Why I Love Camp Ministry

Last summer I spoke at Camp Gilead for Middle School Camp and then 2 weeks later I was in a van with our high schoolers on a 3,000 mile journey to attend another camp.  This summer will be my 15th year involved in some kind of leadership in camp ministry.  I started coming, as a young boy, to Family Camp at Camp Gilead, then served on summer staff and now get to be a speaker.  But, why do I love camp ministry?

Me, in 1999, with program director - Kimberly Ruhlman ... before she was Kimberly Mallory!

Me, in 1999, with program director – Kimberly Ruhlman … before she was Kimberly Mallory!

I guess you could say Camp Ministry is in my blood.  My grandpa, who used to be a pastor in Bellingham, was innovative in Camp Ministry in the 1960s.  He helped Camp Gilead continue as a Christian camp, and he led backpacking trips with youth from his church and the community when churches were not used to this type of ministry.  There are reasons that I love Camp Ministry and pour out my time and energy for it that tie into my biblical philosophy of ministry.  These reasons are deeper than tradition but tie into the same biblical reasons that my grandpa believed in Camp Ministry 50 years ago!

God Goes To Camp  

Any time a group of people–any age–stop the busyness and extra noise of their daily lives and spend concentrated time in God’s creation, seeking Him through His Word and worship, God meets them.  “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Camp Ministry is a Gospel Ministry  I had the joy and privilege of preaching the Gospel & teaching God’s Word in chapel last summer at Camp Gilead. Almost always, at any camp, there are people who have never heard the Good News of Jesus. What an opportunity! Last summer at Camp Gilead 5 Middle Schoolers professed Christ as their Savior for the first time. Need I say more about why I love Camp Ministry?

IMG_4890Christian Children & Teenagers Experience the Larger Body of Christ at Camp  Teenagers need to know that Jesus is bigger than their church, and even their local community. Time spent in fellowship with believers from other areas can strengthen their faith and challenge them in their walk with the Lord. I have friends today that still encourage me in Christ, who I only know because I went to camp in high school.

Camp is Fun  Camp Ministry embodies what I believe a Youth Ministry should be–Bible-centered, Gospel-centered & Christ-centered while having a blast!

Tim Counts, Pastor of Family Ministries – Immanuel Bible Church, Bellingham WA
www.ibcbellingham.org
Former camper, Camp Gilead Staffer (1999 – 2001)
& Camp Gilead Speaker in 2013… & coming back in 2014 as a speaker for Jr Camp #3