Category

Life at Camp

Equipping and Leading

By | Internships, Life at Camp | No Comments

Ministry Leadership
Camp ministry has always intrigued Doug because he describes himself as “a ministry nerd.” You may have seen him around camp where he is often working behind-the-scenes. Doug is the Ministry Lead at Miracle Camp, a position involving many aspects. With a main objective of ensuring the health and sustainability of the staff that lives and works year-round, he ministers to the staff while working with the Experience Team in responsibility for the guest experience.

In 2009, he finished his Biblical Studies degree while working with a janitorial business and helping church plant where he would eventually join full time staff as an Executive Pastor. He says that “through my years serving and learning at Christ the King Church, I was able to see a bigger vision for ministry than I previously held.”

When Miracle Camp created the new Ministry Lead position, this seemed like a job right down his alley. He was already familiar with the camp as a guest and FEC pastor, and he knew of Miracle Camp’s reputation of quality and hospitality to guests. As another facet of his role, Doug is building the intern program – recruiting, training, and equipping the interns to prepare them for the direction God has for them.

Vision
The purpose of the internship is to give students who aspire to do ministry a year to set a course for their life’s work. Most of the training experienced in college or the field is useful and specific. Many times, students need time to practice, get feedback, learn some basic 21st century life skills and set a course for work and ministry that will sustain them for the long term, which is where the internship comes in. This means discovering gifts and developing a life plan, but it also involves practical aspects like budgeting and calendaring.

In a sense, the internship philosophy is to learn by doing, which means plenty of opportunities for growth, feedback, and discovery. Doug acknowledges that camping ministry is extremely broad, so “we have a huge ministry sandbox to play in here,” offering students who are pursuing vocational ministry the chance to develop their gifts and translate those into a role with experience under their belts. Gaining confidence planning events, working behind the scenes, and working with our wide range of guests here is the perfect environment to learn and grow. In turn, Miracle Camp hopes to be a resource to local churches and ministries who are looking for qualified interns ready to transition into positions of leadership.

The MCRC Summer Camp Staff Alumni include more church leaders across the Midwest than we can keep track of—our Executive Director being one of the many. Our internship, similarly, has a lineage of people who are in cross-cultural missions, local church leadership and para-church ministries. We want to see God grow leaders through our ministry pipeline here at Miracle Camp, and building the internship is a huge part of that happening.

Miracle Camp and Beyond
Each of the intern roles involve some common opportunities such as emceeing an event, coordinating the young adult weekend, taking out trash, cutting grass, snow removal, cleaning, organizing, and completing administrative tasks. Additionally, each internship has an area of focus where they will spend their time working within one of the three teams on the Miracle Camp staff.

Do you or does someone you know have a desire to gain experience in camping ministry? Check out the positions below to see if one of these areas may be a good fit for you!

  • Guest Service & Administration
  • Digital Design
  • Camping & Hospitality

Check back to our website in mid-late March for more information about the intern program!

Doug Shell is a former summer camp prankster like any good church kid. God called him to ministry in high school and he proceeded to spend a decade attending three Bible colleges, earning one degree and a lot of stories to tell as a result. Some of the more fun ones involve being on a team that started a coffee shop and planted a church. He and his wife Melissa have three boys and their family moved to Michigan about a year ago from their hometown of Cincinnati.

A Recipe for Discovery

By | Internships, Life at Camp | No Comments

They both came to Miracle Camp with a desire to learn about culinary arts, hope for direction for their next steps, and with the same name. While they share these qualities, Katie and Kaity ended up here in unique ways, each bringing their own strengths and abilities to the team.

The Details
Although Katie Rice is from Idaho, Miracle Camp was a large part of her history because her family lived in Paw Paw for eight years when her father was the Youth Pastor at Lawton Evangelical Church. Because she came to Miracle Camp for youth group retreats and her family’s close connection to the FEC, her mother discovered the internship from a Facebook post.

