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"...not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25

In my work at camp, I talk to a lot of pastors from a lot of churches. One of the things which honestly causes me to chuckle softly and shake my head a bit is when someone calls and “St. John’s Lutheran” or “Trinity Lutheran” or “Immanuel Lutheran” and expect that I will automatically know who they are and where they are calling from. I need to remind someone at least once a month that I do work with more than one church which goes by those names.

Additionally, I take a lot of phone calls from parents wondering about how much their church is paying towards camp, especially when it comes to our summer camp programs. I have to apologize and explain that I do work with a large number of churches, all of whom seem to have slightly different policies about financial support being offered for camp.

This doesn’t cover the churches we send Day Camp teams out to in the summer months to do Vacation Bible School programs. Teams travel as far north as the twin cities area, as far south as the Omaha area, throughout NW Iowa and into SE South Dakota.

In short, there are a lot of churches involved in making camp happen each year. One of the ways churches can more formally partner with IOLBC is by becoming a member congregation. Our member congregations agree to support the camp in prayer and financially as well as help promote camp programs within their communities. Our board of directors is made up of people who regularly attend one of our member congregation churches. Each year at our annual meeting, member congregations are invited to send delegates to both hear an update on the camp operations and finances as well as speak on behalf of their home congregations to any items on the agenda for that meeting. I would keep going but that gives you the basic idea. (Sidenote: If you are reading this thinking ‘my church should be a member congregation with IOLBC,’ please get in touch!)

While we greatly value the working partnership with each of our member congregations, what makes them invaluable are the people who make up each member congregation. One of the things I have enjoyed the most during my time working at camp has been visiting many of these churches and getting to know the people. Someone always has a great story about when they were a camper or served on summer staff. Someone is always wondering if Steve “Mitsu” Bishey is still at camp (he is!). Someone is always asking about what how our things are going with whatever project is happening and what the plans are for future projects.

These visits to the churches which play a key role in our ministry remind me that IOLBC has been impacting lives for generations. They also remind me that, without these key churches, our ability to continue to do great ministry would be much more limited. So for the next couple of months I am inviting pastoral staff from some of these member congregations to share here on our BEYOND Ministries blog. It’s your chance to go on a “church visit” and get to know some of the people who continue to play a crucial role in keeping camp connected to our member congregations.


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