The year was 1947, and the war that changed the world had ended a little over a year ago. Major events that occurred during this year were the founding of the state of Israel; the creation of the national security state in the U.S. (the Dept. of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA were a part of this act); Jackie Robinson started with the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black player in the MLB; and Anne Frank’s diary from WW II was published.
There was also much going on in the Christian world in America. Billy Graham began his crusades and countless ministries were founded (I know of three camps in particular that were founded in 1947, one being Big Sky Bible Camp). This year, we are celebrating 75 years of God’s faithfulness and hopefully allowing the history of the Lord’s work at Big Sky to challenge us and propel us forward into murky and difficult waters ahead.
In the last blog, I laid out faithfulness to the true gospel as a principle that we would like to guide us as we move forward. The next principle that we hope truly defines who we are at Big Sky is an unwavering commitment to discipleship. Camps, by nature, are not discipleship making ministries. They are more in the “seed scattering” category. Campers come for a week of intense Bible teaching and Christian community and then head back home. Much can be accomplished in this week, but the fact remains that it is only a week.
While we believe God uses each week of camp in each camper’s life to accomplish great things, we also see the value that camp has to offer in the discipleship of summer staff. It is our desire to invest in these summer staff members – mentoring them, challenging them, admonishing them, encouraging them and counseling them in the myriad difficult situations they face week to week. The beautiful thing about serving during a summer at Big Sky is that a decade’s worth of ministry opportunities occurs in 3 months. From counseling a young child caught in an abusive home situation to a high school girl struggling from depression to a special needs camper who forces their counselor to put “self” aside, we revel in and rejoice that young folks who love the Lord are able to see what it truly looks like to put feet to their faith. Camp is a tool in this regard and our goal is to utilize this tool in the lives of staff. Weekly meetings with a mentor, book studies, prayer times and simply the culture of seeking and serving the Lord all serve to equip each staff member with experiences and tools that will serve them their entire lives.
In the busyness of camp and the focus on campers, this principle can easily fade into the background. Our hope and prayer is that 75 years from now, BSBC will be even more committed to making disciples of the staff that come and give of themselves each summer!