Posted: 8/22/19 at 3:20pm. Article by Glenn Maddox.
Impact Mission Camps, in its 26th year overall and its second year of five-year partnerships with communities where it serves, gave students and partners new opportunities to share God’s love through service this summer.
For the last several years, the theme for Impact has come from the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25, with themes such as Hungry, More than Welcome, and Robes of Hope. This year, we practiced Just Visiting—being one expression of the presence of Christ by visiting, forming relationships, and serving.
Over the course of the summer, over 700 participants served during six weeks of camp—repairing 60 homes—ensuring families would be safe, warm, and dry. Students also had new opportunities to serve this year and created new ways for partner churches to engage. They were part of a community lunch celebration in Chesterfield, hosted by the local faith community.
Kids in grades 3-5 got to be part of the overall mission experience in Bluefield, serving each other, the youth campers, a homeowner, and the wider community. In Danville, we saw a new partnership begin with the Pittsylvania Baptist Association, Averett University, and Impact to create pathways to year-round engagement.
And on the Eastern Shore, Impact participants helped expand Splash Camp, a summer camp that provides much-needed childcare and shares the gospel, to a second site. During our two weeks in Jones County, Impact participants served homeowners still displaced by Hurricane Florence as part of the overall BGAV Disaster Rebuild efforts there.
Participants went home ready to explore how they can be part of God’s mission, how God may be calling them, and how their worldview needs to expand in light of what they experienced this summer.
They learned new ways their churches can engage their communities by learning about Fresh Expressions, saw a glimpse of what a life of faith beyond high school may be like from collegiate ministers who served as camp pastors, and saw that they will always have a home away from home at Impact as several former staffers came back to serve as worship leaders and as the camp coordinator.
The work for next year has already begun, and the work of our faith never really ends.