Every once in a while, we all need to be rejuvenated.
This past week has been a time of learning and growth for the entire Salem Acres team at Everlasting 2018, the Christian Camping International Canada conference in Banff. Since this is my very first time in year-round camp ministry, it was also my first time attending the conference. What a joy to see familiar faces from camps across Canada and to celebrate our Everlasting God with over 350 missionaries in the camping field.
Our mission at Salem Acres is to Encounter Jesus, to Experience Transformation, and to Engage Others. We work hard to cultivate an environment for all three of these things to happen naturally throughout the summer. However, when the kids are gone and the snow has covered the campground, it's not always so easy. Anyone who reads this blog regularly should know that there is an element of isolation to camp in the time between the campers leave in August and the beginning of staff training in June. This week in Banff was a welcome reminder that all of us who are a part of this camp - yes, including you - are also part of a larger movement and mission to bring glory to God in the world.
The conference began with praise, and the praise continued throughout the entire week. Every morning and evening we sang of God's everlasting love and character. Something about a room filled with passionate people devoted to serving God made Encountering Jesus a powerful experience in worship. It felt just like camp season all over again!
Every speaker came to us with scripture and a message of healing and renewal. Our keynote speaker Ken Shigematsu taught us how to Experience Transformation through intentional 'rhythms' in the spiritual life with God. These rhythms can do more than just maintain a level of spirituality; they help us experience an ongoing transformation by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). I will be reading his book in the coming weeks.
Finally, the breakout sessions were optional courses on practical camping methods and ministry practices which enhance the way we Engage Others. I learned a ton about planning intentional cabin devotions, training staff in conflict management, managing change, and evaluating the effectiveness of our camp ministry. There were dozens of possible sessions and I could not have attended them all, so I am excited to share these learning experiences with the rest of the staff and board of Salem Acres and to glean what I can from the lessons they learned this week.
Every once in a while, we all need to be rejuvenated. As I work and pray for all of the young people who will experience Salem Acres this summer, my desire is to live by the spiritual rhythms which will help me follow God's leading to know him more and more.
Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash
Our new Program Director who's originally from out east, but is finding many things to love about the prairies.