When you say the words “summer camp,” most people think of water-skiing, swimming, horseback riding, archery and other fun outdoor activities at safe and caring place. But have you ever thought of summer camp as an evangelistic environment where youth can make a decision to follow Jesus Christ?
The theme of our evangelist program this summer was focused on Living Ready for Jesus to come, which means making the decision to daily live in a relationship with Jesus Christ. In everything we do from the morning worships and the class activities to the concluding evening program, we are intentionally giving the campers an opportunity to enter into a relationship with Jesus. We weave the character of God in throughout their day so they can see how easy it is to walk in a relationship with Him. We train our counselors and support staff to build relationships with the kids in their cabin to create at atmosphere where open dialog can take place as the staff share their own journey in their walk with Jesus. Because of this we see many decisions being made weekly as our campers give their hearts to Jesus and let Him lead in every part of their lives. This summer we had nearly 300 campers make this decision, 140 recommit their hearts to Jesus, and 99 say that they want to share Jesus with their friends.
Each week of camp begins by starting a friendship between kids and their counselors. Camp MiVoden trains counselors on the intent of the spiritual program and teaches them how to use the activities at camp as tools to help children see the relevance of spirituality in their lives.
As the week progresses, kids experience daily devotions with their cabin, camp worships, skits and many opportunities to be mentored by their counselor. Finally on Friday night and Sabbath, campers are presented with the Gospel by the summer camp staff and the camp pastor which ends with a call to make a commitment to Jesus. Commitment cards that the kids turn in are then given to their local church pastor with a letter that suggests how the pastor could follow up on the kid’s decision.
“Our goal is to connect the kids with their local church. As campers make a decision for baptism many choose to be baptized at Camp MiVoden. When they make this decision we contact their parents first. Because our goal is to connect that child or youth with a local church we also try to reach the pastor. The perfect scenario is that the camper can have their parents and their pastor in addition to some of their church family witness their baptism and offer their support to this new member of the church. This summer we received 68 requests for baptismal classes that could lead to baptism. I want kids to know their church is there to support them in their journey with Jesus. We also want kids to know how much their church cares.
To learn more about how to help a camper come to Camp MiVoden and have an adventure with Jesus, visit our donation page or call the youth department at (509) 282-0506.
Pastor Wendy Eberhardt
Youth/Camp MiVoden Executive Director