Jenness Park and Baptist Foundation partner for the Kingdom

By Amanda Phifer on November 27, 2018

COLD SPRINGS — It’s just another year at Jenness Park Christian Camp.

“Just another year,” meaning:

  • seven weeks of summer camps that drew children and youth from as far as 13 hours away,
  • RV missionaries encamped to volunteer,
  • regular professions of faith: the bell to indicate first-time professions of faith in Christ has been rung more than 200 times this year,
  • two winter weekend student retreats that registered 100-plus more participants than last year,
  • the greatest financial increase, in January and February, in more than five years,
  • an increase in pastors and church staff utilizing the camp for personal retreats and getaways,
  • 11 of 14 bunk-house style cabins refurbished with updated restrooms, showers and vanities,
  • a grand 65th anniversary celebration in September,
  • dozens of group retreats and educational weekends, and
  • thousands of volunteer hours logged.
  • The park is fulfilling its mission to “reach the lost, equip believers and restore His servants,” said Barry Lloyd, JP’s director for five years.

    And through its Jenness Park endowment, whose proceeds provide about $8,000 a year to the camp, The Baptist Foundation of California also is able to fulfill its mission: to serve Baptists by raising, managing and distributing financial resources for Kingdom causes.

    The California Southern Baptist Convention entities have a “partnership” that on the surface might look like a dry ledger of numbers moving in and out of investment and disbursement accounts, eye-glazing to everyone except those with the gift and skill of accounting.

    But it manifests in concrete ways — sometimes literally, as in funds for asphalt and culverts on the mountainous road into Jenness Park.

    It means the building and maintenance of Cabin #205, where Isaac and nearly 50 other youth and adults gathered for spontaneous worship through music, scripture and prayer one summer when he was a teenager. Isaac now is a pastor, and on a recent visit to JP, his son recognized the “famous Cabin #205.”

    It means the eventual construction of a larger meeting room, allowing the camp to have a facility that will accommodate a number of guests equal to its number of beds.

    The endowment, combined with generous giving to the JP500 Capital Campaign, means restoration of the Gold Rush cabins, which sleep 12-14.

    “It’s one thing to install a new and much-needed wastewater treatment plant, which the endowment helped us do several years ago,” Lloyd explained. “All infrastructure is important.

    “But when campers return to a Gold Rush cabin and see the new showers, vanities and restrooms, they really can see where their fees, donations, volunteer work and all other gifts are being used. And they really appreciate it.”

    Volunteers, in fact, provide nearly 16,000 hours of work per year for JP — the equivalent of eight full-time staff members, Lloyd said. Volunteers include California Campers on Mission, members of First Baptist Church in Picayune, MS, RV missionaries and other individuals and groups that simply have a heart to serve.

    The endowment, established in 1979 by the state convention, was created to aid, assist and promote the ministries of Jenness Park. Its primary use over the years has been for facility improvement.

    “God has gifted me with service,” Lloyd acknowledged. “And my job is to serve Him, and here I get to do that by serving everybody at the same time: youth leaders, other church staff from all over the country, kitchen staff, maintenance staff, cleaning staff, office staff.

    “I just absolutely love it.”

    “Barry and his team do a really great job,” said Tom Jones, senior vice president for the Foundation. “We live in a time when church retreats, and training events especially, are on the decline, and yet Jenness Park is thriving. It is an honor to manage that endowment on behalf of such a fantastic ministry.”

    This Convention serves our culturally diverse congregations as we fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.