One of the signs of a congregation’s healthy, vibrant ministry with young people is when its young adults serve for the summer during their college years at one of our ELCA Bible camps. There are 97 outdoor ministry or Bible camp organizations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, that operate 126 camp sites.
During this summer, over 175,000 campers are going to participate in ministries at one of these camps.
This summer, I am aware of six of our young adults from Trinity who are hard at work, serving at one of these sites.
- Bekah Bendorf (pictured above) is working at Sky Ranch Lutheran Bible Camp in Fort Collins, Colorado
- Mariah Dant is working at Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp in Milford, Iowa
- Payton Knutson is working at Good Earth Village in Spring Valley, Minnesota
- Matt Svetska is working at Luther Park Bible Camp in Danbury, Wisconsin
- Grace Valen is working at Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp in Milford, Iowa
- Zach Valen is working at Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp in Milford, Iowa
It is entirely possible that I may have missed someone who is working at one of our camps and I’m not aware of it. If so, please let me know and I’ll add them to my list.
I am so proud of each of these young people. They are working hard this summer, for low pay, long hours and for a cause much greater than themselves. They are taking responsibility for the safety of anywhere from 6-15 young people. They are teaching, leading music, leading games and activities. They lead Bible study groups, they lifeguard and they lead high adventure trips. They travel to congregations to lead worship services and day camps and they give campfire talks and lead devotions.
Most importantly, they are modeling for young people a way of living their faith that is real, approachable and meaningful. They are an extension of our ministry, and I am grateful to God for what God is doing within them.
Over 85% of people who attend one of our ELCA seminaries to become a pastor or a
deacon report that their experience participating in or working at one of our ELCA Bible camps was instrumental in their becoming a pastor or deacon.
I spent five summers working at two of our Bible camps. They were the best summers of my life. The work was incredibly hard, but it was also so rewarding. And it pushed me vocationally. I have no doubt that I am doing what I am doing today because of my experiences at camp.
Please pray for these six Trinity people who are giving their summers to helping young
people grow in faith. And pray for all of the other ELCA Bible camp staff around the country. And pray for the young people who attend, that their hearts can gain a sense of the love and grace of God (especially the campers from Trinity who are at Ingham Okoboji this week!)