A Request to Tennessee Baptists from Highland Park Baptist Church, Chattanooga

Dear Church Representative,


Since 66 years ago, our church owns a 100+acre children/youth camp called “Camp Joy.”  In early March, our camp was ravaged by tornadoes.  Some of the leadership of our camp encouraged me to post the following message here on my blog that was sent to TBC pastors:


Please help us in getting the word out about Camp Joy’s need for donations of time (skilled and unskilled labor), money, food, equipment, and building materials. The camp has benefited many boys and girls over the years and we, with God’s help, want the camp to continue on to supply even more kids a great camp experience and to give them the good news of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Please do whatever you can to get the announcement below or something similar to your church members-perhaps in your church bulletins. They can also “like” Camp Joy on Facebook (CampJoytn.com) to help spread the word. As stated below, the “Makeover” has begun already with the major work being done between June 1 and July 4, 2012.


Also, the Camp Director, Mr. Tim Walterbach, would love the opportunity to speak to any of your church administrators or staff about Camp Joy, the rebuild, or your possible involvement with the camp. The camp offers such a great fun experience for kids and also brings them the good news about our precious Lord Jesus Christ. Please call Tim Walterbach at 918-232-8186 if you would like to arrange a time for him to speak to your group or if you need more information about Camp Joy. If you have questions about this solicitation of your help-I, Sherry Plunkett, will be happy to speak with you. I can also arrange for you to receive a photo referencing Camp Joy that you may wish to put in some of your printed materials. Contact Sherry Plunkett at 901 486 4920. Here below is the actual announcement you may wish to use to spread the word. Feel free to vary this announcement some according to your needs for space. This is just a suggested printed version of the announcement you may use at your convenience.


“Camp Joy Needs Your Help” Camp Joy, located on Hunter Road, has given fun and free Christian camp experiences to over 128,000 boys and girls in the Chattanooga area since 1946, with over 28,000 of those kids making decisions to follow Christ. The recent tornadoes severely damaged some of the camp buildings. Some members of the “Extreme Makeover-Home Edition” team and the Covenant Values Foundation are helping to rebuild and transform the camp. By God’s provision and with the help of many local people, businesses and others from around the country the camp will be getting an “Extreme Camp Makeover.” Planning and work has already begun with the big kickoff scheduled for June 1, 2012 and a “Reveal and Celebration” scheduled for July 4, 2012. “Would you like to volunteer time, money, food, equipment or building materials?” Please go to “extremecampmakeover.com” for more details and to sign up–or call Blake Mullins of the “Extreme Build Team” at 832-347-9598.


2 Responses to A Request to Tennessee Baptists from Highland Park Baptist Church, Chattanooga

  1. Joshua Harris says:

    I have an article I’d like your input on, just didn’t know how to start a new post/thread here. Thank you for the help,

    Why the Leadership Movement Is Leaving Your Church Leaderless
    by Mike Breen
    Leadership is one of the most over-used and overwrought topics in Christian ministry today. Yet for all the books, blogs, and conferences, there are two staggering realities we must come to grips with: First, while most churches believe they have leadership development programs, in actuality they have programs that recruit and train volunteers.

    A volunteer is someone who executes someone else’s vision. A leader is someone with a vision of his or her own.
    In truth, there are often only a few leaders in the average church, and everyone else is simply executing their vision. It’s the “genius with a thousand helpers” paradigm Jim Collins uses to describe organizations that are good, but never become great. This is the leadership movement widely espoused in the church today.

    Don’t Miss
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    Piper: Lowering Standards for Leadership Roles
    Let’s be very clear: A volunteer pipeline is not the same thing as a pipeline that multiplies leaders. These are two different things. You need both. Currently, most churches have only one.

    I come across thousands of church leaders each year — and while I’d certainly not put everyone in these two broad categories, when it comes to the topic of church leadership, many fall into one of two camps:

    People who want to multiply Christian leaders but don’t really know how to get them.
    People who believe their vision is big enough for everyone and don’t want more leaders. They really just want volunteers.
    Helping the first lot is easy enough. Being a disciple means being a learner of all the things Jesus was — and Jesus could multiply leaders. Scripture outlines truly practical and replicable models for church leadership you can learn to put into practice in your context to begin identifying, training, and releasing kingdom leaders to do God’s work in the world. I’ve done it, and I’ve seen other people do it all over the world. It can be done and done with incredible results.