Kaity Renzema, on the other hand, grew up 20 minutes away from Miracle Camp in Vicksburg, MI. She came to summer camp as a camper in 2009, and some friends told her about the internship opportunity. At the time she applied, she was looking to obtain culinary skills to use in an overseas mission setting.

The Draw
Katie was finishing high school when she knew she wanted to pursue cooking and baking. As she neared her graduation date, she decided to apply for the internship. Besides the draw to the Christian aspect and positive environment of camp, she knew this internship would be a great opportunity to determine if she truly wanted to pursue cooking and baking.

Due to Kaity’s interest in culinary arts, she prayed about the Miracle Camp internship opportunity after some prior plans did not transpire. Believing the Lord provided this opening, she applied to gain more of a culinary perspective. She knew she needed basic culinary skills, and especially wanted to discover the behind-the-scenes of cooking for large groups of people.

The Discovery
The culinary arts internship has been a beneficial opportunity for these two. Under the direction of the Dining Services Director, Katie says she “increased her knowledge of culinary arts and learned a lot from Beau.” For example, Kaity mentioned gaining knife skills and realizing its necessity to being in the kitchen. Their main responsibilities included but were not limited to preparing and serving guest meals and learning how to lead meal shifts.

Beyond culinary skills, this internship focuses on areas of personal and spiritual growth. As part of the team, the interns learn together in a weekly morning meeting to discuss biblical content, life application to current and future roles, and the status of personal and work-related growth. These conversations enable good dialogue and provide positive challenges in a multitude of areas. Additionally, Katie and Kaity’s participation in a women’s discipleship time brings much value to weekly studies. Kaity notes, “I’ve learned a lot not just about culinary, but about myself and my relationship with God. Plus, I’ve made some really good friends.”

The people at camp play a large role in the internship experience. Guest interaction as well as the staff who are like family have impacted both Katie and Kaity, making the people and the atmosphere of Miracle Camp their favorite parts of the internship. “It’s a joyful and powerful place,” Katie emphasizes.

As the end of their internship nears, Katie and Kaity are in the process of applying to other camps. Kaity always knew she wanted to be involved in ministry, but this program helped her discover her excitement for camping ministry. In addition to camp possibilities, Katie hopes to find a position at a bakery.

Check back here in mid-late March for more details about our 2019 intern program!

Katie Rice is from Nampa, Idaho, and graduated high school just 17 days before moving to Miracle Camp for the internship program. She plans to pursue other camp opportunities or find a position at a bakery closer to home. Katie finds joy in coloring books, reading, baking, and experimenting with new recipes.

Kaity Renzema grew up in Vicksburg, Michigan. Prior to interning, she finished high school and worked in the custodial department at her local library. She plans to pursue other camp ministry opportunities or a job in the area. Kaity loves everything involving musical theatre, playing instruments, reading, board games, and knitting.

The Right Timing

By | Internships, Life at Camp | No Comments

What may have seemed like a delay in plans turned into a perfectly timed adventure. Margaret had eagerly just begun her first summer on Summer Staff in 2017 when three days after arriving to training, she broke her leg. Though she assumed her chance to serve at camp had come to an end, the Lord had different plans. As He continued to place thoughts of camp on her heart, some friends strongly encouraged her to look into the intern program.

Passion

Growing up in an FEC church, Margaret has been coming to camp since 3rd grade. Her love for Miracle Camp and its mission was rooted in her since she first attended and grew deeper through her years as a camper and then Camp Aide. Now, “the intern program has given me the opportunity to serve a place I deeply love,” she says. Most importantly she loves being “a part of the mission of furthering the gospel at camp throughout all seasons.”

Growth

The intern program was the next right step for Margaret in a variety of ways. After graduating from Taylor in 2017 with degrees in Christian Ministry and Biblical Literature and working at Upland Community Church for a year, she was not sure of her next steps. The opportunity to join the intern program supplied possibilities to explore different potential career areas while also working a job that she loved. Gaining experience in various areas is a significant component of the program. Specifically, Margaret has grown in her hospitality skills through working in the office, with guest groups, programmed events, and running activities. She loves “being able to help further the overall mission of Miracle Camp by taking care of the smaller, behind the scenes things.”

