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Survey Results & Financial Updates from the CEOs

Camp friends – THANK YOU! We are blown away by your continued faithfulness to this shared ministry and your willingness to take surveys, volunteer, advocate for, and give! We have been asking you for your thoughts for weeks now, talking one-on-one with you and offering surveys.

Now for some results. We are so pleased to share that 244 people responded to the feasibility study survey for Lutheridge. In addition, 114 (and counting) of you replied to the Lutheranch Vision survey.  We are delighted to know we aren’t in this alone!

We had a great variety of people share information for the feasibility study for Lutheridge.  You taught us some vital information.  It is the quality of programs that keep people coming back to Lutheridge. We knew the facilities needed refurbishment, but you desire facilities that are better suited to meet the needs of today’s youth and families. You provided tremendous information for the Lutheridge Master Plan Team to consider when they meet in person next month.

Your belief in the two of us and the board is appreciated. We know we have more work to do.  Based directly on your responses and feedback, we have the following planned:

  • Continued financial transparency.
    • Revenue exceeded expenses in January!! This is a start to getting on more solid financial footing.  We learned recently that NovusWay hasn’t had a balanced budget since 2013. We remain committed to changing that, and the board is with us entirely.
    • In February, we will be able to pay back the first $6,000 of our internal borrowing. We have a very long way to go on this, but it takes baby steps to get started, and we have begun.
  • Board Training:
    • We interviewed every board member individually over the last month and reported our findings to them. First, this is a board of committed people who want to do their best for this ministry. They said yes to serving because they love the ministry. Board members who served over the last 5-10 years described their training as inadequate. At our March meeting, we will begin to change this pattern. We will lead the NovusWay board through the first 2 hours of board training we provide to our other clients who seek more comprehensive board development. Moving forward, every board meeting will have training included. This will consist of inviting the previous chairs of our Governance Committee in to help reengage the quality training once provided.
    • We started a monthly dashboard for the staff and the board to monitor critical areas of the ministry. It is forward-looking, so appropriate decisions can be made before it is too late. In some cases, it will lead to a marketing emphasis; in other cases, we will adjust budgets mid-year to match our current realities.

Surprises & Joys:

We were surprised to learn that, by and large, you are as eager to pay off internal debt as you are to upgrade facilities.  While we are actively launching this campaign for Lutheridge’s 75th Birthday to support refurbishment and facility upgrades, we also included debt reduction. As a result of your responses to the survey, we are also considering debt reduction efforts for our other sites. We will share more about this in the coming months.

Your willingness to volunteer in the upcoming Lutheridge 75th Birthday campaign is tremendous:

  • 74 of you offered to help in a campaign in your congregation
  • 83 of you offered to help us tell the story of the ministry
  • 41 of you will help with the staff alumni campaign

You also offered to support this ministry financially in a campaign!  Gift offers ranged from $75 to $75,000, and one person who offered $75,000 has already completed a Statement of Intent! We are still setting up the appeal and aren’t quite ready to ask for gifts yet, but thank you for thinking of this ministry with your generosity.

For the long-term health of the ministry, it is critical to know that:

  • 32 of you have already included Lutheridge or NovusWay in your estate plans.
  • 101 of you indicated that you have not yet included the ministry in your estate plan but are open to it.

We, Mike and Mitzie, are both Legacy givers for this ministry. We will promote ways to make an estate gift in the future, and our staff and gift planners are here to help you complete the necessary paperwork. To care for this ministry for the next 75 years, having another 101 people join us in including this ministry in your charitable estate plans will help us keep fees low, care for facilities, and allow us to innovate with new programs to tomorrow’s campers.


The Lutheranch survey helped us as we worked to craft the vision for that site. In fact, we changed the language of the vision statement because of your input. It now reads:

Lutheranch welcomes all and serves as a center for healing, spiritual renewal, and sabbath rest in God’s creation.

More will be released on this soon, but we are starting to make plans for a Family Camp, a Grandparent Camp, and possibly a camp for younger children in 2025.

In the meantime, we are working to continue to build retreat groups for the McKanna-Sandrock Center year-round to help the site become self-sustaining and expand. We know we aren’t staffed for the long term, but this vision will guide future staffing as funds allow us to grow into it.  We acknowledge that the loss of the equine program is a loss for those who used it. To remain transparent, clarifying that an equine program wasn’t part of the site’s original vision is necessary. Our reality is that the local community didn’t use the equine program significantly enough to make it sustainable. Talking to directors of camps across the country taught us that is the key to a program like that.

Current Concerns:

We are very hopeful for the future of this ministry and what God has planned at all four of our sites.  Our current concerns are twofold regarding summer camp registration.

We recognize the frustration with our current registration process. The staff and Mitzie have spent the last couple of weeks interviewing software companies that will allow us to provide a more intuitive registration and summer camp experience for parents, guardians, and those who register groups, like pastors. This has been a long-term frustration. We are working to determine now if we can implement the new software before summer, and we will keep you posted. The new software will allow parents to access their child’s health forms and update them in real-time. It will significantly simplify the group registration process. We ask you to hang with us a bit longer until we can get this sorted, but know that a new registration day is coming!

Finally, and most importantly, with our churches’ changing demographics, we genuinely need everyone who loves this ministry to help find 5 kids to come to camp.  If they aren’t in your church, we have been taught a model by both Kimball, Kannapolis, and Come to the Water in Knoxville, who find children and youth from local schools and send them to camp. This is a significant outreach and evangelism opportunity.  A week of camp can transform a child’s life who doesn’t yet know of God’s sustaining love. Please help encourage kids to come to camp so that we can continue to build our core ministry.  All of us can find five kids who aren’t currently planning to go to camp and encourage them to make their way to these amazing places apart.

We appreciate your partnership and love for our camps.   If you didn’t share your desire to help with a campaign, please reach out to Nathan Gragg at ngragg@novusway.org.

With Gratitude,

Mike and Mitzie