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.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so.
I love a good holiday - Thanks giving in particular. Time with family and friends to just enjoy being together. It is a celebration where the time together is really a thank you for the life we are given, the friends we are blessed with, and the family we are born into. Yes, we can thank the Puritans for this one, but surviving a first winter in the "New World" is something to celebrate. The fact that this holiday has lasted this long, is a testament to the need to give thanks.
However, this year, don't know if you noticed but I did, Christmas started before Halloween. I have been watching with angst as the sales, decorations, and advertising blitzes with Christmas Jingles move closer and closer to making "Christmas in July" a reality. It irks me.
It overshadows Thanksgiving. So when Black Friday rolled around, it was in full force and you can almost smell the desperation of stores trying to end in the black on such a harsh year for retail. I feel for them, but shopping is not the answer and maybe it's times like this year that lead to a change - though it looks like it just reinforces the opposite.
I'll get off my soapbox now - but I enjoyed my Thanksgiving, not with football (you may have noticed the Giants have forgotten they are a football team sometime over the last 4 weeks?) but with a wonderful meal with my family. I give thanks for them and the many blessings in my life.
The next thing you will notice is your mailbox getting filled with requests from non-profits for some mission dollars or dollars of support for the work they do. What do you do with these?
I'm sure that most get recycled (hopefully not tossed in the garbage!). But I encourage you to take some time to read the letters (you wouldn't believe how hard executives work to write these letters to tell their stories and invite you to participate in their ministries).
You are being invited to be a part of a ministry that fed you - that made you who you are today. You can give Thanks, by Giving. Not to Wal-Mart, Macy's or Best Buy, but by the giving of your "plenty" (even the widow gave her last mite) to that which really means something. Those ministries that are making a difference by raising our kids to follow Jesus' call. By helping them learn they are loved for who they are, not what they do.
Give, give freely and give openly knowing that by giving, though you can't give the time to volunteer or participate like you used to before your life got busy, you are a full participant in the ministry and help pass it on to another generation.
Happy Thanks Giving everyone!
Who do you give to? Why? What do you give? Time or money? How do you share that with others? How do you decide who to give to? How do you decide how much to give? I'd love to hear your responses.