During this time of year, we spend time giving thanks, eating with friends and family, spending money on sales… And giving to support the ministries that matter to us.
In several conversations recently, there have been two common questions. What do you do with yourself this time of year? What expenses does your ministry have now, I thought all of your expenses happened in the summer? Internally I smile at both of these. I recognize that every ministry looks glorious and easy from the outside. The true cost of doing ministry is often hidden to all but the insiders.
October through January are busy seasons in camping getting ready for the next season. We’ve closed down the facilities, started writing Bible Studies, spent time evaluating what we can improve on, paid many visits, began the hiring process, reconciled the books, we are setting up the schedule, producing a brochure, running leadership seminars, crunching all the attendance numbers and looking at bills coming in for the summer’s groceries, insurance, payroll, maintenance and utilities. Last, I spend time trying to fund the ministry. Between now and the end of the year we need to raise $65,000 to finish our fiscal year. Normally we raise $45,000 in the end of the year giving. This figure sounds daunting for a small ministry, but we have long since left the arena of small ministries! Especially when I look at our impact.
I was speaking with some pastors a few weeks ago, they were relaying stories of children and teens whose lives had been changed. One was telling me of a young teenager who had been in and out of trouble. Since returning from camp, he is a different boy. “He walks to church early, helps with the sound, never misses Sunday School, he cannot wait to be here. His father is amazed at the change in his life.” This story repeats itself with another pastor, in almost the exact same words. I ran into several teenagers at the ABY convention, it thrilled my heart to have them run up to me and tell me of the amazing things God is doing in their lives since they committed to follow over the summer. I spoke with staff, and have them posting on our facebook page:
<em>“Camp changed me by reading the bible every day for a summer and being around other people to discuss it in a place focused on just that is incredibly refreshing when you go out into the real world… It’s good to know places like Camp Vick exist… Whenever I read my bible now I am much more comfortable in discussing it with people of all walks of life because of camp… One cannot be in an environment like this all the time but I think we all have been equipped and have learned how to bring an environment like this to other people wherever we are… I am truly appreciative to the people who have provided me with the opportunity to work at camp and hope that others for many years to come will benefit from this as well. Philippians 2 has stood out to me a lot of late if anyone is looking for a good passage to read.” </em>
<em>AND “It feels so weird to be packing up and leaving camp — I couldn’t have asked for anything different… to think that when I was offered the job I was not even going to take it. The thought was do I really want to give up my whole summer? This place is more than just a job, yes there are duties that must be done– but it is a ministry– and everything we do here is a reflection of our Creator! We have an opportunity to impact everyone who steps foot on this camp with the love of God- we have an opportunity to plant a seed into someone’s life– sometimes we are blessed to watch that seed grow year after year, I’m excited for what God has in store for Vick and Pathfinder Camp and Conference Ministries. He is truly doing something great here and I feel like everyone should be a part of it!!! </em>
These are the stories that keep me going in the fall and winter. These are glimpses into the reason I take pure joy in the trials of the ministry. These are the people whose stories are multiplied, for each person who we have an opportunity to minister to. These are the faces of the people who give me enough courage to ask for people to give financially so we can continue to minister. It is expensive. Insurance alone is $42,000 just to be open, payroll for staffing is $170,000. These are not as glamorous as scholarships for the children and teens who we never turn away, or supporting a specific project so the infrastructure can be there for years to come, but they are a costly necessity.
Would you consider an end of the year gift to Vick and Pathfinder Camp and Conference Ministries? Would you help support the child who desperately needs to know about God’s love and care in his/her life. Would you enable us to help a child disconnect from the virtual world, and connect to the reality of a relationship with an incredible loving Creator? You can donate in honor or memory of a loved one, we will acknowledge it on your behalf!
Please consider making a donation today. You can do so at: http://vpccministries.org/donate/capitol-campain/
Your fellow laborer,
John R. Buskey