The Right Timing

Breaking her leg appeared to be a devastating turn of events; little did she know what awaited her only a year later. Margaret stepping into the intern program was a matter of God’s timing. In this setting, she is gaining experience in ministry with people and various kinds of work. In addition, she says, “I’m learning more about myself and my Savior. I’m surrounded by people who truly care about me and how I’m growing, both as a person and in my faith.” Growing in these ways aided her in the decision to stay for a second year in the internship. Staying for a second year is beneficial for multiple reasons. She adds, “Rather than facing another learning curve, knowing how things already work frees you up to grow deeper in the skill sets you’ve already started developing.”

Margaret’s story is a testament to how God works despite circumstances and uses them in ways even better than we can imagine.

Check back here in mid-late March for more details about our 2019 intern program!

Margaret Gruendyke is from Upland, IN, though her family currently lives in Whittier, CA. She graduated in 2017 from Taylor University with degrees in Christian Ministry and Biblical Literature. Before beginning the internship program, she worked as the Youth Ministry Associate at Upland Community Church. Margaret plans to complete a second-year internship at Miracle Camp. She is passionate about American History, all things British, books, baseball, and baking.

Saying “Yes”

By | Internships, Life at Camp | No Comments

“Say yes,” was a piece of advice I received from a friend, and it was the one thing that made all the difference as I moved from Texas to Michigan and adjusted to life at Miracle Camp. When transitioning into a new place, say yes to dinner or game night invitations, yes to meeting new people, yes to uncomfortable situations – because eventually, it will be worth it.

Through a series of events and God’s timing, I discovered Miracle Camp online and the opportunity to be a Guest Services intern. My undergraduate degree is in Christian Ministry, and I had just completed my master’s degree in Professional Writing. I was interested in camping ministry, and after setting foot on campus for my internship interview, God made it abundantly clear that this was my next step. As I said yes to living in a new area and taking on a new role, I formed lasting friendships, made great memories, grew in my relationship with God, and much more.

Yes to the New

I was drawn to the different facets of camping ministry this internship provided, but I knew this experience would prove useful whether I ended up in camping ministry or a different field. Saying yes to this internship did not simply mean gaining a new job. It meant being open to the new direction God was taking me, learning what it means to be fully present in a place, no matter how temporary. Through encouragement from others, I decided to dig in to everything this opportunity held, even if the newness was uncomfortable.

Yes to the Challenges

One of the hardest, yet best, challenges in this internship was getting out of my comfort zone. Before this, I would not have imagined being able to run every position on the zipline, lead groups through initiatives, host guests, and write blog posts for Miracle Camp on a weekly basis. For my internship experience to be the most effective, it was critical to step outside my box of familiarity. Even when I was uncertain, I said yes to being open to learn from expertly trained staff, and through specific training, critiques, and learning experiences, I gained a confidence I previously lacked.

Yes to the Rewards

Various challenges and these new experiences have led to a multitude of rewards. You not only build an amazing community amongst the staff, but you form friendships and connect with guests. This internship equips you with skills to prepare you for the future. The staff took my education and experience into consideration, and they gave me projects that fit my interests and abilities while simultaneously challenging me.

Following this internship, I will begin working at a women’s ministry called Revive Our Hearts, using my knowledge of writing and hosting events, as well as a multitude of other skills I gained during my time at Miracle Camp.

I’m glad I said yes. “Yes” opened the doors for friendships, opportunities, fun, and a new career. “Yes” gave me a passion for the ministry of Miracle Camp and they will be a forever family for me. More than anything, I said yes to following God’s lead, and that is the best kind of “yes.”

Be sure to check back here in mid-late March to find out details for our 2019 intern program!

Micayla Greathouse grew up in Hays, KS and lived in the panhandle of Texas before moving to Michigan for the intern program in Spring 2018. She graduated in 2014 with her bachelor’s in Christian Ministry and completed her master’s in Professional Writing through Liberty University’s online program in April 2018. This spring she will join Revive Our Hearts, a women’s ministry located in nearby Niles, MI as a Publishing & Events Project Manager. She has a deep love for all things Michigan, donuts, sunrises, and road trips.

