone spends time at camp, they often come away with a new or renewed sense of connection to the Holy Spirit and how they should live their lives for God.
Called to Serve
Churches are the best place for campers throughout the year to put their faith into action and get the support they need in developing their spiritual lives. Camp is one of the best places for those “mountaintop experiences” that bring us close to the sacred and enrich our understanding of the divine.
Congregations looking for a local, hands-on mission project have an opportunity to give back to a ministry partner and serve God’s Kingdom by partnering with camps.
The faith communities surrounding Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat Center and Crystal Springs Camp & Retreat Center, for example, have a long history of “sponsoring” a cabin. That often means spring cleaning in and around the cabins, along with other improvements, like repairing bunkbeds or raising money to fix an aging roof.
Last summer, a team from Silver Creek UMC (Dowagiac) fixed some deteriorating walls and added rain gutters around the cabin it sponsors at Crystal Springs. Site director Dan Stuglik explained that St. Joseph First UMC plants flowers around the retreat house and donated money toward new flooring, while Hope UMC (Edwardsburg) has been helping maintain un-adopted buildings at Crystal Springs for years.
“We’re a welcoming Christian sanctuary that removes distractions between our guests and God. We couldn’t be as welcoming without the people that help us,” Dan said, adding, “We’re always looking for churches that want to help with check-in for camp groups as we work to be as welcoming as possible.”
Recently the United Methodist Women at Oak Grove UMC (Howell) partnered with Judson Collins Center to make new curtains and privacy panels. They happily put their sewing skills to use when they heard of the need from their pastor, Rev. Paula Timm, who also serves on the Michigan Area United Methodist Camping Board.
“We want to invite more churches into the camping ministry, which is all about building relationships. Building relationships with campers, with our Creator and His creation,” Pastor Paula explained. Whether individuals want to volunteer for a week during the summer or small groups help with big or small projects at one of our nine camps, there are many opportunities to connect and make an impact on the ministry.
“Remember, our United Methodist camps are a vital mission field in our own conference. Join us!” Pastor Paula said.
Ready to help or learn more? Contact a camp and see how you can get engaged.