Institute: What’s the Point? (5 of 5)

I spent last week at a youth camp, Institute 2010: God’s All Stars, which is a ministry of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry of the Kansas East Annual Conference. This post is part of a series reflecting on the week and making applications for the local church.

I am unable to deny that there are some positive outcomes to Institute. I was still left with the question, What’s the point? It could have been:

  • Provide a safe place for students
  • Offer freely given love as part of a Christian community
  • Create a place where people are always accepted
  • Meet new people
  • Move forward on the journey of becoming a deeply committed Christian.
  • Have fun and play games
  • Create a culture of hearing God’s call to ministry

After a week, I am not sure what is the driving purpose of Institute. Those who come to camp become part of the leadership team that plans the next year. Students come year after year. Adults come to serve because they came when they were young. It has been going for 99 years…

I gained some additional insight from Notes on Camp and commend it to you as a great listen and insight into summer camp of all sorts.

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

One reply on “Institute: What’s the Point? (5 of 5)”

I think what you’re looking for is a mission or purpose statement. But by Saturday I think you knew that Institute is all of the things that you listed. Nowhere are those things explicitly stated as being the “purpose,” but all of those things happened. In general, the idea is to be a “Christian community.” How that is fleshed out, and how camp accomplishes those ends, however, depends heavily on divine grace and happenstance, particularly for those that are new.

Keep in mind that the idea of purpose statements, clearly articulated strategic plans, etc. are a modern novelty. Camps like Institute, in many ways, exemplify what has been true of the church for many years, Methodism notwithstanding. That doesn’t mean I don’t find it frustrating, and that there isn’t room for stronger leadership and more laser-like precision and focus. But if that is going to happen, vision team and the leadership of the camp will have to reimagine how camp is organized and executed.

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