Camp & Recreation Ministry

Every year in the United States the lives of 9 million children and adults are impacted through more than 12,000 camping and retreat ministries hosted by organized camps, local churches, colleges, agencies, and mission boards. In addition, almost every church and school integrates experience-based learning principles into their core curriculum whether it be at youth meetings, VBS, AWANA, Sunday school, cell groups, missions trips, or work trips. Camping and recreation programs are becoming key components of mission outreach strategies around the world.

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Program Description

Every year in the United States the lives of 9 million children and adults are impacted through more than 12,000 camping and retreat ministries hosted by organized camps, local churches, colleges, agencies, and mission boards. In addition, almost every church and school integrates experience-based learning principles into their core curriculum whether it be at youth meetings, VBS, AWANA, Sunday school, cell groups, missions trips, or work trips. Camping and recreation programs are becoming key components of mission outreach strategies around the world. Mastery of the skills and competencies surrounding the use of camping and recreation programs for impacting the lives of people will prepare students to play a valuable role in the mission of the church.

Program Goals

Upon completion of the camp ministry program, students will minister effectively within a camp ministry environment as demonstrated by the following competencies:

  1. Actively shepherd individuals toward God, helping them grow in faith and mobilizing them as productive Christ-followers.
  2. Create programming that is driven by a clear sense of mission and purpose.
  3. Apply group and team theory for recruiting, developing, mobilizing and mending teams for maximum effectiveness.
  4. Understand structural models for governance of non-profit organizations and how they shape and empower practical ministry.
  5. Demonstrate a working knowledge of financial stewardship, including basic budgetary principles and procedures for non-profit organizations.
  6. Apply a working knowledge of legal issues and loss control strategies to the delivery of ministry organizations and their programming.
  7. Understand the history, philosophies and current trends within the outdoor education and organized camping movement.
  8. Effectively use impact ministry environments and dynamics, as tools for introducing others to a growing, intimate relationship with their God.
  9. Apply current experience based learning theories, models, and tools.
  10. Understand the program development cycle endemic to typical camping environments, from assessment and design to implementation and evaluation.
  11. Apply principles necessary to move participants towards growth in the context of short-term impact ministry environments.

Courses of Study (36 Credits)

Ministry Foundations (18 credits)

All PER ministry programs are built on the core foundational skillsĀ delivered in this set of classes. While implementation of these skills may vary in different ministry environments, the skills are not context-specific at the principle level. Every ministry leader will deploy this organizational leadership foundation in their ministry context.

  • Dynamics of Discipleship (3 credits)
  • Principles of Ministry Strategy (3 credits)
  • Developing Dynamic Teams (3 credits)
  • Governance & Administration of Nonprofit Organizations (3 credits)
  • Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations (3 credits)
  • Risk Management of Nonprofit Organizations (3 credits)
Camp Ministry Focus (15 credits)

Camp and recreation ministry is a broad field with applications that may include residential camp environments, sports ministries and outdoor/wilderness ministries, among other things. There are myriad opportunities in the US and abroad. This block of courses plugs into the philosophical and practical opportunities to leverage discipleship through this variety of ministry platforms.

  • Foundations of Camping and Outdoor Education (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Impact Ministry Leadership (3 credits)
  • Foundations of Experience Based Learning (3 credits)
  • Recreational Programming: Vision, Assessment, Design (3 credits)
  • Counseling in Active Learning Environments (3 credits)
Cross-Discipline Electives (3 credits)

Students will choose at least one experience-based course from alternative disciplines (i.e. youth ministry, intercultural ministry, camping and recreation) to compliment and customize their learning experience in context.