Be Part of Something Bigger!

By | Giving, Life at Camp | No Comments
Oakwood Chapel. The heartbeat of Miracle Camp. The spiritual gathering space for each camper, be it youth during Summer Camps and Ice Camps, church groups throughout the year or families during retreats. Inside this sanctuary is where fun icebreakers introduce new friends with laughs of joy, fellowship occurs as groups grow closer to the Lord together and lives are changed as messages impact listening ears with His grace and unconditional love.
Much more than a building, the chapel is a space where God works and people respond. Our mission of facilitating life change by helping people grow closer to God is transmitted from the chapel stage. A critical tool for the each chapel session is our audio and visual technology. High quality audio and video elements are essential to providing the best experience for our guests. While we are thankful for our current setup, it has aged beyond a normal life cycle and is overdue for a replacement.
Thankfully our time of need has been met with a great end of year opportunity. The Lord has provided a matching gift opportunity for the end of 2018, enabling a contribution toward the chapel audio and video needs to go even further!
In today’s fast paced culture having adequate audio and video for a gathering space ensures that the message is prioritized and distractions are minimized. Giving our highly skilled guest speakers and bands the right tools to play their role allows us to continue bringing in gifted communicators. In our team’s effort to be good stewards of the prayer and planning invested in our chapel gatherings, we are convinced this is the single biggest replacement ask we could have to immediately impact ministry in 2019!
A new audio and video setup in Oakwood Chapel will provide our team with the tools needed to transport our guests from a world full of distractions and interruptions to a peaceful environment where they are free to focus, worship, and open their hearts and minds to God. Please give before the end of the year using the link below!

Altars of Remembrance

By | Life at Camp | No Comments

“For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” – John 1:16

Grace upon grace – the phrase that encapsulates our staff’s sentiments, particularly as we reflect on and give thanks for everything this past year.

Miracle Camp is like a winter wonderland this time of year. Walking along the paths, fresh snow crunches and buildings glisten. The stark white atmosphere emits an excitement in the air. Just a month ago, camp was flooded with color on the trees, and crisp days made for perfect campfire nights. Only a couple months prior, boats hummed across the lake and campers clustered in Center Circle, indicating summer in full swing.

The transformation of seasons and the bustle of people in and out of our facility provides us the prime opportunity to see God’s faithfulness remain constant.

Several changes have occurred this year that we celebrate with thanks. For the first time, we hired two culinary arts interns, which is a new addition to the internship program. Many upgrades have been made to our facilities, including a new roof that previously leaked for years and fixing the drywall damage as a result. Our maintenance intern, Wyatt, articulates his excitement about many projects in process, such as upgrading all the wi-fi access points, “adding additional ones for more coverage throughout camp,” and replacing the fluorescent lights in most buildings with LED lights.

Evidences of God’s grace are everywhere – in the changes implemented and events that transpire. In the meaningful conversations over coffee in the lodge. In the smiles of guests as they express their joy after “a wonderful weekend.” In the tears prompted by a heart-opening chapel message. In the friendships formed after running up and down the basketball court. In the blessing of camaraderie over delicious food. These seemingly small moments form the big picture of why Miracle Camp exists.

We are immensely grateful for the life-changing moments God facilitates here, and none of it is of our own doing. Our desire is that in every dish washed, in all the beds made, in each light fixed, in every detail planned and activities ran – may we glorify Him through it all.

As we give thanks, we are most thankful for Jesus Christ and the abundant life He gives. Because of Him, we are thankful for His church we serve, the ministry that happens here, and for the readers and people connected to Miracle Camp who help us give God the glory. It’s all grace upon grace.

Season of Thanks

By | Keeping Faith, Life at Camp, Projects | No Comments

God is doing amazing things at Miracle Camp. Each season and every single year His faithfulness is evident here, and especially in 2018 as Evergreen has transformed month by month. Approaching the holiday season, we are very thankful for the continued and ongoing progress through the service of our partner churches and volunteers!

