“What is God accomplishing through our camp ministry?” “How can our camp uniquely advance the Christian mission and the establishment of God’s kingdom?” These are the questions that fascinate us.
Visions are to be received:
• God’s vision is to be given to us. Sadly, since our sinful nature is begotten at birth, we have a tendency to mislabel our plans as part of God’s vision. Thus, one needs to reflect and speak prudently and humbly about vision. This is of the greatest importance for a camp director and staff. One’s being—that we are sinners saved and transformed to serve—is our main identity. Doing that is not rooted in this reality of being is merely empty activity.
• Collect and analyze information about the camp’s past and present to discern the future. Research the history of one’s organization and interview predecessors about the founder’s thoughts and past situations. Take a good look at the whole picture and grasp the changes that took place from ten or twenty years ago. By doing so, you will see God’s handiwork and begin to understand what has been cherished at your camp,
• On an extended time-line, draw the future of your camp in the context of the larger picture. While praying with a humble and yet positive attitude, you will see how God might use the camp.
Receiving unique visions from God:
God, Giver of visions, is the omnipotent Creator. Our unique God transcends the boundaries of our thoughts. We are made in the likeness of God and are to become flexible and rich in ideas.
When we talk with many people, we learn that others have different and unexpected ideas, reflecting our uniqueness. It is helpful to visualize the diversity of ideas through group brainstorming and word webs.
During the brainstorming process, for example, someone may point out that the camp’s weakness is its remote location, as it is costly for the campers to travel far. However, this could also be its strength—there are people who love to come to places like this. Capturing it this way helps you find clues to practical strategies such as changing the methods of advertisement. Since “strength” and the “weakness” are two sides of the same coin, visualizing themes using the word map is effective.
Understanding the whole picture:
Through collaborative brainstorming, you will begin to grasp what must be done, and in what order, to materialize the future vision: What do you have to do first, in order to materialize the future vision? What are the second and the third things you must do? Is it recruiting new staff members? Expanding the facility? Enhancing the program? Enhancing the advertisement to recruit campers?
The financial needs for priority items must be budgeted and met. Clearly prioritizing these needs, as well as presenting the entire vision, is imperative in fundraising in order to gain the support and understanding of churches,
Unless we move forward step by step, we will not reach goals. By planning prudently and using limited resources effectively, one will begin to materialize the overarching vision that spans from the past into the present and the future
He has made everything beautiful in its time
Yasushi Sato was saved as a junior-high student while a camper at ‘C-on Kinshuko’ Camp in northern Japan. Yasushi volunteered as a camp-worker during my college years, became a staff-member 33 years ago and have been serving as the camp director of ‘C-on Kinshuko’ Camp for the last 20 years