By Jason Wilkie

Executive Director, Camp Silaom

Kingdom impact at Camp Siloam

By Jason Wilkie

Executive Director, Camp Silaom

In October, I was reminded of the legacy of Kingdom impact here at Camp Siloam. A man named Phil Fincher stopped by the camp office. Phil is a retired attorney from Naples, Florida, who came to Camp Siloam for the first time in 1979, when he was in the seventh grade. Phil didn’t want to be at church camp. His parents made him come to Faith Week with H.D McCarty and University Baptist Church in Fayetteville. After arriving here his first time, Phil thought, “I gotta find a way out of here.”  

Then, he heard Manley Beasley, Sr. speak and the Holy Spirit got Phil’s attention. The next day Phil heard Tom Elliff speak on Hebrews 11 and he was a broken junior high boy. In the camp office, Phil shared his story with me, remembering with deep emotion what God had done for him. Phil was saved at his first Faith Week, a special week of camp that ran for 40 years at Camp Siloam. On this beautiful September afternoon, Phil asked if he could just walk around camp and remember what God has done. I said, “Absolutely!”  

Phil said, “Kids today need places like this. Places where they can put away distractions, enjoy nature and meet with God.”  We agree. We believe camp is just as powerful a tool for churches to share the power of the Gospel today as it was 40 years ago for Phil.  

In the summer of 2022, we hope the powerful story of the Apostle Paul’s life helps campers understand God’s mission for the world and the Great Commission.  Each year Camp Siloam uses Scripture to describe one of three concepts: 1) the identity we have in Jesus Christ and His Gospel, 2) we are created for His glory and His purposes and 3) God’s mission for the world.  In 2015 and 2018, our theme, story and teaching were missional. Campers responded with incredible commitments to missions and full-time ministry.   

Camp Siloam has become distinctive among camps in the Midwest with its theatrical production of Biblically themed stories. Each year Camp Siloam’s program team works with Adam Wheat, Director of the Discover Program at Ouachita Baptist University, to write a script based upon a scripture or Bible character. The setting for our production this summer is industrial-era London, England and our theme is “steampunk.”  

Steampunk is a genre of science fiction built upon the idea that steam is the primary way to power machines.  Using steam power as the basis of technology, it then adds elements of historical and futuristic machines to the story. The genre uses lots of gears, clocks, brass, and copper as well as trains and airships. Our story this summer is about a railroad tycoon who is so zealous about rail as the way in the future to move people and goods that he can’t even “see” the possibility of air travel as “the way.” It is all lies, until he has an incredible encounter that opens his eyes to the truth. He then becomes sold on the idea of air travel, but all his old friends turn on him. His newfound belief creates problems for him. Unbridled with determination for what he now sees as the truth, he tries to convince his old friends of “the way.” 

On October 20, we introduced our 2022 program theme with a short trailer (click the following link to see the trailer https://youtu.be/P5s-ZSpsMGM).    

Registration is now open for summer 2022. We have over 1,500 spaces already reserved because beds in the new bunkhouse are being reserved on a first-come first-served basis according to when churches reserve spaces. There are 120 beds in the new bunkhouse so you may still have a chance to be one of the first churches to register for your week of camp.  

Camp Siloam’s nine bunkhouses were constructed in the early 1960’s. Replacement of all the bunkhouses will need to take place in the next 20 years. Situated close to Little Beaver Creek, the new bunkhouse features rooms that can accommodate different sized groups, more spacious rooms that will allow beds to be spaced further apart, and bathroom facilities (with a private changing area) that can be easily cleaned without disrupting guests.   

We are hearing from church leaders that the cost of camp is making it difficult for families to send campers, particularly those that need to send two or more from a household. Scholarships are the answer for churches and families who want to attend any event at Camp Siloam. Our scholarship application process is easy. Churches can apply for scholarships on behalf of a family. Scholarships are not only for summer camp, but any of our retreat events as well. It is our desire that money would never be the reason a camper would decide not to come to Camp Siloam. So, we are doubling the amount of scholarship funds we are raising for 2022. Our goal is to have over $130,000 available in scholarships for churches to give to families who have a need and want to come to camp. Please don’t let cost be the reason your church doesn’t come to Camp Siloam.   

Lastly, we are seeking churches who would be interested in mission trips to Camp Siloam.  We need some volunteers skilled in the trades (some with active licenses in electrical and plumbing) to help with some projects here at camp.  If you are a member of a church who is interested in a local mission trip that invests in the next generation, please contact Jason Wilkie at 479-220-0788. 

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