Our mission at Covenant Pines Ministries is to encourage campers to take their Next Step in Christian faith. We focus on this mission all year round, but during our summer ministry season we have the privilege of operating all four of our ministry centers; serving students, families and individuals at Covenant Pines Bible Camp, Adventurous Christians, Silver Beach Family Camp and Covenant Pines Off Site. After each summer of ministry, we like to share stories about how campers around CPM have taken next steps.
Covenant Pines Bible Camp: Campers at CPBC make commitments each week to dedicate their life to Jesus, make a change back home, start going back to youth group and more. This is truly the heartbeat of the summer and why we do what we do. One story that sticks out from this summer is from a high school camper who spent time at camp as a SWEAT. After this camper returned home, we were notified that this high schooler had made a personal donation to the Next Steps Campaign. We were so encouraged by this tangible next step of tithing by this camper!
Adventurous Christians: At AC, the challenge of a week on trail really helps people reflect on what their next steps are. This summer, one student while on trail felt particularly inspired by the leadership development on trail as well as the satisfaction of completing a canoe trip. In this student’s trip reflection he mentioned that one day he hopes to be a guide at AC to help provide this experience to others. We love to see next steps like this!
Silver Beach Family Camp: One of the best things about Silver Beach Family Camp is the community that is created over years and years. These families see each other every year and get to know each other, watch each other’s children grow up and families evolve. One Silver Beacher commented on the way Silver Beachers come back to each other every year and share stories of faith, and how they are able to encourage each other in their own walks with God.
Covenant Pines Off Site: One of the biggest and highly anticipated Off Site events each summer is our Covenant Pines Golf Tournament. The tournament is a fundraiser to raise money for camper scholarships. This year, we had a record breaking year for sponsorship. It was so cool to see businesses and individuals take their own next step in faith and generosity by sponsoring the event. Because of this, we were able to raise $16,000 for our camper scholarship fund – allowing campers to continue to take a next step in Christian faith.
These are just a few of the ways campers have taken next steps around Covenant Pines Ministries this summer. As we conclude another full summer of ministry, we look forward to continuing our mission as we transition into retreat season.
It is a really exciting time at Covenant Pines Bible Camp. Not only do we kick off Summer Youth Camps on Monday, but a long time dream of building a new Worship Center has become reality. We broke ground on the Worship Center on April 15, and construction has been underway since.
The Worship Center will be located towards the entrance of camp, where the old Maintenance garage used to be. Camp will look a little different this summer as the Worship Center site will be very visible – but we have plans to make sure the impact of the construction is minimal to our campers’ experience
We are working with the contractor Bj Baas, located in Cambridge, MN who provides a job supervisor during work hours of the project, which is from about 7:00 am-7:00 pm each day. The construction site is fully fenced off, and it will be clearly communicated and visually clear that campers should stay away from the site. Campers may notice a little extra noise during the day, but the site should be wrapped up with work each day in time for chapel and bedtime for campers.
The biggest impacts for the summer will mostly be convenience. Due to the location of the site, parking on the first and last days of camp will be crowded. Some of the boundaries for our all camp games may need to be adjusted, but other than that, we don’t foresee any major impact on campers. We hope they see the construction and are excited to use the Worship Center when it is completed!
If you want to follow along with the progress of the construction, we will post weekly updates on our website here.
Our four pillars of camp are safe, fun, gospel and experience. We are working hard this summer to make sure your campers are safe with this project going on, and we promise kids will still have fun, hear the gospel message of Jesus Christ and have a great experience at Covenant Pines!
We have had a busy spring at Covenant Pines Ministries as we prepare for a summer full of ministry. Our spring has included some staffing transitions, the Worship Center Groundbreaking, new furniture and more in the midst of the usual summer preparations. As we look to summer ministry, we would appreciate your prayers for our Full Time Staff at CPM. We work hard all year round, but summer ministry is our bread and butter. It comes with great joy but also very hard work!
Below is a list of ways you can be praying for specific full time staff members this summer.
Pam Lofgren, Foodservice Director, CPBC: You can pray that Pam would have sustained energy in the day in and out of the inner workings of the kitchen as the kitchen staff strives to sustain all the campers through the ministry of food. JOY, even when the feet hurt, LAUGHTER, when there’s a kitchen blunder, and a lifetime of memories created with my kitchen staff as we serve and work alongside one another this summer in the name of Jesus.
Jared Jensen, Operations Director, CPBC: You can pray that Jared will become acclimated to his new role well, and is able to keep up and learn during a busy season.
Matt Braun, Camp Director, CPBC: Matt would love prayer to be able to balance the needs of our campers and staff while at the same time managing the construction of the new worship center well.
Dave Cairns, Executive Director, CPM: Dave would appreciate prayers in regards to fundraising efforts around the Next Steps Campaign, working with the contractor to best steward our gifts, and encouragement of camp directors as they lead their staff.
