The Dream Materializes: Big Reedy Christian Camp
God does great things through ordinary people if they are only willing to let Him. And with Big Reedy Christian Camp, God took a dream and a small group of Christians and did something that most sane people would think impossible. And it would have been impossible without the Lord being in control.
In 2008 a group of campers from several area churches of Christ joined other campers at Taylor Christian Camp in Allen County, Kentucky in a weeklong camp. For some campers and counselors, it was their very first church camp experience. Some of the group returned to Taylor the next year and subsequently decided more youth could be reached if they had a week of camp their own. There are a limited number of camp weeks annually and Taylor groups were already using every available bed for their campers and the necessary counselors and staff. But this is where God stepped in! A small group wanted to organize a camp week, but Taylor Christian Camp had no summer weeks available. (In hindsight, this was a great problem to have.) The next phase of the dream involved small but experience-gathering steps.
In 2010 this small group of camp dreamers found an available week at Camp Lylewood in Dover, Tennessee. This began five years of roaming, beginning in 2010 with a modest 43 campers and 20 pioneer staff members. However, considerable physical improvements were necessary at Lylewood to accommodate the excited, young campers. And by 2012, Lylewood could no longer manage the camp’s growth. Further complicating the dream’s full realization was the inconvenience of traveling two hours (one-way) to reach Camp Lylewood. In 2012, the camp dreamers moved their base of operations to Leatherwood Christian Camp in White Bluffs, Tennessee; and the camp remained here for three more years as the experience continued and the number of campers (and staff) increased. But this did not solve the challenges of travel and the camp’s physical condition, over which the group had little or no control. In purely business terms, a demand was being met but not very well, the demand was ever increasing, and the physical challenges were abundant. In hindsight, this period was clearly one of God’s blessings and a charge for greater service to the area’s youth. The next phase of the dream involved a much bigger step.
After the camp experiences at Lylewood and Leatherwood, the blessing that is now known as Big Reedy Christian Camp began to materialize in a more visible way. In 2013, a diverse group of Christians formed a nonprofit organization to legalize the status of what’s now known as Big Reedy Christian Camp; and efforts were launched to build a camp facility that met the needs more fully. The next critical step in the process involved members of the Simpson family in Butler and Warren County, Kentucky. The family donated 33.5 acres of land specifically for a Christian camp in Roundhill (Butler County), Kentucky, about 20 miles north of Bowling Green. Although the dream advanced tremendously with this gift, the hard work was just beginning. However, God’s presence at multiple critical points over the next three years was obvious to many. Experienced leadership and both skilled professionals and countless hours of volunteer skilled and unskilled labor identified solutions to each hurdle that the group encountered and, with God’s help, conquered. God’s providence was evident in several modern day miracles to navigate safely a host of local, state and national building and safety codes and regulations. A construction challenge some thought of as nearly impossible to overcome was discussed at every board meeting in 2013, 2014 and most of 2015. No board meeting began or ended without a prayer thanking Almighty God for His guidance and praying for the advancement of the dream in a manner consistent with principles so clearly outlined in the Holy Bible.
Looking back at what’s now 3+ years after the legal inception of Big Reedy Christian Camp, it’s clear there was no time God was not in control. He provided the dream, the guidance for leaders of the process, the wisdom and safety of scores involved in building the camp, and the funds necessary to do so – over $1.2 million in financial assistance without incurring $1 of debt obligations. He worked behind the scenes opening doors and putting everything in place in its proper timing. He sent laborers with just the talents and tools needed. He sent ladies from churches all over South Central Kentucky that brought great meals to feed the workers periodically during major construction events. He was able to do this with ordinary people performing extraordinarily over a five-year period. God was and is how Big Reedy Christian Camp came to be. There are many interesting and thought-provoking stories that could be told about what God has done on a hill in ole Butler County, Kentucky. But the best of these stories is yet to be told. The best story is always the next soul who’s redeemed because of a life-changing experience at Big Reedy. So with the continued help of regular donors and camp user groups, the story will not end until the Lord’s return. There is no limit to what God can do with anyone who has only the faith of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20).
To God be the Glory of this Modern Day Noah’s Ark story!