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Brian Frick is the Associate for Camp and Conferences Ministries with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has been involved in camp and conference ministry since high school. For the past ten years, Brian has served as program director of Johnsonburg Center in New Jersey, Westminster Woods in California, and Heartland Center in Missouri.

Camp and conference ministry compliments and partners with other ministry aspects of our church to foster faith development and reflection. As our communities and our church changes, our ministries need to grow and adapt with creative and emergent programming and leadership to meet new realities.

These blogs entries, though varied, are intended to spur thought and conversation around the opportunities and challenges before us.

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July 21, 2011

A Transforming Life

A Tribute to Pete Rasmussen


Pete Rasmussen at Heartland Grace Hall Ground Breaking

Pete Rasmussen

I can tie a string in a knot with one hand.  Not a bad skill.  Sort of useless, but in it's own way, transforming.  Pete Rasmussen taught me that a few years ago.  Though it may not have changed my life, it was his calm presence and the heartfelt connection with me that showed me the heart of the man that transformed the lives of thousands.  It was his love of God and service (as you leave, you will see "Go Serve" on the back of the entry posts as well as in the Great Room - a motto he embodied) that spread the Good News.


Pete served as Director of Presbyterian Camp outside of Parkville which became Heartland Center from 1965 to 1990.  In that time, he transformed the lives of thousands of campers and adults by embodying the love of Jesus Christ.  Of course there was more to it than that.  Being the camp director of a Presbyterian center takes long hours, an understanding of finance, vision, promotion, staff training and supervion, etc.  You know the list.  But what made Pete so special, and in turn Heartland such a successful camping ministry was his integrity.  His willingness to share himself honestly and fully with staff, parents, pastors, and of course, campers.

He loved what he did and wasn't afraid to show it.  He always wore socks that did not match and carried a string or two to teach novices like me how to tie knots the Pete way!

Being willing to engage others with integrity is the first, crucial ingredient for an impactful ministry.

I'm not sure I can do that all the time.  Of course there are times when I am "on my game."  Where I can teach the Truck Song, lead a game of tag, or play guitar at a campfire.  There are other times when I'm shy and reserved.  It is in those moments where I leave my cautious self behind and really dive into the ministry that 'it' really happens.  Others let their guard down and they become open to connecting with others and ultimately to hearing and living the word of God.  

It is in these ways that camping ministry can make an impact in changing the world, one person at a time.  How do you do this?  When have you really felt 'it' happening while you are engaged in your ministry?  Will you be remembered for your engagement with others and the words?

Pete will.  I thank God everyday for people like Pete who paved the way for us all with his huge heart and love of the Lord.

We need more Pete's in the world.

Here are summer staff and campers at Heartland this week paying tribute to Pete through mis-matched socks.  Not all of them knew Pete, but he played a part in transforming their lives none the less.  Thank you Pete!


Heartland Campers pay Tribute to Pete

Heartland Campers pay Tribute to Pete


Tags: camp, camping, christian education, evangelism, heartland center, pcusa, pete rasmussen, transformation