Let’s talk some theory and philosophy:
Now, to many of you out there, this may be boring and unimportant, but that is ok. This is not for everyone. I have just finished teaching a block course at NIU on Adventure Camping, and it made me, once again, consider why we do what we do at High Point Camp.
“High Point Camp exists to build up believers in the faith and to evangelize the lost in the context of a quality Christian camping experience.” That is our mission statement. That is what we do – at least, that is what we attempt to do. In 1999, HPC branched out into our Adventure Programs (Justin calls these A-Camps) and in 2000, we embarked on the camps first ever wilderness trip. Why in the world did we begin these type camps when our regular resident camp was working just fine? Well, lets talk about that for a few minutes.
All throughout Scripture, we see the wilderness and adventure being used to form, transform, change, develop, and instruct men of God. From early in the Bible, we see God taking people into the wilderness to teach the lessons that He deemed necessary for them to learn. Abraham headed out from his home into the mountains for what he thought was going to be the death of his son, Isaac. But, instead, God used this desolate place to show his provision and promise. In the beginning chapters of Exodus, when Moses fled from Egypt, he ended up in the wilderness tending the flocks of his father-in-law. God called Moses (through the burning bush) to rescue the people of Israel while he was deep in the wilderness. We see God teach the Israelites many lessons in their 40 year trek through the desert, and although they were in the desert so long because of their sin, God used this time to teach them and to show them His great power.
The shepherd, David, was constantly in the wilderness while taking care of his fathers sheep. He killed a bear and a lion while away from home, and what lesson did he learn? He learned that his God was powerful and ready to save. When he stood before Goliath, the lessons he had learned gave him great confidence that God would once again provide salvation. In 1 Samuel, David was driven to the wilderness in fear of his life. Saul was after him, and he would learn more about his God as he ran from Saul, lived in caves, and once again, was away from the luxuries of a home, town, and all that came with that.
In the New Testament, Jesus headed in the wilderness to defeat Satan though remaining sinless despite the many temptations. He often withdrew from the business of His ministry to pray and commune with God in the wilderness or out in a boat on the sea. Jesus showed the disciples his power during a storm on the sea. With the weather raging out of control and the disciples riddled with fear, Jesus commanded the seas to be still.
The wilderness was used throughout Scripture, as is adventure: Daniel in the lions den, David squaring off with a bear and a lion, Jonah in the belly of the whale, Elijah and the prophets of Baal, Gideon and the 300 soldiers, the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, the disciples in the storm on a boat, and Paul shipwrecked, snake-bitten, and pursued by those that wanted him dead. In all these things, the people involved were in the adventures of a lifetime…and God used these adventures to teach and grow those involved closer to Himself.
Why does High Point Camp run adventure camps and wilderness camps? Because these two settings are so capable of putting people in positions where they are ready to learn and are ready to grow more into His image. When you take campers out of their normal, comfortable setting and place them in an unknown “risky”(or at least perceived riskiness) setting – learning takes place.
In the end, these different type camps are used to build up the believers in the faith and to evangelize the lost.
So, we will continue on.