Mission & Values
The MISSION and MINISTRY of the Board of Camping,
Outdoor and Retreat Ministries
United Methodist camp and retreat ministries create
environments of intentional Christian hospitality and
learning within natural settings designed specifically to
help persons and groups:
- Affirm and expand their faith in God.
- Learn and practice Christian discipleship.
- Grow in wisdom and in healthy self-esteem.
- Establish relationships and lifestyles of loving
interdependence with one another and all creation.
- Develop as skilled spiritual leaders who move out to inspire
faith communities and society at large to "seek God and to
- Find renewal, encouragement, and support as leaders and
participants from a host of religiously affiliated and
non-profit organizations, so that they might more
effectively fulfill their purposes of bettering the world
and transforming countless lives.
Core Values and Beliefs
At the heart of our camp and retreat ministries is the
absolute belief that camping changes lives. We do not
believe that this happens coincidentally, randomly, or by
happenstance. There is, in fact, great intentionality
and focus in all that we do.
We are guided by four value vectors that determine and
define the direction of all of our camp and retreat ministry
Like the popular contemporary Christian song "The True
Heart of Worship" states, "it's all about You, it's all
about You, Jesus..." We, too, believe that it's all
about Jesus. Being true to our Wesleyan and Methodist
heritage, we hold firmly to the value of knowing God through
Christ. Our programming is not simply about recreation
or "outdoor appreciation". Our programming provides
opportunities and spaces in which individuals, young and
old, can safely encounter the living God and have their
hearts and lives deeply impacted for the Kingdom. This
ultimately means that we will see more and more camp and
retreat programming that will reflect a deep and intentional
effort in spiritual formation, disciple making, and
leadership development. A Christ-centered ministry
ultimately builds up the whole Body of Christ.
As the shift in our structuring of the Board of Camping,
Outdoor and Retreat Ministries shows, we are placing a much
larger emphasis on the programming side of our ministry.
No doubt, we value our camp sites as "sacred" spaces, but we
know that the sites serve only as tools with which the
changing of lives through camp and retreat ministries is
aided. Ultimately, camps (facilities) don't change
lives. Camping (programs) changes lives. This
means that we need to be more intentional, creative, and
proactive in developing new programs that meet the needs of
the local church and its diverse constituency. We also
need to carefully work on revitalizing existing programs so
that what we do will be at its very best.
Whether it is networking with local churches, building
bridges with donors, or establishing an effective and
functioning team of Board members, volunteers, and
professional staff, we believe that the basic building block
is the relationship that exists on a one-on-one level.
Our hope and vision is that we would build intentional and
meaningful relationships with all those who are interested
in and/or have passion for camping and retreat ministries,
so that we can partner together for the greater cause of
changing lives for the Kingdom. The Camp & Retreat
Advocate will serve as a primary catalyst for this
particular vector of our ministry.
The California-Pacific Annual Conference is a
geographically large conference that represents many
different ethnicities, cultures, and generations. As
we become more and more multi-cultural and
multi-generational, we will need to be increasingly
sensitive to meet the needs of ethnic communities that have
been for the most part underrepresented in camp and retreat
ministries. Furthermore, we need to intentionally
respond to the reality that camping and retreat ministries
are not created "equal" for all generations and age groups.