The new school year is here and we are in full swing. The beginning of the semester took off swimmingly and I can't wait to tell you about it, but first, let me tell you about Black Hills Bible Camp. This was my second year co-directing with Chris Livingston and we had a wild ride. First, we had around 230 campers, which is a record high for us at this campground. We had to struggle to find enough beds for everyone and, at one point, we had to close registration. Black Hills Bible Camp is about half family camp and half teenager camp, which is an exciting mix from an intergenerational point of view, but one of the cool things about this particular year is that our big increase came from young families and older ladies. How cool is that? Our camp is so filled with the spirit of God that it is a welcoming place for young and old alike.
My Family At BHBC 2018
On top of that, we had 12 of our young people commit their lives to Christ in baptism. It was a massive wave of baptisms! We had so many one day, we had to schedule them because they were throwing off the camp activities so much. Then when folks got back home at the end of the week, I heard about two more students who made the decision when they got back to their church families. I know our faith isn't a numbers game and so much of what we do in ministry isn't easily quantifiable, but by every measure I can think of, this week was a win.
All The Students Who Committed Their Lives To Jesus In Baptism At BHBC 2018
“Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord.”
- Acts 11:23
After Bible camp, I slept as much as I could for a couple of days and then we jumped right into the new school year. Our first event was helping with the Freshmen Move In Day, which gave us a lot of good contacts with incoming students and incredibly sore legs. I don't know how this is possible, but I'm pretty sure every freshmen on campus lives on the third or fourth floor and brought nothing except bricks with them to college. I've never carried so many mini fridges up so many flights of stairs in my life, but it was all worthwhile.
Two days later, we participated in the first Student Organization Fair of the year. We set up a tent and served homemade cold-brew coffee, Capri Suns, and bottled waters to anyone interested. We had 8 of our students come help. Normally at this event we get about 15 or 16 students, but this year we got signatures from 37 interested students.
Our First Student Organization Fair 2018
We were so excited! Then we had no idea how we were going to feed them all if they showed up to our study the next day, so that was a bit concerning. Still, I have a rule of thumb that says when we get signatures at events like this, we usually get about 10% of them to come to the Bible study and that held true this time as well.
We had 4 new visitors and 16 total people there, which was super exciting. We ate some good food and started our study on the Gospel of Matthew. We also had s'mores over a fire pit in the back yard which is always fun. However, I did make a rookie mistake. I tried to have the fire and the Bible study at the same time. I'm here to tell you, if you try to have a fire and a Bible study at the same time, the fire will win.
Students At Our First Bible Study Back
The next week we had a much more Bible-filled Bible study. We only had 11 people there, but we did have a new visitor and a returning visitor. As the semester settled into its groove, new visitors have been the name of the game. We are now 7 weeks into the semester and we have had first-time visitors at 6 of the 7 studies. We've also averaged 14 people at our studies, up from 12 last Fall.
We did a handful of other activities to welcome in the new school year. We threw a Frisbee on the campus green, hosted an afternoon of card games, and did a service project to help out the Artemis House, which is a local organization that helps victims of domestic abuse.
The lesson I keep learning over and over this semester is that if you build a safe place for people to discover Jesus, they will come. People want to discover Jesus. They want to hear messages of love and hope in this dark world and if you build that, they will come.
Thanks for reading!