Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times
At Discover Family Church, we don’t want Royal Family KIDS to be a ministry of our church, but rather the ‘heartbeat’ of our church. As Lead Pastor, my main focus is on attendance, offerings, and our next big event. In addition, I want our church ‘reach out’ to make a significant impact to the least among us.
When I first learned about Royal Family KIDS Camp, I knew that our church had to be involved. What started as a desire for the past four years, grew into truly knowing in my heart, that our church will launch a camp. So when we commenced our small groups last semester, I realized that it was time to make camp more than just a ministry. My wife and I decided to lead a small group at our house on a weekly basis, centered around camp. The meetings were held specifically for our volunteers, and it has been such a valuable tool for us as we continue to grow our camp.
If you have ever been part of a camp—in any capacity, then you understand how close you become with those who are involved with the ministry when it’s all said and done. Like the soldiers in WW2, you come away from camp as a “Band of Brothers”. So you an imagine that I did not want these relationships and what we have built together, to end there. So we now meet every week. Out team gets to know each other beyond the ministry, joy, and pain of camp. We have all become true friends. We are not only changing the lives of the foster children at camp, but each others’ lives as well.
When we plan our upcoming camp each year, we work as a team on designing and crafting art boxes and costumes. We put our heads together so to speak, in efforts to come up with new ideas—ones that demonstrate the love of Christ to the kids who attend camp. All of these joint efforts make planning for camp so much easier. But more than that, we are walking into the next camp as a family.
When John Schwider first spoke at church about the camp that we were going to launch, he talked about the ‘grandpa.’ After service, John was introduced to a guy named Steve Essary. Steve didn’t think he had much to offer the kids who attend camp, but he would ultimately become the best camp ‘grandpa’ any child in the world would love to call his or her own.
Steve thought he would walk into camp and be a disciplinarian, since his career had been to run the safety of a large grocery warehouse. He was a ‘by the book’, no nonsense kind of a guy who assumed his job as camp grandpa was going to be laying down the law and punishing bad kids. What he did not expect, was that he would instead be the reason so many of them had fun at camp. Indeed, Steve left an indelible impression.
Steve thought it might be fun to bring a couple of fishing poles to camp and take the kids fishing. His last minute idea turned out to be a huge success with the kids and their favorite activity that week … fishing with grandpa! The sight of these kids—overwhelmed by holding a fishing pole for the first time, was only topped by the sight of them catching their very first fish. Sharing the joy alongside them was Steve, a safety patrol expert turned grandpa. He stood there smiling from ear to ear. If you ask Steve about his best fishing story to date, he will tell you that it’s not about the ‘big one’ he caught, but rather the kids he fell in love with at camp!
By Johnny Kelley