Many families are struggling in this bad economic time because they have lost jobs, or have been cut back in hours. But, it is not a time to give up! It can be a time of revisiting what is really important in life; a time to pull together as a family; and a time to “reconnect!”
As this year’s Family Camp team was looking at doing year 27 of their 5-day event for 2009, they considered “hanging it up” and considering it a good run. This was especially so when in mid-year planning the staff had dwindled to about half its size because of job-related and other unforeseen circumstances. But, those remaining pledged to carry on, restructure what could be offered without compromising the program, and see where it would go. They were only expecting about half as many families to register anyway (because of the economic times), so half the staff should be able to handle it… right?
It is apparent that God has already blessed the decision, because by mid-May, the camp was filled (for the upcoming mid-July event!) At least 25 NEW people had registered, which is a record in itself! Sure, the event is short-staffed this year, but not really because it is obvious God is in it!
So, why this sudden up-turn in family-related ministries in these tough economic times? We can’t say for certainty, but we’re thinking it has come down to “choices!” Many families have been used to spending money… on big vacations trips, new “toys”, sending their kids to various kinds of summer camps, etc. But, we’re suddenly in a new time… vacations, new toys, and individual camps may not be an option this year! So, what is the alternative? Perhaps doing something closer to home; something that their whole family can do together; and something worthwhile and fun that can still be a memory-maker! Perhaps a church “on its toes” has offered to help a struggling family be able to attend such a retreat or event together.
That made me start thinking that HELPING families be able to take advantage of this type of event is a “ministry” in itself. If a family is struggling and stressed about their financial situation (because of no fault of their own) what greater blessing is there than to give them a gift of this time away together! Whether you are a person in a financial position where you can be the “gift-giver”, or whether you are part of a planning/visioning team at your home church where you can take on such a ministry, I would encourage you to do so. Kind of like the “paying it forward” concept… if you can make this possible for a family today, perhaps they can make it possible for another family in the future 🙂