Hello Windermere Friends,
This week Windermere got to host the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church (Kansas City) Family Camp. It was so exciting to see multiple families all over our campus. I recall recently reading in USA Today that multigenerational vacations are the hottest travel trend. No wonder many churches are looking for ways to minister to the whole family.
Pleasant Valley’s Family Pastor is Jim Landers. He has led his church for 15+ years. Windermere has been their partner for all those 15+ years. He is a seasoned leader who I found to be very gifted.
In observing Jim and his team last week, I have seen how to have a successful family camp.
Observation #1, Pleasant Valley models the benefit of giving families a break from their hectic schedules. Work, school, extracurricular activities, church commitments and daily to-do’s pull families in every direction. Families needless to say are stressed out. Camp for Pleasant Valley is a simple time, where kids can go fishing and parents know they will be safe. The whole family can enjoy the time with a little sun on their faces. Rest time at family camp is one of its biggest appeals.
Observation #2, Pleasant Valley equips volunteers for ministry. Pastor Jim Landers is a minister that models the Bible command to “equip the saints for ministry.” The insecure church minister is the one who tries to do everything himself. His camp co-directors, Gretchen and Gary, were obviously gifted and fully engaged in leading camp. It was inspiring to all of us here at Windermere to see them lead. Pastors, we at Windermere, love to work with your volunteer leaders in helping them succeed.
Observation #3, Pleasant Valley knows how to leverage the campus for the most fun. While here their families participated in cave tours, the EDGE (in one day, Pleasant Valley had over 80 people going through our ropes course!), the SPLASH (inflatables out in the lake cove) Frisbee golf, putt-putt, paddle boats, and canoes. Plus, Pleasant Valley always conducts baptism in the beautiful waters of the lake.
Observation #4, Pleasant Valley loves to add a little twist of creativity to their family camp. The essence of creativity is taking a simple idea and adding a 10% twist. I love that they decorate bikes (We were able to make an exception for this large of a group and allow bicycles at camp) strollers, wagons, scooters, golf carts, skateboards, etc. for a parade. They brought in a great speaker, Phillip Kelly, chaplain with the Kansas City Chiefs. I thought their family photo booth was as awesome idea.
If I was a local church pastor, I would call Pleasant Valley Baptist and learn about how they do family camp. Let’s face it it…..families are the primary place for faith formation. Camp is a great way to build a growing faith and a great way to build a growing church. Thank you Pleasant Valley Baptist!
God bless you,