After a few years of pandemic and pause, The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) was excited to renew its partnership with Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, Mississippi, sending a combination class of psychology and missions students to their annual Mission Camp Macon, July 9 through 15.
“We are thrilled to be involved again in such a significant ministry,” stated BCF Missions Professor and Theology Division Chair Rich Elligson, who led the group. Lake Forest Ranch Executive Director Nick Hall was equally enthusiastic. “We love having BCF students involved in our summer program in general and Camp Macon in particular,” he said. “And we would like very much to see our relationship continue to flourish in the future.”
Some years ago, BCF Psychology Professor Kristy Ford approached Elligson with the concept of an inter-disciplinary class, and Lake Forest Ranch became the venue. Mission Camp Macon itself began nearly twenty years ago as a week “carved out” by camp leadership to do ministry among their local community. Each day of that week, hundreds of Noxubee County teens arrive at the camp to compete in sports, study the Bible, and hear the gospel. At the same time, teams of workers leave the camp each morning to provide Bible club activities for younger children in several church locations around the county. As a result, the week not only provides solid biblical ministry to the residents of one of Mississippi’s poorest counties, but also a rich opportunity for BCF students to study and participate in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural ministry done the right way.
“Camp Macon is custom-made for this class,” Elligson explained. “While the psychology students focus on individual participants, looking for personal struggles and engaging individual youth at their point of need, the missions students look at the ‘bigger picture;’ observing the camp itself, its structure, objectives, strategies, and effectiveness.” These two perspectives always lead to lively discussions during debrief each evening and result in deeper understandings for both groups of students.
All of this year’s BCF participants were new to the camp, and all brought their own expectations. For some, a role reversal took place. While Sophomore Missions Major Andrew Gonzales helped with crowd control, he found himself dealing with many of the teens one-on-one. “I wasn’t sure how I felt about my initial role here,” he explained. “But I soon realized that keeping the groups of teens calm and focused was essential for individual ministry to take place. I am glad I could do my part.” In the meantime, graduating Psychology Major Taylor Donaldson, who expected to develop some personal relationships with individual children, was tasked with teaching a dozen kindergartners. “That caught me a bit off guard,” she quipped. “Dr. Elligson kept telling his missions students to ‘be flexible.’ I guess that principle applies to psychology students as well!”
To learn more about the partnership with Lake Forest Ranch and the college that is “Changing the World…” please call 800.328.2660 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.
2021 BCF News
2020 BCF News
2019 BCF News