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Finding Dwelling On The Rock

In addition to reconnecting with our Lutherock alumni and re-growing our camper base, one of the shared passions for the Rock staff during the non-summer camp season was
establishing meaningful missional partnerships for the future. Anyplace we have extra, we want to pour out and share with others – from our staff resources to creative ideas and
inspiration, to the beauty and vastness of our place apart. Two of the places where prayerful partnership is already providing fruit are The Dwelling in Winston Salem, North
Carolina, and Avery County Schools down the road from our camp in Newland.

After a Spirit-led meeting between Deacon Missie Bonser, Lutherock Program Director, and The Dwelling’s Mission Developer/Lead Pastor Emily Norris during our supporting synods’ Fall Convocations, a sweet and intentional partnership began to bloom. These conversations led to staff visits, shared preaching and ultimately to Lutherock sharing three summer staff with their Spark’Dwell service learning program. Rock staff made a profound impact on the summer ministry team at The Dwelling, but an even more profound impact occurred within the hearts and minds of the Rock counselors that were deployed to serve.

Christa Behrmann, a second-year Lutherock counselor, shared these words: “Spark’Dwell gave me such a supportive and eye-opening space. I worked with people who were or have gone through the experience of homelessness. One of those people was Zay, who I now consider a friend. Through that I was able to support others and open their eyes to the reality of homelessness, while also going through the same experience. Working and serving with organizations like Samaritan Ministries and Tracy’s Little Red Schoolhouse gave me a sense of purpose and community that I would have never expected and am so grateful for. It allowed me to help people and spaces grow, as well as myself. I will forever remember the experience Amber and Emily (from The Dwelling) welcomed me into.”

We are hopeful to grow this partnership into additional shared weeks, where youth and young adults from across the country can visit for a part Rock/part Spark’Dwell week to experience the best of both programs – high adventure and missional immersion – while bearing witness to the Spirit at work in these spaces and in their own lives.

The second fruitful partnership emanated from Missie’s connection to Avery County Schools through her husband, Howard, who is a teacher at Avery Middle School. His access and awareness of the significant need within the neighboring community birthed connections that will be seeds for the future. Thanks to many generous camper scholarship gifts, Lutherock offered full scholarships to any Avery County Middle School student with significant need who was also a good match for our summer program offerings as identified by their school counselors and teachers.

This summer, five students shared a week on the mountain with us! At the start of the 2023-2024 school year, all 6th grade students and teachers in Avery County spent the day on-site at Lutherock for team building and personal development as they prepared to dive into their middle school experience. While it’s easy to become overwhelmed by numbers and growth and finances (all the things we’re bringing IN), we believe the heart of who we are as an outdoor ministry compels us to keep the ways and words of Jesus as the cornerstone to all we do. At Lutherock we want to continue seeking ways to send OUT and share the best of what we have. Through partnerships like these, among many others, Lutherock will continue to grow and flourish for generations to come!

We invite you to think about the role Lutherock has played in your life or the lives of your family and friends, then consider how you can continue to be a partner in our ministry.

Visit Lutherock.org/rooted-in-65-years-of-ministry to view the Giving Tree and join us in celebrating Lutherock’s 65 years of outdoor ministry.

We hope you’ll pay us a visit on the mountain to see first hand the impact your life, legacy and gifts continue to make at Lutherock!


Click here to download a printable version of this story in the September 2023 edition of our Link.