    But then there’s that second group — those who, in their more honest moments, would seek not Kingdom leaders but clock punchers to execute the vision of one…I have to wonder if that’s actually where most Christian leaders land.
    Why wouldn’t most pastors want more leaders in their church communities?
    I think there are probably many answers to this question (don’t know how to train them, afraid of releasing and relinquishing some control, unsure how to manage resources against their personal agenda, etc). But I suspect the big answer is this: At the end of the day, what most pastors want (and have been trained to want!) is minions to execute the most important vision of all. Their own. In doing this, they effectively kill people’s ability to get a vision of their own.

    Never mind that this approach is antithetical to the Gospel.

    Christian leadership is about listening for vision from God within community and then being given the authority and power to execute that vision — to take new Kingdom ground. That’s the birthright of every Christian…to hear the voice of their Father. But in the way we do leadership, suddenly it’s as if we are pre-Reformation where only the select and the elite are given this privilege. And let’s be clear: Our ego has a lot to do with this.

    Now I’m not suggesting we shift to a paradigm full of chiefs and no Indians. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t times where we leverage our collective abilities to deliver on a central vision. I’m saying that there are many places in your community where the Kingdom needs to be advanced. And if you want to take that territory, you’re going to need more than just a cadre of volunteers. You have to learn to operate in a model that releases leaders to take those fronts, or you’re going to stand still. You may think your vision is big enough to fill all those cracks and crevices, but I’m telling you…it’s not.

    Of course, churches need broad, over-arching vision to be cast. There’s an art to casting vision that allows room for others within that vision. And strict volunteerism isn’t that.

    A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about a hypothetical scenario in which Peter, James, Lydia, Priscilla, and Paul walk into a staff meeting, asking to be put to work in our church. Not sure what to do, we assign some of the greatest missional leaders the world has ever seen to be a small group leader, lead usher and bass player at the Sunday morning gig. (You can read the whole post by clicking here). As if this is the best way to utilize these kinds of leaders!

    Here’s a second staggering reality: I don’t think we’d know what to do with missional leaders if a bunch of them were given to us. Our vision for church has been so captured by the place and space of the four walls of Sunday mornings that we’ve bought into the belief that it’s the only place where leadership lies.

    Are our development programs about releasing leaders to the missional frontier? Or more likely, are they about recruiting volunteers to keep the machine of the church running?
    To be sure, we should attend to the organization of the church, for it is a significant thing when the scattered church gathers. But as the Church stares precipitous decline in the face—as we look to re-embrace the missio Dei—we must learn again the art that Jesus exhibited: the task of multiplying missional leaders and releasing them into the cracks and crevices of society where there is little-to-no Gospel presence.

    I’ve heard many church leaders say, “We want to be known more for our sending capacity than our seating capacity.” I’ve met very few who truly embrace that reality and know how to do it. I can’t help but think sometimes that all the talk of Christian leadership in churches is a bit like re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. You’re expending energy — maybe even accomplishing something — but it’s not changing the overall trajectory of where this ship is headed.

    What we are talking about is a new kind of skill-set for leaders.
    That’s what the future of the church requires. It’s what the past reveals to us as well.

    What does the church of today and the future need?
    Leaders who are disciples first and foremost.
    Lots of leaders within any given church community who are “allowed,” encouraged, trained and empowered to hear from the Lord for a vision for impacting the world outside the four walls of the church building and given the authority and the power to do something with this vision.
    Leaders who know how to train and release everyday, normal, unpaid people into their Kingdom destiny. In other words, the skill to multiply leaders. Leaders who can lead by first making disciples themselves.
    In my opinion, this is where the church of the future lies. My worry is that, in the culture of the genius with a thousand helpers, the prevailing culture of the upkeep of the machine will keep us from the real task of true Biblical leadership development and release.

  2. Joshua, were you wanting us to discuss this article openly in this thread, or do you want to discuss it privately?

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