It was 1998, and having come off putting on a wonderful conference on education the previous year (Dr. George Grant spoke, and the lovely and talented Judy Rogers sang) that far too few people attended, I hosted our first Couples Camp. We offered three days of teaching on the sovereignty of God, the family, and the kingdom of Godin an intimate setting, capping attendance at ten couples. Two came. Eventually Couples Camp began to draw good crowds. These days typically we ask you to bring me to you, rather than asking folks to come to us. Having been blessed by teaching in such a context, and in turn giving thanks for the blessings we were all enjoying at Saint Peter Presbyterian Church, we decided to try Pastors’ Camp, three days of encouragement and teaching in a small group setting.
Our theme for the few days is the church. What does Jesus call us to be, and how do we get there? Our teachers are experienced pastors with a track record of leading with wisdom. Our menu is all man food, including my own famous hot sausage sandwiches. Our schedule is light, leaving plenty of room for conversation, for hikes in the woods, for a game or twelve of horseshoes. It has even become our habit of late to record at least one Basement Tape live during one evening of camp. Our venue is a beautiful log lodge set right in the heart of Hungry Mother State Park, not far fromBristol,Virginia. Our alum have gone home rested, encouraged and inspired. The sheep they care for have thanked us as well.
Who should go? Our ideal is to have a pastor and a ruling elder from the same church together. This allows for greater momentum and continuing encouragement after returning from camp. But we have had pastors come without any ruling elders, ruling elders come without pastors. We have had those who aspire to one day serve as pastors and elders. And we have even had those who are not used to thinking in such categories, those who simply lead in their local bodies. We are looking for campers who are eager to see their own churches grow in grace and wisdom, who would like to see love among the brethren thrive in the local congregation, who long to see the local expression of His bride better reflect His glory.
We ask our campers to, if at all possible, worship with us at Saint Peter Sunday morning. After a meal we head off to the lodge. The last teaching happens Tuesday afternoon, and we typically breakcampWednesdaymorning. Our expectation is that relationships will begin at camp, and they will grow through the years. Our hope is that we will be a help and an encouragement to pastors, that they will delight to feast on teaching from His Word, and at the table, blessings from His world. If you would like to come, or want to send your pastor, please contact us about available space.