After finishing the concrete pouring just in time before winter, the team looks forward to moving inside to being framing and seeing the inside come to life. To see more details about the completed work in Evergreen, check out this post. In late September, a group of volunteers helped with the exterior, and the underground plumbing was in the works. This allowed for the building to get closed up before the cold season, which set the groundwork for the progress currently happening.

While it is exciting to look forward, this Thanksgiving season reminds us of God’s faithfulness in 2018 through the fulfillment of our $300,000 match gift. We celebrate that success and continue to rely on God’s steady provision. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to give to this project and be a part of the continued ministry that will happen for future generations. Whether you are a former Summer Staff member or a Miracle Camp veteran with deep roots in FEC, an attendee of events or someone who recently heard of our ministry, we invite you to partner with us! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, and we ask that you consider this project in your end-of-year giving plans as well.

Check out the video below to see the status of Evergreen and current updates! We look forward to watching God work throughout the project in many ways.

More Than Seasonal

By | Ice Camp, Life at Camp, Staff | No Comments

Snow tubing. Worship. Coffee. Gold Rush in the snow. And dodgeball. Lots of it.

The end of the semester and holidays are approaching, which also means it’s almost time for Ice Camps! For ten weekends beginning in January, youth groups come to these winter retreats to bond over great fun, worship, and biblical teaching. These weekends are an exciting way to help students grow closer to God and each other as they have fun and experience life-changing chapel sessions and activities.

Our returning summer staff members help make Ice Camps possible. Not only do they serve seasonally in the summers, but they view their roles as more than jobs by coming back repeatedly. They choose to serve completely voluntarily as they give up their time and gas money to spend weekends here during the winter season. The relationships they formed over summer camps with each other and the other staff are a large part of their desire to return, as well as their commitment to the ministry of Miracle Camp. Our staff, as well as the groups who come to Ice Camp, are immensely blessed by their presence.

These returners get to reconnect with their summer staff coworkers while making hot chocolate and running snow tubing in the woods. Other ways they serve are by crafting hot drinks in the coffee shop to warm up from the cold, constructing unique creations over conversation in the craft shack, and facilitating basketball, dodgeball, and volleyball in the gym. Their friendly faces provide a welcoming presence at the front desk and in the Trading Post. Not only do they get to laugh with the groups as they lead games and activities, but they have the opportunity to participate in the work God is doing in each student’s life.

While our summer camps focus on each camper’s personal relationship with Jesus, Ice Camps are a time for students to be a part of group discipleship. Our staff plays a key role in letting youth leaders relax, have fun with students, and grow in Christ together. We have opportunities for every returning summer staff member, whether it is indoors, outdoors, behind-the-scenes, or on the stage.

Please check your schedule with the weekend dates listed and stay tuned to your inbox!

JH/SH 1: Dec. 30 – Jan. 1

JH 1: Jan. 4 – 6

SH 1: Jan. 11 – 13

JH/SH 2: Jan. 18 – 20

SH 2: Jan. 25 – 27

JH 2: Feb. 1 – 3

SH 3: Feb. 8 – 10

JH/SH 3: Feb. 15 – 17

MS/JH 1: Feb. 22 – 24

JH/SH 4: Mar. 1 – 3

For more information about Ice Camp, click the button below!

Building the Kingdom: Work that is Lasting, Eternal, and Good

By | Life at Camp, Projects, Staff | No Comments

Every person has an opportunity to portray God’s love in a unique manner. He has gifted everyone differently for a purpose, and when those gifts are applied, God’s glory and kindness emanates through His creation. Those who seek to glorify Him through their talents and abilities as they serve not only demonstrate His light and love, but also receive joy that comes from participating in Kingdom work.

This is the epitome of volunteers at Miracle Camp and why we believe they are so valuable. From the paint on the walls to the flowers in the ground to the shingles on the roof, volunteers have played a part in nearly every aspect of our facility. This means that the kids who attend summer camp, guests that book a weekend, or families at our programmed events get to experience the end result of what was once a volunteer project.

