Every year, thousands of children and youth participate in 11 registered camps supported by churches that belong to the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (CCMBC).
In early October, camp directors and their spouses had the opportunity to participate in a weekend gathering in Richmond, B.C. hosted by CCMBC’s Resourcing Churches Developing Leaders (RCDL) team.
“Camp directors are key partners in our ministry of developing leaders,” says Ron Toews, RCDL director. “About 1,000 young people are trained annually as leaders through camping ministries.”
Toews said camp directors had shared information about their leadership and discipleship programs, the role and development of boards, personal growth for directors and relationships among camps, churches, Bible schools and conferences.
“I love the fact that the directors were willing to come together to build relationships and learn from each other,” says Toews. “As I listened to them I could see how the new Leaders2Learners website will give them the option to have ongoing discussions.”
The website, which will be launched in early 2014, will bring an extensive collection of learning resources to pastors and leaders with CCMBC. It is designed to develop learning clusters for teaching, interacting, coaching, mentoring and uniting in prayer. Some of the main features include assessment tools, coaching support, access to the online meeting site and the capability of posting and downloading information.
MB camps are owned and managed by provincial MB conferences and their churches. Currently, the relationship between camps and their supporting churches varies from “deep engagement to limited engagement,” says Toews. “Some camps have an integral connection with churches and other camps feel that the connection could be much deeper.”
Online learning communities, he explains, have the potential to bring together churches, Bible schools and camps as they work together to train and develop young leaders.
“We are partners in ministry,” says Toews. “We recognize that camps influence the lives of a huge number of young people. We value our relationship with camps and want to provide spiritual and practical resources that help camps develop young leaders.”
Gladys Terichow is the staff writer for the Canadian Conference of MB Churches