When I first started in camp ministry, all a camp leader needed was a passion for spreading the gospel and a love for children. Now it seems that camp leaders are expected to be knowledgeable in business, finance, law, taxation, motivation, human resources, and so much more. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and wonder if we are where God really wants us to be. The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18a, “Without a vision the people perish.” When we do not have a clear vision for our camp ministry, it is easy to lose focus and feel defeated or inundated.
I define vision as the comprehensive statement telling the leaders of the camp what their purpose is, what direction they should head and what goals they should accomplish. In essence, what they could and should be.
When campers come to our archery range, we do not just point to a field and tell them to go ahead and enjoy the activity - we identify the vision: using the bow, shoot the arrow from the starting line into the target. In the same way, our camp ministry needs a clear definition of the way things ought to be.
How do you determine the vision for your camp?
Usually this is not a quick process but takes some time. Start by observing and reflecting. Spend time in prayer asking God to show you His purpose for your camp. What are you currently doing that you do with excellence (better than anyone else)? What are your collective abilities, gifts, limitations and dreams? What are existing and potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? What buildings, open spaces and activities do you currently have? How do people interact with each other?
Ask for input from all those involved with the ministry. Find out their observations and reflections. Include them in the process.
Allow yourself to dream big!
Write down your thoughts and ideas. As you spend time in prayer and reflection, goals and purposes will begin to emerge. You want the vision to be clear, tangible, and concise. Clear – is it easily understood or does it continually require interpretation? Tangible – can people grab hold of it? (Avoid impressive or spiritual language). Concise – can it be communicated in one or two sentences? The vision for the camp must be persuasive and compelling. Are you excited to share the vision? Do people get excited about the direction of the camp when they hear the vision?
The last step in vision casting is to communicate the vision. This is sometimes the hardest step. Make sure that you give ample time to allow those involved in your camp to buy into the vision, and provide training and support so they can accomplish the vision. Be available to answer questions and get excited with them about where God is leading your camp.
Without a clear vision, our campers at archery would be shooting arrows every which way, injuring each other and being completely ineffective. When they understand their direction and goal (hit the target), they are much more successful in completing the task.
Sharon Fraess is wife, mom to three adult children, administrator at Birch Bay Ranch since 1992, and National Director of CCI/Canada since 2011. Her two best decisions in life were made at five years old - to serve the Lord with her whole heart, and in 1988 - to marry her hero and husband, Darryl. Sharon has a passion for sharing the gospel and loves working with people.