Windermere Baptist Conference Center exists to provide a Christian setting for life change. One particular area of life change is, of course – salvation.
For several years Windermere has partnered with Battle Creek Baptist Church in Tulsa Okla. Battle Creek came to Windermere because of the many recreation options provided. They like for their camp to have a variety of recreation so as to appeal to a broad range of students.
Their reason is simple: Camp remains one of their primary evangelism tools with students.
Every year at the end of camp, Battle Creek transforms the marina cove of Windermere into a baptism area.
Students gather around and student pastors walk each candidate into the Lake of the Ozarks water. One student after another is baptized.
Once they come up out of the water, enormous cheers come from all the others students. The clapping and cheering can be heard all across our campus.
Informed Christians know that evangelism has been in decline across most evangelical denominations. Churches are having a difficult time leading others to Christ in a postmodern era.
People in general spend more and more time alone as compared to years past. The examples are everywhere. More people drive alone to work than any other time. More young people live alone. Technology makes it easy to experience media like music, podcasts and videos alone.
In fact, mass media has been replaced by media “on demand.” In observing the family dynamic, researchers tell us that the average family spends only 36 minutes together each day. The postmodern culture is a challenge.
Yet, churches like Battle Creek who make evangelism a priority are seeing results by using the traditional camp. Tried and true methods continue to work. Campers find fun recreation, sound Bible teaching and preaching, worshipful music, authentic community and a clear presentation of the gospel.
Researchers tell us that if a person does not make a profession of faith by the time he or she is 13 years old then the likelihood of becoming a Christian shrinks to roughly 10 percent.
This past summer at the Battle Creek Baptist Church camp more than 70 students were baptized in the Lake of the Ozarks. There can be no greater thrill to see lives changed while at camp.
This is one example, but it is not the only one. Windermere continues to see about 1,000 professions of faith made each year while on the campus.
Making this type of an impact is not “mission impossible.”
Impossible situations can be overcome by resourcefulness, determination and focus. Windermere sees major impact by partnering with churches that are unafraid to bring these characteristics — resourcefulness, determination and focus — to camping.
It doesn’t hurt that it can happen on the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks. Whether it is 70 baptisms in one hour at camp or one student who needs to hear the good news, camp can make a difference.