By Arkansas Baptist News

[Perspective] Why camp matters

By Arkansas Baptist News

By Chad Plummer, Director of Operations, Camp Siloam

Is summer camp a tradition of a bygone era? Is there a reason to continue loading kids on church vans and buses and driving three plus hours across the state? Is there a reason to spend a week sleeping in a cabin with 20 crazy 9-18-year-olds, while only getting three hours of sleep a night in a bunkbed? Well, the simple answer is absolutely! 

Arkansas Baptists have been pouring into a camp in Siloam Springs, Arkansas for over a century. Camp Siloam, affectionately remembered as the Arkansas Baptist Assembly by some, celebrated 100 years of ministry in 2023. This last year has been a time to reflect and praise God on the impact camp has had on so many lives.  

I had the privilege to attend Camp Siloam as a kid in the early nineties with my home church First Baptist, Fort Smith. Then I had the honor of becoming Camp Siloam’s Director of Operations in the Summer of 2021. Camp had made a substantial impact on me.  

After three years of serving at camp, I am always amazed to meet people around Arkansas and hear the connections they have with Camp Siloam. People often tell me that camp is where they were saved, or where they surrendered to full time ministry. Others have even met their spouse at camp. It is clear to see that everyone has a story about how camp has impacted their life. 

In the business world many talk about ROI (Return On Investment). Does the cost justify the result?  

At Camp Siloam we talk about the EGI or the Eternal Global Impact. Our vision statement is “To see campers and staff make an Eternal, Global, Impact for the kingdom of God.”  The purpose of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention is to “…assist the churches of the Convention in fulfilling their mission, and to encourage cooperative support of and involvement in our worldwide mission enterprise.” Through Camp Siloam and the efforts of Arkansas Baptists, camp has had a large EGI on campers and staff throughout the state of Arkansas and around the world.  

Looking at just the last ten years of ministry at Camp Siloam from 2013 to 2023, we have seen an average of 422.5 salvations every year. That is 4225 professions of faith in the last 10 years. We have also seen on average 85 people called to Gospel ministry each year, 757 in the last 10 years. Numerous former campers and staff have become leaders in their churches. Camp Siloam has brought up lead pastors, worship pastors, student and children pastors, Bible teachers and missionaries all over Arkansas and the world.  

So, should we continue camp ministry? Definitely! It is undoubtably still one of the best tools in our arsenal to reach kids for the kingdom, plus, it is a lot of fun! I tell people all the time that camp is a lot like VBS. It is an extremely effective evangelism tool. We keep doing it because it works, and God has blessed camp for over 100 years.  

The real secret to Camp Siloam is the partnership with Arkansas Baptist churches to bring kids out of their normal scenery and to a place where they hear the good news of Jesus. We partner together for the glory of God and to reach the next generation for Christ. That is why camp matters. It brings glory to God. 

Share this article


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *