top of page

Staff Alumni: John Schomberg

John and his wife on a rocky beach.
John and Takara

I recently connected with Pastor John Schomberg to talk about his time working at IOLBC. In his time at camp he served one summer as a senior counselor at Ingham Lake, one summer as a Day Camp Leader, and one summer as the PD at Okoboji. In the midst of those summers, he also served one year as a YMT as we partnered with a church in Sibley, IA. John was first connected to IOLBC through a friend. He had recently moved from Texas to Brookings, SD to serve at a church there as a youth pastor and he was trying to figure out what was next.

John first came to volunteer and check out a Recharge retreat. His first impressions included being surprised that our Okoboji location was located in the midst of a residential neighborhood as he expected a Bible camp to be in more remote, desolate area! Additionally, having been in youth ministry for a few years at that point, he was impressed by the solid teaching and with how intentional everything, from the music to the games to the skits, was when it came to helping youth engage and learn more about the theme: Everything had a purpose.

His first summer on staff was the same year Rod Quanbeck arrived to be the new Executive Director. One of his more distinct memories from that summer was helping Rod and his family move into their house. Throughout his summer's on staff, it is the time spent during staff training that remain some of his favorite memories. There was something about the excitement of a new summer combined with the group of young people gathering together for the same purpose - "To Know Christ and Make Christ Known to All."

I asked John if there was a particular camper or cabin that stood out to him from his time at camp. He recalled a cabin from his first summer as a counselor at Ingham Lake. They had decided to tent camp on one particular night when a really bad storm came through. While he was up trying to make sure the kids were both safe, he realized he had a rather exceptionally chill group of guys. In particular, one camper had a cochlear implant he had turned off before going to sleep so he didn't hear anything and slept through the entire experience. Another camper from that same group was fascinated by weather and so wanted to be out in the midst of the storm. Overall, the kids had a great time despite the storm teaching John the importance of just being fully present and intentional when it comes to building relationships with others.

John with the cabin group that survived the storm in a tent!

God's presence was experienced by John in multiple ways. Primarily, however, God's presence was felt in the relationships formed at camp which continue beyond camp, especially among the staff. While there wasn't a formal mentoring relationship set up, there was a continuous learning from each other and growing together in Christ as they did ministry and life together. The example that was set of training up counselors to do the work of ministry because the year round staff can't minister one on one to everyone who comes to camp has stayed with him as he continues to work in ministry today.

As we started to wrap up our conversation, I asked John how his time at camp impacts his daily life still today. In one word: Intentionality. He went on to explain that everything we do in ministry should have a purpose and how much camp taught him that the things we do, both big and small, really do matter. The intentionality with which IOLBC does ministry has profound shaped how he does ministry as a Methodist pastor today.

John and Takara getting married at Ingam Lake Bible Camp Chapel

A final story he shared with me was from his summer as the PD at Okoboji. He remembers watching for a time to talk with those assigned to support staff each week to explain to them that Rod's super excited pep talk about being on maintenance or in the kitchen was genuine and real because he truly believed that those roles were an opportunity to serve God. No role or job was lesser in the ministry of IOLBC which made every job exciting. Thinking back to his first summer at Ingham Lake, he recalled a week where a contest was issued to see which cabin, by the end of the week, could build the largest rock pile from the beach. John's cabin correctly called out the challenge for what it was, a way to get campers excited to help clean up the beach, but he challenged them to do it anyway, and to do with excitement, because it would be one way they could serve the campers coming for the rest of the summer. That cabin ended up winning the contest that week. Jesus, John commented, would be excited about picking up sticks!

Fun Facts:

  • John currently serves as a pastor to a Methodist congregation in South Dakota.

  • John and his wife, Takara, were married in the old Ingham Lake Bible Camp Chapel.

  • In the years since his time on staff at IOLBC, John has brought many youth campers back for Recharge retreats.

  • For several years, the Schomberg's were based out of the Sioux Falls area before Takara's work had them move out of state. A year or so later, they found themselves moving back to the Sioux Falls area. As it turns out, we didn't need to update their mailing address at that time because the same townhouse they rented previously was available for them to move right back into!

  • John once used Mitsu as the subject for a sociology paper when he was in college!


Recent Posts


Search By Tags

  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page