Connecting to the Larger Family of Church

September 26, 2018

Reflections on the Seven Foundations for Camp & Retreat Ministries

Foundation 6: Partner with Local churches and Church-Related Organizations

by Todd Bartlett, Executive director of Camp and Retreat Ministries

I grew up involved in a variety of team endeavors: football, baseball, volleyball, track and field, band, choir, drama, boy scouts, church youth group as well as district and conference youth teams, and, of course, the very intimate team called “family”. 

Along the way I learned from coaches and leaders what it means to be a part of a team.  Each member does what they are able to do to further the goals of the team.  That may mean dropping down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner, it may mean playing a smaller role in the play, or quieter on a section of the band or choral piece.  At other times it may mean shining as brightly as possible, not for self, but for the good of the team.

It also means listening to others who are a part of the team.  In choir and band, you need to listen to those around you to glean clues of where you are and what you are doing together and to mesh the voices into a harmonious whole.  At many of our sites we use challenge elements to help members of teams to communicate with one another.  In these challenges they have the opportunity to overcome a obstacle that is designed to challenge our normal thought processes, which means that it often requires multiple attempts before it is solved.  Many times, I have witnessed that it is those who are less vocal who know how to solve the challenge.  When we take the time to listen to voices that we don’t normally hear, we may receive wisdom for the group to be able to accomplish the task before it.

Oregon-Idaho Camp and Retreat Ministries operates as a team together where directors share and learn from one another in growing in our ability to fulfill our mission as “People dedicated to providing quality environments of Christian hospitality and learning.”

We are also part of a larger team called the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  This team is also connected to the larger United Methodist Church (a global organization).  We have partnered with groups from local churches, from the conference, from the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, the Greater Northwest area of the UMC (OR-ID, PNW and Alaska), the Western Jurisdiction and yes, even organizations from the global church: Mission Fellows, a UM choir from Norway-Signatur, ministry interns retreat, campus ministry retreat, and a recently held “Listening with Open Hearts” gathering for leaders from around the globe!  

These are just a few of the ways that Camp and Retreat Ministries are engaged with local churches and agencies.  I look forward to new opportunities of working together to accomplish our common goals where individuals experience the presence of God and the world is transformed.  Together we are more capable of shaping and supporting the journey of discipleship for current and future generations.

See you around the campfire soon,

© 2014 Camp and Retreat Ministries:

A partnership between The Oregon-Idaho Conference of The United Methodist Church
and The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon