Recently I was asked by a church looking at joining The Evangelical Church, “Why do you call your camp ‘Family Camp?’ Do you all camp in tents?” I responded, “No, we sleep in air-conditioned dorms, eat in the air-conditioned dining room, and hold services in an air-conditioned auditorium. It’s ‘Family Camp’ because entire families come and we have programs for every age-level.”
We hold our camp in July on the campus of Taylor University, and many of the families across our conference take vacation to be a part of it. It really is the “heartbeat” of our conference.
I got to thinking about that and started to list some of the reasons why that’s true.
The camp meeting week promotes unity across our conference like no other event does. Annual Conference gets a few there, and our retreats draw men, women and youth in – but Family Camp brings entire families from all our churches together.
Our families get a vacation that fills them up, rather than drains them. We try to make it a week that is worth their investment. There is lots of family time, but it’s combined with age-level specific programs as well.
It provides a week of “Sabbath rest” for families that are normally running like crazy to keep up with all kinds of events and activities. Our families need this more than ever!
It gives our people an opportunity to hear an “outside voice” preaching the same message of heart holiness that is heard in our pulpits weekly. That confirms the work of our pastors, and our people get to hear great preachers like John Oswalt, David Leeder, Chris Bounds, and many more.
Most importantly, there are spiritual results that take place at camp that aren’t always happening in the local setting. People are born into new life in Christ. Believers are cleansed and filled with the Holy Spirit. Young people often answer a call to ministry. God always works in a special way when His people set aside time just to focus on Him and His Word!