Association camps teach Gospel, provide summer fun 

Hundreds of children and teens spent time this summer at Arkansas Baptist camps that mixed fun with Bible teaching.  

In northwest Arkansas, the Washington Madison Baptist Association held its annual summer children and youth camp July 10-14 at Baptist Vista in Cass, Arkansas. Associational Missionary Ron Lomax said they had 150 total at the camps with attendance evenly split between children and youth. There were 30 adult counselors and workers.   

Arkansas Baptist State Convention College + Young Leader Missions Mobilizations, Apologetics and Communications Strategist Chris Kohlman was the youth camp speaker and First Baptist Church in Rogers Kids Ministry Associate Travian Weems was the children’s camp speaker.    

Lomax said they recorded at least 15 salvation decisions. Two surrendered to missions.   


“One reason we do this each year is because many of our churches cannot afford the larger camps.  Another reason we enjoy going to Cass is because the camp is literally ‘out there.’  There is not the world noise, loud music, lights, or anything to distract the young people from sitting and listening to God speak into their lives,” Lomax said. “We are small enough to allow counselors to connect with the young people one-on-one. We ask our churches to send counselors with their campers so that whatever the campers hear and study at camp, they can take that back to their churches and go further.”   

Arkansas River Valley Baptist Association  

Arkansas River Valley Baptist Association had 334 campers from 19 churches, including four from outside the association, make the trip to Spring Lake Baptist Camp and Retreat Center this year. They had 74 professions of faith and 23 rededications.  

According to the association newsletter, organizers try to keep the annual church camp more evangelism focused rather than discipleship driven. The newsletter said the premise is “that it is not really possible to teach a student to live for Jesus in a week, but you can spend that week introducing a student to Jesus, after which you send him/her back to the church whose job it is to teach them to live for Jesus.”  

Mount Zion Baptist Association  

 At its 60-acre campground near Walcott, Arkansas, Mount Zion Baptist Association hosted three weeks of summer camp during the month of July.  

Their first camp this year was for girls in fourth through sixth grade. Tara Smith served as director and Nettleton Baptist Church Pastor Brady Canright served as camp pastor.  The second week of camp was for junior and senior high students. Taylor Baker from Williams Baptist University served as camp pastor. Their third and final week of camp was for boys in fourth through sixth grade. Clint Deaton served as director and pastor while Caleb Broussard from the Central Baptist Church – Paragould campus led worship.   

Over the three weeks, eight campers made salvation decisions.   

Liberty Baptist Association  

Liberty Baptist Association welcomed 187 campers and chaperones at Beech Springs Camp.  


Dr. Walter Norvell and his wife, Mary, spent four days teaching children that the Gospel is for everyone and how to live life on mission. Joel Winters of First Baptist Church in Benton and Madily Bonsall, an Ouachita Baptist University student, led morning and evening times of worship.  

Campers braved the heat and enjoyed horseback riding, canoes, the ropes course, climbing wall, zip line, swimming, gaga ball, and color wars.

A handful of children made professions of faith and all campers left with a desire to fulfill the Great Commission. 

Caroline Baptist Association  

The Caroline Baptist Association attended children and youth camp at Baptist Vista the week of June 12.  Baptist Vista is in the Ozark Mountains and is part of the Clear Creek Baptist Association. 

The children’s department spent the week focusing on winning lost sinners to Christ, a changed life, a new life, and the needs of a new believer. The sessions were led by Frank Thurman and Fred Dollar. Bob Powers shared with the children the importance and different aspects of mission work. He also shared his own mission experiences and trips. 

The youth department spent the week on apologetics and how to defend their faith. Kody Prothro and Bill Ricks led these sessions.  

There were 13 professions of faith, 14 rededications and 11 other decisions made throughout the week. The “other” decisions included requests for baptism, request for prayer and dedicating their life to the church ministry.  

Faulkner Baptist Association 

Faulkner Baptist Association’s Cold Springs Resort hosted three association camps this summer.  

Children’s camp kicked off the season with more than 150 campers and 50 sponsors and staffers. They had 11 churches from Faulkner Baptist Association, three churches from Calvary Baptist Association, and one from North Pulaski participate. Jake McCandless of Epic Church NWA was the speaker. There were eight salvations and multiple rededications.  

Camp Manager Gene Chambliss said the children’s camp was one of the biggest camps they have hosted in a long time. They had to order additional bunkbeds the week prior to camp, and borrowed an RV from Moix RV for some of their staffers to sleep in.  

The next week they hosted youth camp and had 60 campers and 20 sponsors and staffers. This included four Faulkner Baptist Association churches and one from the Caroline Baptist Association. Tyler McKinney of First Baptist Church in Star City brought the word. They had four salvations, multiple rededications, and one call to ministry.  

The final week they hosted a day camp for children who have completed kindergarten through second grade. Chambliss said this week is always fun as they get to introduce these kids to camp. He said they had three local pastors, Jake Robinson, Steve Lasiter, and Tim Moses, bring the messages.  

“Normally we don’t see salvations with this young of a group, but God was moving, and we saw four kids give their life to Christ,” Chambliss said. 


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