What do these stones mean to you?
Hopefully, this title did what I intended: It caught your attention and made you interested enough to read this article. Many of you probably already know where I am headed with this, and others are saying what is he talking about? Either way, hopefully, you will read on to find out.
IPHC Royal Rangers recently hosted its 9th National Camporama at the beautiful facilities of the Cornerstone Conference located in Browns Summit, NC. One of the first questions that is always asked after an event like this is, “Was it successful?” Before I answer that question, I may need to answer another one first, “What is Camporama?”
In the words of my good friend W. A. Mills, Men’s Ministries Director, "Royal Rangers Founder, Johnnie Barnes, said, 'A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a boy.' That truth is lived out weekly in the lives of leaders who mentor boys intentionally to become mature followers of Christ and authentic men of God. Camporama allows those leaders and their boys the opportunity to network, serve, worship, play, and pray with leaders and boys from across the nation.” Part of what makes this such a special event is that it is only held every
four years and is summed up by Michael Hubbard as; “A historical event that will remain in the hearts and minds of everyone forever!” – Michael Hubbard, Cornerstone Conference Royal Rangers Director.
If you ask the boys what the best part about Camporama is, you will probably get as many different answers as the number of boys that were there. Most will say that the activities are the best, whether it is archery, rifle shooting, paintball, the 30-foot climbing wall, the zip line, or the giant swing. Some will say it was the Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship or FCF Village, an encampment with men and boys dressed as early frontiersmen and living in canvas shelters. Village activity was exciting with blacksmith demonstrations, knife and tomahawk throwing, candle making, and everyone’s favorite thing – the trading post, where goods could be bought, and great trades made every day. Everyone would agree that the most enjoyable thing besides the great meals served by the DRUSA staff, would be the lake. Boys and leaders would spend several hours every day enjoying the many activities such as the canoes, pedal boats, slides, climbing obstacles, and of course “the BLOB”.
Most all the leaders, and even many of the boys said that the greatest thing was the night services. To quote two leaders who said this about the services, “Witnessing boys and their leaders praying together around the altar, seeking a deeper relationship with the Lord, is extremely rewarding.” “…most of all seeing boys and leaders’ lives changed for Jesus!” Each day with morning devotions and night services we had great speakers who brought the “truth” from the word of God. They spoke on the Camporama theme, Stand Firm, from Ephesians 6:10-17. Thank you to our speakers, Bishop Tommy McGhee, Richie Livingston, Jonathan Bryan, Michael Hubbard, Brady Allen, and W.A. Mills for allowing the Holy Spirit to use you in such an incredible way.
That answers the first question, “What is Camporama?” Now to answer the second question, “Was Camporama successful?” As an event, the answer is “YES”, but at a deeper level the answer is, “It remains to be seen.” You see Camporama is more than just meeting together for four days to have a lot of fun. If this was all there was to Camporama then it would end when the event is over, but the goal of Camporama is to live on in the hearts and minds of those who attended. To allow the Holy Spirit to bring to remembrance the things that the boys and men experienced from God.
In the devotional book, “My Utmost for His Highest”, Oswald Chambers says, “It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God. If we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious.” We don’t have to wait until the end to bring glory to God. Each step that we take along the journey to becoming more like Jesus brings Him glory and our obedience is what He wants. So, the real test of the success of Camporama lies in the hearts and minds of each person who attended. So, the question of success then becomes: Did the events of Camporama help me along my journey of becoming more like Jesus?
Camporama then becomes not an event with an end, but simply a pause along the journey of becoming more like Jesus. Much like the Children of Israel when they were crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land in Joshua chapter 6, Joshua told each tribe to take a stone out of the Jordan and put it at the place where they would camp that night. In verse 6 he says, “When your children ask in days to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them…”; “So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” My prayer is that Camporama will be a memorial stone of all the things God did in the hearts and lives of the boys and men who attended.
People ask, why spend so much time and resources on an event just to have a good time? Hopefully, you see now that it is not just about having a lot of fun, but it is more about helping boys along their journey of discipleship. If you asked these boys to come and spend 4 days learning about discipleship, most of them would say no thanks. But if you asked them to come to Camporama again, they would probably all say yes. We provide the place for them to meet with God, and the Holy Spirit does the rest.
David Moore has served as the National Commander of the Royal Rangers for the International Pentecostal Holiness Church since October 1998. Before coming to the national office in 1993, he worked in the Global Ministries Center accounting office. Commander Moore has been actively involved in a local outpost since 1985. He currently serves as the Senior Commander for his local church and works on a weekly basis with the Ranger Kids outpost.