St. Olaf CollegeLilly Program for Lives of Worth and ServiceSt. Olaf College

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About the Lilly Grant Program

Lilly Grant Program for Lives of Worth and Service
Bruce Dalgaard, Program Director
Old Main Annex 3
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
Northfield, MN 55057

507-646-3626 Fax

Emily Moen

One thing that I have always admired about Luther Park Bible Camp in Chetek, Wisconsin, is the strong connection it has with the 132 congregations which own it. A way in which this reciprocal commitment manifests itself is through the attendance of pastors and youth workers at confirmation camps. Each week, a new group of church workers moves into the Shalom center, ready to participate in camp activities alongside the counselors and junior high campers. I was blessed with the opportunity to act as camp chaplain for a few weeks, and my duties included planning and executing worship services and providing hospitality for the pastors and youth directors. This provided me the opportunity to talk with the pastors in a relaxed setting about their own vocational journeys. It was inspiring to hear their varied tales of calling. God works through many avenues to bring us to a place where our gifts can be best used. Seeing these adults playing capture the flag, helping to lead energetic camp-style worship services, engaging in conversation with young kids at meals, and eschewing robes and suits for blue jeans and t-shirts really helped me to see a concrete example of church workers having a direct and positive impact on the future of the church.

As I spent more and more time with these wonderful role models, I began to envision my own life in the church. The pastors and youth directors came in many molds—tall and intimidating, short and round, shy, boisterous, serious, quiet, male, female, married, single, parents—and all shared a common call to ministry in the church. The mission statement of Luther Park states that: “Luther Park Bible Camp, in partnership with Lutheran Congregations, ministers in a natural setting as Jesus did, reaching out and touching people of all ages with the good news of salvation.” Discipleship is all about being a role model, and working to empower people to take charge of their own spiritual life. My boss Mary likes to remind the camp staff frequently that “faith is passed through the generations” and we need to help kids to “catch faith”. My career plans are still being determined, and the call stories of pastors at camp have confirmed that it is entirely likely that my life will include some detours and unexpected twists. In the end, however, my job at Luther Park has provided me with a deeper understanding of discipleship and involvement in the life of the church.