Matt White, Camp Director, AC: You can pray that Matt would have a good balance of needs. His own, staff, campers, buildings. Knowing when to do which thing so he can have peace.
Lina Swanson, Guest Service Director, AC: Lina would love prayers to be able to find rest in the middle of the busyness.
Holly Abramson, Director of Marketing and Off Site Ministry, CPM: You can pray that Holly would smoothly adjust to the new schedule, rhythm and busyness of summer ministry while remaining present and balanced with her family.
Thanks for joining us in prayer as we enter into a big season of ministry! Please also be praying for our campers, summer staff, volunteers and everyone who makes camp possible over the next few months. It is our deepest desire for God to work through us so we can encourage campers to take their next step in Christian faith.
On Saturday April 15, we braved the cold and rain for a significant day in Covenant Pines Bible Camp history. We have now officially broken ground on the new Worship Center! A small group of people gathered at Covenant Pines as we worshipped, prayed over and sacredly and ceremoniously broke the ground that the Worship Center will be on.
As many of you know, plans for a new Worship Center have been discussed at Covenant Pines for almost 50 years, it feels surreal to finally begin construction and see the vision come to life. Camp is blessed to move forward with this project and we ask for your prayers as we take our own next step in CPM’s future.
Construction will begin this week at camp and continue for about a year. We have plans in place to ensure that the impact to camper and guest experiences are limited. However, the location of the Worship Center will be very visible when you enter camp – so things will look and feel different!
Official Groundbreaking Photo:
Nicole Thompson (Station 19; Architect), Sarah Verdoorn (CPM Board), Matt Braun (CPBC Camp Director), Shawn Johnson (BJ Baas; General Contractor), Tim Gosen (CPM Board), Sara Sosa (CPM Board), Todd Joing (CPM Board), Dave Cairns (CPM Executive Director), Bryan Schmidt (CPBC Facilities Director).
Covenant Pines Bible Camp Staff:
Pam Lofgren, Bryan Schmidt, Erin Burkstrand, Casey Kongla, Matt Braun, Lexi Schafer, Mia Schaller, Matteo Sosa and Jared Jensen.
Past and Current Camp Directors
Bruce Peterson (1977-2014), Dave Cairns (2015-Present), Mark Cairns (1973-1977)
This is an exciting time for us at Covenant Pines Bible Camp! We look forward to celebrating with the entire Covenant Pines community when we dedicate the Worship Center in Spring 2024. Stay tuned for more details on this event in the coming months.
The season is getting ready to change! You can almost feel the potential in the ground. I am meeting this spring with a mix of excitement and urgency. I feel the excitement of all the potential that the summer season holds and also know that we need some of His human mission partners to join in and be part of the blessings and challenges. As of the writing of this note, we have 1 of a desired 5 Guides committed for the summer. To be clear, God does the lasting work so a big part of me is at peace with letting Him do these things in His own time. But there is also the part of me that knows the reality of what an understaffed summer looks like. In the end my hope is to have the right staff here to make the most of the potential God has prepared. To have hands enough to water, till and plant in the ground we are given.
With all that said, as I have thought about the summer, I have been drawn to Galatians 6:2-5.
“2. Carry each other’s burdens and in this way fulfill the law of Christ. 4-5. Each on should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves, without comparing themselves with anyone else, for each one should carry their own load.”
Each paddle group has so many opportunities to help and lean in to each other, to carry each other’s burdens as verse 2 encourages. They get to not just talk about it but show it with the physical emphasizing the relational. Each participant also gets to do physical activities with their own hands in a new environment where what they do is noticed. Since it is so immediate they get a chance to experience verses 4-5. They can see and test how they respond and end up with pride in how they have grown through it.
Camper Experience Goals:
Here is what we hope for our participants.
- To be seen (noticed for who they are now and who they could become).
- To be shown glimpses of Jesus in the different parts of the adventure including Nature (Creation and their physical selves), the Group (giving and receiving encouragement and problem solving), Self (self awareness and thoughts about Jesus’ character).
How we accomplish these goals
The Guides plan and manage the group’s interactions with different wilderness skills, with the environment, and words of encouragement so they have very full experiences to contemplate and discuss. The process of working through these events and feelings lead to growth for both the group (Galatians 6:2) and the individuals (Galatians 6:4-5).
Our Guide staff will be equipped and trusted with skills, training, support, certifications, and a lot of hands-on time facilitating/teaching as a leader in the wilderness. Our hope is that they are just as served as the groups they care for. We find that staff who are serving well, are supported well, and consciously adding value to themselves through the process have the best experiences for themselves and create the best experiences for their groups. There is sacrifice involved with any leadership endeavor but it is also rewarding in a way that other jobs are not. The leadership skills are also very transferable to many other spaces.
If you know anyone who has a passion for Jesus, wilderness, leadership, service, and learning – encourage them to contact us. They can email me directly, or learn more about working at Adventurous Christians, here.