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Confession of a Camp Director

Welcome to our very first BLOG post!  I’m glad you’ve joined us here and I hope you find some encouragement in the words that follow.  I tried starting a blog once before, around 20 years ago, and after about 4 posts ran out of material to write about – turns out I wasn’t that knowledgeable or exciting.  Fast forward to 2020 – and I promise, this blog will be better than my first attempt.  It will be team effort with myself, and others. We will be telling stories and discussing topics relevant to the exciting work here at Manitou.   

Now to introduce myself –Hi, I’m Seth.  I’m 41 years-old, a husband, father and camp director. We have four amazing kids, I love all things outdoors, good coffee and conversation.  My plans for life included several things but being a full-time camp director wasn’t one of them.  God has a sense of humour since I’ve now been in full time vocational ministry since 2005 and at Manitou Lake Bible Camp since 2011.  All in all, my life is pretty amazing, but I do have a confession to make…

Even as someone who has worked for over 15 years in Christian ministry, and as someone who would be classified as an evangelical (one bearing the good news of the gospel), I have sometimes failed when it comes to talking clearly about the Good News of the gospel with my friends and neighbours who aren’t from a Christian perspective.  Sure, I’ve talked lots about the gospel for my job, whether it be speaking, training or writing but the number of convos over coffee away from my full-time work is embarrassingly small.

This is especially poignant to me since, as a camp, our mission is to share the Good News through our programming and to equip believers to do the same.  In fact, we are just about to launch a brand-new series of retreats called “Gospel Basics”.   This series is designed to help people grasp the Good News of the gospel and to become comfortable in talking about it and to live their lives like it’s true! 

So why is it that I so seldomly have a conversation with friends about the good news… the Good News that I’ve dedicated my life to promoting?  The conversation around what I believe can be an awkward and sometimes unwelcome one but I’m convinced that as I get more comfortable with the concepts and fluent with the language around the gospel, the more naturally it will come up in conversations.  It’s really very simple and yet profound news that we have to share.  As we’ve prepared to launch our Gospel Basics Retreats it’s forced me to do some serious thinking about how to explain what the Good News is and why it’s good news!  

If you had just 10 minutes to explain to someone what the Good News is and why it’s good news how would you go about it?  

It’s tougher than you think – establishing what a Christian world view looks like, setting the stage and introducing the impossible problem of sin (bad news) and then explaining how God Himself introduced a solution to that problem that was more brilliant and beautiful and AWEsome than anything that any person could ever dream up on their own.

It really should be easy to begin a conversation about what life is all about and what matters most.  How, as we search for purpose and meaning in life we eventually inevitably ask questions about why we exist and what caused our existence.  As a Christian we make a choice to put our faith in what God reveals about these questions in the bible which we believe to be the written word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  There are lots of good reasons to be confident in this but that is for another conversation.  In the Bible we learn:

  • That He created the earth and the first people (Genesis 1-2), 
  • That those first people struggled to be content with trusting God at His word (sound familiar?)  and that they decided to try to do things their own way in an attempt to become like God. (Genesis 3)
  • That through this original act of rebellion against their Creator, a broken relationship between God and all of mankind resulted – a sin problem (Genesis 3, Romans 5:12)
  • That this sin problem was an impossible one to solve on our own (Romans 7:7-20)
  • That in order to satisfy God’s perfect justice, payment for sin must be made – and the cost was high.  The bible tells us that all have sinned and that the wages of sin is death – the bad news! (Romans 6:23, Romans 3:23)
  • But, that in the most brilliant solution in history, God himself solved this sin problem by offering His son Jesus as a perfect (and infinite) sacrifice, making a way for all who would believe in Him.  That Jesus Himself stepped in and paid the price that I owed! (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 5:8-11) 
  • That we receive this free gift not by working for or earning it (we can’t) but by simply placing our faith in this truth to receive it (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • That this is good news for me and for you. It’s freedom knowing that I couldn’t but He could!  And now we’re free to follow after Him and live the life we were created for.  

I know, this is a huge conversation, but I hope it’s one we all have more often.  If you’re struggling to find the words to begin, I challenge you to take some action to improve your grasp of the Good News. Get more fluent by finding opportunities to study and to practice discussing the Good News until you can’t even have a conversation without seeing a connection to this amazing and life-changing truth.  

As we approach Christmas – we will be handed several great opportunities to begin a conversation about the Good News – check back for our next post and we will explore some together!



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