Once again, missions and psychology students from The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville joined forces in a unique inter-disciplinary ministry project in Macon, MS, July 9-16. “Mission Camp Macon” at Lake Forest Ranch is unique in a variety of ways. Begun fourteen years ago, the camp represents Lake Forest Ranch’s outreach to its own community. Each morning, nearly three hundred local teenagers arrived at the camp for sports competition and Bible devotions. In the meantime, teams of workers from the camp travel to several area churches to lead another three hundred in Kid’s Camp, a vacation Bible school for younger children. The week not only provides solid biblical ministry to the students in one of Mississippi’s poorest counties, but also a rich opportunity for BCF students to participate in and study multi-ethnic, multi-cultural ministry done the right way.
“This camp provides a great hands-on experience for psychology students,” explained BCF Psychology Professor Kristy Ford. “Many of the kids represent family backgrounds and life circumstances that contribute to emotional and behavioral challenges. BCF students have the opportunity to observe these challenges and interact in one-on-one conversations that encourage positive interpersonal connections.”
While psychology majors engaged the camp participants on a personal level, missions majors obtain a much broader perspective, observing the camp itself and how it functioned. “This project really is unique,” stated BCF Theology Division Chair and Missions Professor Rich Elligson. “While all of our mission trips involve ministering to people directly, Mission Camp Macon allows us to step back a bit and study the bigger picture as well. We spend quite a bit of time identifying objectives and evaluating strategy. It’s not just a camp…it’s a class.”
According to Ford, “That’s not to say the BCF students involved did not enjoy the week.” Even with ministry responsibilities and classroom work, there was still time to enjoy the pool, the lake, the zip line, and everything else Lake Forest Ranch has to offer. “We are so pleased with the relationship Lake Forest Ranch and The Baptist College of Florida have developed,” said LFR Executive Director Rich Malone. “BCF students have proven themselves to be well equipped for this kind of project. They are passionate about their faith, sound in their doctrine, competent in their abilities, and eager to engage our campers with the gospel of Christ that Mission Camp Macon is known for,” he added. “And besides that, they are a whole lot of fun to have around.”
For more information on the exciting mission opportunities and the psychology and missions degrees offered at The Baptist College of Florida, please contact the Admissions Office at 850-263-3261 ext. 460.