An effective coordinator will promote camp and retreat ministries so that people grow in Christian discipleship and relationship with God. Congregants will attend camps and retreats already offered by United Methodist camp and retreat centers and those offered by their own local church for their own members and those in the community. Scholarship support will enable people from all income levels to participate.
Spiritual Gifts and Qualifications Helpful for the Job
- The camp and retreat coordinator benefits from having one or more of these spiritual gifts: shepherding, administration, exhortation, helping, servanthood, or apostleship.
- This leader should have a passion for camp and retreat ministries and be able to articulate the positive benefits of participating in faith-based camps, retreats, conferences, and outdoor Christian education.
- This leader must embody an active and growing faith. Useful skills for the position include listening and communicating effectively with people of all ages, the ability to work well with varying personalities, an adeptness at recruiting others to join the ministry, and the ability to follow up to complete tasks.
- A camp and retreat coordinator shows a passion for helping people of all ages connect with God’s creation and the wider world through camp and retreat experiences.
Responsibilities of the Position
- Become familiar with the seven foundations of United Methodist camp and retreat ministries and implement them with intention.
- Connect with United Methodist camp and retreat centers in the region to establish a collaborative relationship with ministry colleagues. Review the schedule of camp and retreat events and promote them regularly among the adults, children, youth, and families of your congregation.
- Build relationships with local camp and retreat center directors and conference leaders and discuss the specific vision, goals, and strategic plan of the congregation so that camp and retreat ministries make a positive contribution in helping the congregation reach the current vision and goals for ministry.
- Work with the pastor and ministry team to determine the types of camps and retreats that would help people develop their faith and active discipleship. Plan and provide local church-sponsored camps and retreats that fulfill the church’s vision and goals.
- Learn about the facilities, services, and activities offered at local United Methodist camp and retreat centers so that groups from the local church who want to go on retreat can connect with an appropriate center.
- Help people register and prepare for camp and retreat experiences. Reach out beyond the congregation to children and families in the community. Camps and retreats can be entry points for families who do not currently attend a local church.
- Encourage the development of a camp and retreat scholarship fund so that all children, youth, and adults can participate.
- Inspire adults with the gifts and graces to serve as volunteers within a camp and retreat program. Engage in local mission work by doing volunteer work at a local United Methodist camp or retreat center. Provide training for volunteers or connect them with training offered by others in the conference or district.
- Keep the congregation informed of giving opportunities through local camps and retreat centers.
- Follow up with all children, youth, families, and adults from the local church and local community who attend camp and retreat experiences so they can share what happened, be affirmed and celebrated by the congregation, and reinforce the faith formation of the camp and retreat experience in their own local faith community.
- Report to the church council the number of people involved in camp and retreat experiences as one of the small-group faith formation experiences offered by the church. Also report the number of youth and adults involved in leadership of those camp and retreat experiences.
- Read the summary and each paper related to the seven foundations of United Methodist camp and retreat ministry for a biblical and theological overview of key aspects of faith-based camp and retreat ministry. (See www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/camp-retreat-ministries.)
- Learn about the opportunities for camp and retreat ministries already available in your area by contacting your conference office and the United Methodist camp and retreat centers in your region. (For a map and listing of United Methodist Camp and Retreat Centers, see http://batchgeo.com/map/umcr.)
- Learn about the interests and needs of children, youth, families, and adults in your congregation and community so that you can recommend appropriate experiences. Look for opportunities for your congregation to meet a need that is not being met.
- Soon after you are elected, meet with your pastor, others in your congregation, and people in your community to hear their hopes and concerns for camping and retreat ministries. Meet with other interested people to develop plans for promoting, developing, and advocating for camp and retreat ministries.
- Join the free Camp and Retreat Leader Network (CRLN), which is a great group of more than 900 leaders who share information and support related to faith-based camp and retreat ministries. Send your name, your ministry setting, or the name of your local church and your email address to email@example.com.
People and Agencies That Can Help
- Your pastor, people in your congregation, conference leaders, camp and retreat center directors who have experience with camp and retreat ministries and staff of other camp and retreat centers, park and recreation centers. As you travel, visit camp and retreat sites to learn what they are doing.
- Discipleship Ministries: Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries— firstname.lastname@example.org
- The United Methodist Camp Retreat Ministries Association, 862-200-7260; Email, email@example.com; Website: http://umcrm.camp/
- InfoServ, the information service for The United Methodist Church, provides current information about United Methodist resources, programs, and staff services. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: infoserv.umc.org.
Web and Print Resources
- American Camp Association Accreditation Guidelines, www.acacamps.org/accreditation
- Complete Leader’s Guide to Christian Retreats by Rachel Gilmore (Judson Press, 2009)
- Contemplative by Design: Creating Quiet Spaces for Retreats, Workshops, Churches, and Personal Settings by Gerrie L. Grimsley and Jane J. Young (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2008)
- Discipleship Ministries, Camp and Retreat Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/camp-retreat-ministries
- Heart of UM Camp Retreat Ministry Blog, https://camp-retreat-ministry.org
- The Retreat Leader’s Manual: A Complete Guide to Organizing Meaningful Christian Retreats by Nancy Ferguson and Kevin Witt (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2006)
- Retreats for Renewal—Five Models for Intergenerational Weekends by Nancy Ferguson (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2007)
- Safe Sanctuaries, www.umcdiscipleship.org/safesanctuaries
- United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/258411994232/