Volunteers contribute largely to make Miracle Camp what it is today. Their astounding work is what allows us to operate at our highest potential. Volunteers fall in the same category as our maintenance and housekeeping staff in that they are the hands and feet of the unseen, hard work. The work they do is rewarding in a multitude of ways. Not only do our staff and guests benefit from their contributions, but volunteers themselves get to see the positive changes that happen because of them. Several times a year, volunteers come repeatedly because they enjoy the opportunity to serve. We have those who visit regularly to help with landscaping, maintenance, or any projects they can find. Also, many of our Summer Staff members come back to volunteer for Ice Camps, just for the sheer joy of participating in the mission of Miracle Camp.

Our volunteers remind us of Paul’s words in Scripture: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (2:4-7).

This mindset is what our volunteers assume as they exemplify Christ, sacrificing their time and energy to be a part of the big picture of what God is doing through Miracle Camp. They selflessly give and do what they do for others and to glorify God. Hundreds of guests are in and out of our campus every month. As volunteers use their gifts and abilities, their impact goes deeper than many realize.

Whether it is utilizing your green thumb in landscaping, operating your handywork skills, or applying your knowledge of computer networking, there are many practical ways you can get involved. As the Evergreen Project comes to a close over the coming winter months, the specific construction skills listed below are in high demand. Remember to click the link at the bottom of the list to sign up for our volunteer database, and stay tuned to your inbox for work crews organizing on weekends coming soon!

  • Concrete forming/Finishing
  • Drywall hanging/Finishing
  • Cabinetry/Countertop installation
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • HVAC
  • Framing
  • Roofing
  • Finish carpentry
  • Painting
  • Landscaping
  • Spring cleaning
  • Leaves/Stick pickup
  • Pressure washing
  • Computer Networking/IT
  • Welding
  • Other applicable skills

If you are interested in volunteering with us, click the button below and fill out the form to sign up!

The Men Who Deserve the Most

By | Life at Camp, Staff | No Comments

If a light bulb goes out, it’s not out for long. Does a sink need fixed? It’s repaired in no time. Our maintenance team ensures that Miracle Camp is operating at its possible best. When our facilities are running smoothly, no one notices the work it takes to make that happen. Our maintenance staff is intentionally unseen and unheard so that our place and the work God is doing through it can be highlighted.

Not only does this staff fix problems that arise, but they do the prep work to prevent any foreseeable complications. They work quickly and efficiently, and their contribution to the Miracle Camp staff is priceless. They are some of the hardest workers, and what they do on a daily basis is of equal importance to any other job here. Essentially, they are the army behind the scenes, making the wheels of Miracle Camp turn.

In addition to the tasks of maintenance work, they are large facilitators of growth. They discover ways to enhance the functions of camp. They ensure that the appearance of the campus be in top shape. Our maintenance team recognizes the gift that God has given us in our accommodations. They pour into projects, such as Evergreen, so that we can reach our full potential and strive to glorify God in every action.

Paul talks about the different kinds of work and gifts that the Holy Spirit gives in 1 Corinthians 12. Our maintenance staff exemplifies their gifts of hard work and serving, and the end result is seeing “the same God at work” in them just as much as our other staff. The maintenance men as a whole have been gifted with skills and keen abilities, but even amongst that team, each individual has specific qualities that allows them to work well. As they wholeheartedly do their jobs, they make it possible for guests to be fully present and in tune with what God is doing in their time at camp.

We are extremely grateful for each of these men and the work they do. Though challenging labor is often required, they dive in without complaint, all the while embodying Christ. God continues to use Miracle Camp, and we recognize that He does so through the work of our maintenance staff. We would especially like to thank Sam Short for his many years of service. Though he is retiring, his contributions to our team do not go unnoticed. It has been a blessing to have him on Miracle Camp staff, and he will be missed!

Serving in the area of maintenance is a great way to get involved with Miracle Camp. Stay tuned for more information next week on practical ways to use your God-given abilities!