ROACH – Like many other non-profits around the nation, the Windermere Baptist Conference Center here is facing financial setbacks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, according to Windermere President Tim Huddleston, the camp is open for ministry.
“I’ll be very transparent, the pandemic has really hurt us financially,” Huddleston told The Pathway. So far, although the camp hasn’t been closed, many events in April, May and early June have been cancelled or postponed because of COVID-19, causing Windermere to lose income and ministry opportunities during what usually would be its peak months. “June is our largest month,” Huddleston said.
“We had a great plan, and the plan was working,” he said. But, referring to Proverbs 16:9, he added, “In his heart a man plans his ways, but the Lord determines his steps. The Lord had different steps for us, and we have to trust those steps and realize that this pandemic was ordained by Him for our wisdom, for our good, and for those opportunities (to learn) what He wants to teach us.”
Nevertheless, Huddleston added that he has already heard about some groups who intend to reschedule their events at the campground for later in the year. Additional groups are scheduling events for later in the summer and fall, as well. “We’re looking forward to a huge fall,” Huddleston said.
Meanwhile, the camp’s staff members are planning for unique ministry opportunities in the coming weeks.
“Plans change almost daily as information comes out and as guidelines are either change or repealed or added,” Huddleston said. “But right now, obviously, the first goal and purpose is to do ministry. Windermere exists to encourage multitudes of people to say ‘Yes’ to Jesus.”
As such, ministry efforts in weeks and months to come include (though they aren’t limited to) the following:
• On May 21, Windermere is holding an online children’s ministry leadership workshop, organized by Huddleston’s wife Teresa, who has been in children’s ministry for roughly three decades. She is among the featured speakers, alongside Shelley Henning of Grow Family Ministry, Josh Denhart of Kidmin Science and other special guests. The event theme is “Children’s Ministry in the ‘New Normal.’” To register, visit https://www.windermereusa.org/events/childrens-ministry-leader-retreat/. This online event, Huddleston said, is building toward another children’s ministry leadership event being organized at the campground this fall.
• Huddleston said that Windermere is planning to reach out to their neighbors in Camden County by hosting day camps at the campground this summer. “We hope to have a place that’s affordable for (local) families to bring their kids, and we can have the opportunity to share Jesus with them on a daily basis,” he said.
• “On the weekends in June,” Huddleston added, “we’re going to do ‘Worship at Windermere.’ It’s going to be opportunities for people to pull up in the cove in their boats, and we’re going to have different church worship teams set up on the shore, playing worship music for an hour, hour-and-a-half on Friday and Saturday evenings.”
Looking at the potential for ministry as the year progresses, Huddleston expressed optimism about the future. “I can’t believe there’s not going to be some opportunities to get excited about what’s going on here. Am I still excited? Yes. Because we exist for a multitude of people to say ‘Yes’ to Jesus.”
To learn more about Windermere, visit www.windermereusa.org.