Thursday, April 15, 2010

21st Century Ministry

You can’t put South Mountain Christian Camp in a box. I learned that much in the first few months after I came here 12 years ago. That was when O.A. invited me to be his guest as he hosted Niteline, a nationally-syndicated Christian television talk show. What does camping have to do with TV? I wondered. But in the TV studio that night, I saw how God could use South Mountain to minister to the needs of hurting people, not just on this property, but through various forms of media as well.

For years God has enabled O.A. and Charlotte to reach “outside the box” of typical camp ministry through radio and television programs. Now the reach of South Mountain Christian Camp is extended into the newest media of the 21st century—social networking on the internet.

We’ve had a camp website for about 10 years now, and it has served its purpose well as a tool to let people know about the various ministries of South Mountain Christian Camp. More recently however, we’ve established a web presence on various social media platforms including Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Picasa, and, of course, right here on Blogger.

I know some of you might think that sounds like overkill, but stay with me for a moment. The difference between having an informative website and having a presence on these other sites is the human factor. We’re not just putting information out there about Camp, we’re connecting with people. And, in doing so, we are able to minister to their needs in a whole new way.

Here are some examples of what I mean: Every day we can share an inspiring Bible verse or thought from O.A.’s Bible study with over 600 people through Facebook and Twitter. Every month, I share an true story on Blogger and Facebook about how God is working through the ministry here. And you can go to our YouTube channel and watch a video of one of O.A.’s encouraging Friday morning talks with the campers.

It’s a whole new way of connecting with people beyond the border of our 260 acres. Some may feel that it is impersonal. But the same thing may have been said about ministering over TV, radio, or even the telephone. (Some may have even thought that about Paul writing epistles to the churches rather than visiting them.) The truth is, 80% of all Americans are involved in some form of social media. With every new generation comes new opportunities for ministry, and we want to seize the opportunity to reach out to these people right where they are.

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