A partnership may be defined as two entities working in cooperation with one another to accomplish a specific goal. Once again, partnerships played an important part in the summer missions activities at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville. First, the college partnered with Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, Mississippi to provide counselors and workers for their weeklong Mission Camp Macon, July 8-15. To accomplish this goal, the Missions program of the college, led by BCF Theology Division Chair Rich Elligson, partnered with the Psychology program, led by BCF General Education Division Chair Kristy Ford, to form an interdisciplinary course for college credit.
“This is the fourth summer in a row that we have taken a group to Camp Macon,” Elligson explained. “And every year, our involvement gets bigger and better.” Lake Forest Ranch, located in one of the poorest counties in the US, was initiated fifteen years ago as an intentional outreach to the rural community surrounding it. Each morning, nearly 300 local teenagers poured into the camp for a variety of team activities, followed by Bible study and discipleship. While the teens were heading in, groups of workers left the camp to carry out children’s Vacation Bible Schools in eight locations around the county. As a result, BCF students had the opportunity to participate in both aspects of the camp’s ministry.
“Students in our Missions program look at the camp’s ministry from a broad perspective, taking note of overall objectives, logistics, strategic planning, and follow-up,” Elligson explained. “At the same time, our Psychology students observe from a much more narrow perspective, looking at individual participants and the challenges they face on a personal level.” Each afternoon, the students met together for teaching time and evaluation. That is when the value of the interdisciplinary partnership was most profound. Ford explained, “The value of this camp is that our students get practical experience in their own area of study, while also learning from the viewpoint of another BCF program. When considering the foundation of their Christian worldview, Missions majors and Psychology majors may have more in common than they previously realized, as their gifts and calling are ultimately focused on reaching people for Christ.”
Additionally, the partnership yielded tremendous results for the Lake Forest Ranch and Mission Camp Macon. “We love having The Baptist College of Florida students and professors here each year,” stated Lake Forest Ranch Director Rich Malone. “Our three camp objectives are to introduce young people to Christ; to develop spiritual leaders; and to build bridges between members of our ministry community. The BCF students help us to meet all three of those objectives. It’s a great partnership.”
BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen agrees, “Partnerships like these give BCF students unique opportunities to learn about ministry while performing it. Whether they are in the middle of a metropolitan area or a fifty-thousand acre forest like Camp Macon, BCF students are “Changing the World through the Unchanging Word.®”
For more information on the exciting mission and psychology degrees offered at The Baptist College of Florida or information on the upcoming Missions Conference, please contact 850-263-3261 ext. 460.