By Raymond Varner
For the summer of 2015 the Missouri Conference has decided to add the amazing camping experience of Mobile Camps in addition to the residential camps (AKA CORE Camps) and Mission Camps. Over the past few months we have been working closely with the Navigators to bring the camping experience to you at your church. We had a fantastic response from churches filling out applications to be one of the 10 churches to host a mobile camp this summer. After several weeks of planning, strategizing, prayer, and research the selection committee was able to select the 10 churches (see our map) to fill the summer schedule.
We wanted to make sure that we reached a wide demographic of churches and their congregations. We chose churches in the middle of the city and out in the country, we chose churches spread out across the state, and we chose both small and large congregations. When the churches hosting mobile camps were asked why they wanted to be a host church here is what they said: Aaron Talbott from Oakton UMC in Lamar said, "it gives our kids a great experience at a low cost" and "it's super affordable for our families". And that's the truth, at only $25/kid for a week of Mobile Camp!
Jill Chaloupka from Kearney UMC said, "We are super excited about hosting the mobile camp this summer at First UMC, it is a great opportunity for us to reach out to the unchurched children in our community and to share Christ with them and give them a chance to experience Him first hand." Jill also said, "Another great thing about the mobile camps is the fact that we have many children who are unable to attend an overnight camp for various reasons, so to have the camp meet the kids where they are is absolutely a win-win situation."
Lynae McFarland from Kirksville UMC said, "We have prayed and prayed and PRAYED about Camp Jo Ota closing and what this means for our children/youth. I believe that God doesn't just open windows, but he truly teaches us how to soar out of them by wholeheartedly putting our trust in Him. This mobile camping experience is going to offer something to our children that is new, adventurous, thrilling, meaningful and challenging. All of those words should and need to describe our daily walk with Christ! Our vision for the children and youth at First UMC in Kirksville is that they will own their faith and become life-long followers of Jesus Christ who wholeheartedly love and serve God in all that they do. I believe this will help our children in their journey!"
Mobile Camps provides amazing opportunities for spiritual growth bringing today's youth closer and deeper in a relationship with Christ. The host churches are also working with surrounding United Methodist churches, the community, and other churches in order reach as many kids in their community as possible. All in all Mobile Camps is a great addition to the United Methodist Conference Camping & Retreat Division.
For more information about camping ministry in the Missouri Conference, go to www.nextgenumc.org.