Why is SGA involved in this ministry?
Camp ministry has been a mainstay of outreach for churches in Eastern Europe and Central Asia for decades. SGA has had a long association and involvement with this ministry, especially in Poland during the Communist era when the Lord’s blessing produced amazing results at some memorable camps. Today’s pastors and church leaders are evidence of God’s blessing on the camp ministry.
SGA supported summer camps are a lot of fun and adventure for the children who attend, many of whom come from difficult and disturbed backgrounds. However, they are much more than just fun times! For many children it is a rare opportunity for them to experience a sense of security and the genuine Christian love demonstrated by all who lead the camps. They receive regular meals and have access to a range of activities they may never otherwise experience. Above all there is the opportunity to hear the Gospel. They are ministered to on more than physical and emotional levels – they are spiritually challenged, strengthened, and invigorated to live for and serve the living God.
In Central Asian camps, in an Islamic context, Gospel truths are taught alongside English lessons and other activities. In Eastern Europe there is religious freedom, but often religion without Christ! SGA has witnessed first-hand over many decades the benefits of camp ministry, and the effects it has upon succeeding generations who hear the Gospel, and the lasting benefits that brings to the Church.
What are the main areas of this ministry?
- Reaching out – Those who attend are from different backgrounds, some Christian but many not. Others are from broken homes where both parents struggle and find life difficult, while others are from orphanages. Camps offer an opportunity for them to find a place of security, enjoyment, and hope. To reach out, sometimes we have to “take them out” of their environment.
- Strengthening – Camps offer a wonderful opportunity to build up Christian children in their faith.
- Equipping – Biblically and socially they learn life skills. Bible teaching offers children a good foundation for life as they learn through sport to work in teams, or gain outdoor survival skills which help those from dysfunctional families to cope better for themselves.
- Developing friendships which will last beyond camp days! Camps encourage new and strong friendships between campers and with Christian leaders. Even when the camp is over, leaders will often keep in contact, to help strengthen faith and life skills.
- Giving Hope – Many who attend camp have little or no hope. Sometimes they come to get away from the harsh reality of their lives. Yet they can find hope in the Gospel. Many come back in consecutive years as campers, while others eventually return as leaders.
- Reaching all Ages – Many churches have developed camps for children, youth, families, those with disabilities and senior citizens, as it creates a safe place for all to build friendships and opens hearts to the Gospel.
What type of camps have been established?
- Residential – Purpose built camp centres, cabins or tents in Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, and Central Asia
- Day Camps – At day camps in Moldova and Central Asia children enjoy nourishing food, engaging activities, and Bible teaching on a daily programme.
- Elderly and disabled camps – These offer a range of activities including singing, craft, and food and the sharing of messages of hope through Gospel presentations. This often opens doors for the building of trust between church members and the elderly and disabled who attend. There are many who are lonely and bereaved with few friendships.
Why is SGA funding important?
Without SGA funding, many camp projects would struggle or cease to exist. Planning and maintaining sites to satisfy regulations is expensive. Many campers cannot afford transport and the costs incurred in attending camp so SGA sponsorship and camp grants are vital. Support and funding from SGA helps plan and build for the future. Some camp centres have been purchased and developed with SGA financial support which otherwise would probably not have happened.
How to get involved?
- That those who prepare, and plan camp programmes would know God’s strength and wisdom.
- That those who attend will be converted to Christ, strengthened in their faith, and motivated to serve the Lord.
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For more information
contact the staff in our Rugby office
on 01788 220699 or firstname.lastname@example.org