DAVIS—Over the course of three months, 10 four-day sessions and one five-day pre-teen camp, CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp served 4,491 registered campers who represented 125 churches this summer. CrossTimbers experienced 511 spiritual decisions made by campers, including 295 professions of faith in Christ.
James Swain, Equipping Team leader for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), was pleased with all the results of
CrossTimbers and said the camp geared for children who have finished third-sixth grades met all three objectives: To emphasize mission work around the world, present the Gospel and “have a great time.”
The camp emphasis for all 11 sessions was “Kingdom Calling,” referring to Matt. 6:33. Swain said the CrossTimbers’ missions focus related to BGCO’s mission partnership in Latvia and an emphasis on the Cooperative Program. Campers also gave $8,600.25 to the missions offering, which will help a Christian camp in Latvia.
With great camp pastors each session, which comprised of Oklahoma pastors and children’s ministers, and adult sponsors who came with each church group, CrossTimbers’ summer experience had many contributors. But according to Swain, the “secret formula” to making camp extra special is the summer staff.
“The summer program staff consisted of 50 college students. They came in and facilitated camp,” Swain said. “CrossTimbers is structured so that the sponsors can go and enjoy camp with their children, invest in their children, but the camp staff is leading the Missions Stops, the activities, the tribal groups they have each week, and our staff did a phenomenal job this summer.”
Many church groups have expressed how impressed they were with CrossTimbers’ summer staff. As soon as campers arrive, staff members are there to greet them, helping them collect luggage and getting everyone settled on the campgrounds. And their service continues throughout the session.
“From the time they get up until they go to bed, they are interacting with the children,” Swain said about CrossTimbers’ staffers. “They were committed, rose through the challenges we had throughout the summer, and they are the secret to the effectiveness of CrossTimbers.”
Clay Young, who serves as CrossTimbers camp manager, also spoke on the great work of the summer staff.
“Our camp is only as good as our summer staff,” Young said. “God gives you what you need, and He put our staff together this year with exactly who we needed. We knew we had something special.”
Young shared how many staff members were gifted with sharing the Gospel with children.
“We can train them to work the ropes course and other things like that, but to have that servant’s heart and be willing to sit down and intentionally talk to a child about the Lord, that has to be Spirit-led,” he said.
One significant sign of how passionate the summer staff members were for the campers to hear the Gospel, Young told about an experience that happened organically midway through the summer. The staff members decided to form a prayer circle during the evening services before invitation time.
“They knew they had to refocus and finish strong the last few weeks,” Young said. “(Forming a prayer circle) was a way for them to lay aside personal stuff and focus on what camp is about. They decided on their own to do that, to pray for their tribal groups.”
Swain said the staff members experience a worship time the night before every session started at CrossTimbers. A speaker would come to challenge and encourage them.
“We are trying to pour into them spiritually, so that they can pour into the (campers) spiritually,” he said. “We don’t want young men and women to come to camp without them having people pour into their lives spiritually. We don’t want them to come into camp and be further away from God.”
Young said spiritual growth happened among CrossTimbers’ staff members this summer. Many of them helped campers make spiritual decisions all throughout the camp. It was reported that 10 campers made professions of faith in Christ during target games in one day.
“We knew we had something special. It wasn’t because we had ‘super lifeguards’ or ‘super target guys,’” Young said. “It was they were willing to serve the kids, and this came from their own walk with Christ.”
The fruit of the camp staff members’ labors came through the 511 spiritual decisions this summer, as well as the influence they made on campers for a lifetime.