Annual Executive Director’s Report

2014 Executive Director’s Report – Rev. Mark T. Peters

“I LOVE that camp!” 

I first learned about Luther Point Bible Camp this spring while I served as interim pastor at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in Hudson (a member congregation). I learned even more about the camp when I chaperoned my oldest son for his confirmation camp at Good Earth Village Camp in southern Minnesota. I heard a familiar refrain from people there who had a Luther Point experience – “I love that camp!” Not just love, but LOVE! Counselors, campers, and families alike were eager to share a deep and abiding affection for our camp and the difference it made in their lives. My camp experience growing up was not with Luther Point but I absolutely understood the appreciation they were expressing.

 “I would not be the person I am today without CAMP!”

I would not be the person I am today without “CAMP!” My Christian identity and vocation are profoundly shaped by camping ministry in outdoor settings. My family attended family camp at Luther Point in August with members from Mt Zion Lutheran Church in Hudson. My children’s experience echoed this same positive refrain.  It is out of a debt of gratitude which I can never repay that fosters the joy with which I accept this worthy challenge as the Executive Director of Luther Point.

Emerging models of retreat and camp ministry – “Subject to Change.”

I took a year off from my college studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (my hometown) to create a jazz/vocal combo. Along with my brother, Eric, we provided lead vocals and secured a patent for our group name, “Subject to Change.” We dreamt that soon we would be performing at Carnegie Hall – but we never did. Although my brother and I are still regularly involved in various musical endeavors, the name has faded into memory (but still remains as a valid patent). If you are wondering where I’m going with this story, here is the relevance – the one constant in emerging models of camp and retreat ministry is change.

“No one of us knows as much as all of us know.” (General George Patton)

I start out here at Luther Point realizing that I know just a smidgen of what I need to know in order to provide leadership during this important time of transition. As is often the case, the “one mouth/two ears” rule applies – it is critical to listen carefully to learn what you all know that I don’t know that I need to know in order to make sound and informed decisions. In short, this means I must:

  1. a) gain understanding of what is “subject to change” and needs to change (LISTEN)
  2. b) not fix things if they are not broken (leave well enough alone)

Implementation – putting “flesh on the bones” and living into the future of our Missional Strategic Plan (finalized Oct. 19, 2013)

Luther Point has in place a carefully vetted and clear Strategic Missional Plan. It is intended to be a living and breathing document. Together with the Board and staff it provides a compass heading towards accomplishing specific goals. As we live into this future we will no doubt need to create, revise and reprioritize a corresponding work plan with measurable benchmarks and objectives in order to put “flesh on the bones.” Leadership from the staff and Board must be grace-filled, adaptive, strategic, visionary, relational, and intrinsically driven to fulfill our core missional values. As a church born of the reformation it is only fitting that God’s living, transformative, and dynamic Word would be ceaselessly reforming each of us and making things new here at Luther Point.

The starting point for the future of this camp is “right relationship” with God, neighbor, and God’s creation.

As I begin serving you as the new Executive Director at Luther Point Bible Camp I am grateful to build upon such a strong foundation laid by Term Director, Jesse Weiss (who completed his term at the end of September) and the other staff who have been faithful stewards of the resources entrusted to them. He forged an exemplary summer camping experience with Program Director, Kristen Hussong, in order to assure a wonderful summer camp experience for so many children and families. I am delighted that Kristen has chosen to continue serving as our Program Director for 2015. I wish to personally thank Jesse and Kristen (and the staff they hired for summer), for maintaining the highest level of programming and assuring that the campers always come first! I express the same thanks to Rachael and Ryan in our camp office for their hospitality, wisdom, and grace in welcoming me here to be part of this team! BRAVO!

“…by God’s grace, together we have what we need.”

The first congregation I was called to serve was in rural southwestern Minnesota. The mission statement for this synod reads in part, “… by God’s grace, together we have what we need.” I profoundly believe in this statement which has served as a guiding principle to frame my outlook in many ministry settings. As I complete my first month as the new Executive Director of Luther Point Bible Camp, this statement rings especially true.

Prayer: Loving God of beginnings, endings, and all the places in between. Together – with you behind us, in front of us, and beside us – with you surrounding us with your love – we thank you that you provide us all we need to meet the challenges of the journey (the changes) before us. AMEN

With appreciation for your warm welcome, prayers, and steadfast energy and financial support invested in this life-changing camping ministry!

Rev. Mark T. Peters