COVID can’t stop prayer for camp
by Kelly Rempel
An annual event calling on Christians to pray for camp ministry is moving full-steam ahead, distance-style.
Spearheaded by One Hope Canada in partnership with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Christian Camping International-Canada and Fellowship of Christian Camps (BC), Day of Prayer for Camp is a national project calling on Christians to pray for faith-based camp ministry.
Last year, more than 200 congregations and other organizations from across the country took part in the inaugural event, setting aside the last Sunday in May to pray. Churches featured camp speakers, hosted special lunches or themed small group activities, and prayed for camp.
With COVID-19 in full force, gathering in a physical space isn’t likely to happen any time soon. However, Christians can still pray for Canada’s largest misson field.
In addition to free downloads and videos already on its website, Day of Prayer for Camp is promoting creative ways to highlight camp ministry digitally through social media channels.
Typically an estimated 250,000 children and youth attend more than 400 Bible camps spread across Canada each year. Many hear about Jesus for the first time. Thousands of volunteers and staff make it happen.
Now Bible camps are scrambling to rethink summer ministry plans as the country tries to recover from the Coronavirus outbreak. With social distancing and large group bans in effect, the potential for onsite ministry remains doubtful.
Some camps have already closed. Some may open to small groups, while others are stretching their creative wings and trying virtual events. Other camps are hoping to run summer programming as usual, if restrictions lift.
Prayer is needed more than ever as those serving in camp ministry navigate an unprecedented situation, trying to decide if and when to open and how to do ministry well in the meantime.
“Prayer at its core is an act of dependence upon God,” says Bill McCaskell, national director for One Hope Canada, an organization that oversees 45 Bible camps and community outreaches.
“When we kneel before God we are confessing our lack and our need. That truth has had an exclamation mark placed on it over the last few weeks,” he adds.
“Camp ministry will look different this summer, but it will still happen,” he says. Many camps are already coming up with creative ways to connect with students, even if they can’t be on site.
“God is inviting us to take a step towards Him, even if everything around looks strange and at times frightening,” says McCaskell. “Our heavenly Father commissioned His people to clearly proclaim the good news of Jesus and that commission must carry on, and will carry on, for camps across this country. It is why we need the church to come together and pray for God’s wisdom, provision and courage.”
Day of Prayer for Camp 2020 happens Sunday, May 31. Visit prayforcamp.ca to sign up for free resources highlighting the importance of camp ministry and how you can pray.
Follow Day of Prayer for Camp on Instagram (@prayforcamp) and Facebook (@DOPforCamp) for more inspiration, videos, and ideas.
Kelly Rempel is the Communications Coordinator for Day of Prayer for Camp and serves at One Hope Canada.
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