STRONG & COURAGEOUS: General Session with Bryan Lorrits – Courage to Innovate

Being courageous in ministry has many implications. This morning, Fellowship Memphis Pastor Bryan Lorrits spoke on courage as it relates to innovation. So often at our camps, we get bogged down in doing things “the way they’ve always been done.” Is that true at your camp?

He began with Matthew 9:14-17

14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”

15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

It all boils down to this: Jesus didn’t do things “the way they’ve always been done.” Jesus had the courage to innovate, and he would encourage us to do the same. Even in the face of many powerful naysayers, who would have his disciples believe otherwise. But we shouldn’t let the naysayers discourage us from making great, positive changes in our ministries. After all, Moses didn’t make it into the promised land because he allowed the naysayers to dictate his attitude.

So how about you? Do you have the courage to innovate? Are you exchanging the mantra, “charge the hill” with “keep the peace” in your ministry?

We hope you have the courage to dream big and innovate at your camp!

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STRONG & COURAGEOUS: Day Two Recap

Since yesterday was just a day of registration and settling in, today was the first official day of STRONG & COURAGEOUS, our National Conference in San Diego, California.

Today has been a whirlwind of greeting old friends, making some new ones, and diving into the conference! With Head Start Workshops running all day today, participants got the chance to squeeze in even more learning and networking.

The afternoon brought regional gatherings, but since there are only 75 Canadians in total here at the conference, we met all together. It was great to see some familiar faces, and meet some new people who are our brothers and sisters in the amazing ministry of Christian camping in Canada. At the gathering, we discussed our journey since 2010 — and there certainly have been a lot of changes to CCI/Canada since then. Between moving the National Office across the country to Alberta and a complete turnover of staff, we sure have had some challenges. But we are happy to report many successes: from simple things like never failing to deliver a quality e-newsletter on the first of every month to huge things like dramatically reducing our deficit. And we are so grateful to be here serving you all.

After the regional gatherings, everyone was treated to an amazing Mexican fiesta, complete with a real Mariachi band, dancers and amazing Mexican food. The outdoor courtyard was filled with lights, balloons, and the sounds of eight hundred camp professionals enjoying themselves!

The Mariachi band and dancers led everyone back into the main ballroom for a general session that began with CCCA President Gregg Hunter and CCI/Canada National Director Sharon Fraess bursting out of a pinata and pulling confetti from their mouths! After than spectacle, the session began with lively worship from Danny Oertli. Gregg Hunter gave the evening’s keynote speech, and was followed by a quick word from Sheri Rose Shepherd. In the end, the Mariachi band started up again and led us all to the Grand Exhibit Hall, which was jam-packed with excellent camp-centered exhibitors and home to our Member Services Area. Here at the Canadian booth, I’m giving away tote bags, sticky notes, luggage tags and Red Rose tea. And we’re serving Tim Hortons Coffee and poutine in the Exhibit Hall! Just doing what we can to make our Canadian camp members feel at home!

Tomorrow will bring so much opportunity for education. From all-day Institutes to Intensives and Electives, there is literally something for everyone. We’ll keep you posted on how everything goes!

Wintertime news from CCI/Canada

November is almost half over already, and many of us are getting ready to deck the halls. How is your camp doing at the start of this winter season? What are some of the programs or activities you offer at your camp or conference center during the wintertime?

Speaking of wintertime, I wanted to tell you about the rules for next month’s video contest! I’ve really enjoyed watching all of the videos of your camps’ awesome summer programs, but now that the temperature is falling (at least here in Alberta) and some of us are starting to see snow, I’m really interested in what your camp looks like in the wintertime! I want to see what activities you offer, and whether you decorate for Christmas, and how your onsite staff deal with the chill and snow!

Our Winter Video Contest will run for the next three months (or until I change my mind!), so get out there with your camera, camp friends! As usual, videos can be sent to me at communicate@cci-canada.ca.

Now, November doesn’t just mean first snowfalls and and falling temperatures. It also means that the Executive Leadership Institute is upon us! We are so excited to see all of you on November 21st. We’ve got the whole conference packed with great stuff for you to grow as a camp leader.

If you’re unable to attend, keep an eye out for news about regional conferences and events in 2012, as well as our National Conference!

One more piece of news: CCI/Canada is gearing up to launch its brand new website. I hope you’ll keep your eyes peeled for it, because it’s going to be great. By this time next week, it should be totally up and running and ready for you to explore. We’ll keep you posted about how our new Members-Only Portal is going to work. We’re really excited about all of this, and we know you’ll all appreciate our swanky new site.

Well, camp friends, I hope you’re able to attend ELI next week! And if not, I hope you’re still finding ways to improve your ministry all the time.

Moving Forward: 2011 Executive Leadership Institute

The 2011 Executive Leadership Institute (East) is coming up quick, and I’ve got all the information you need to attend!

Many of you may have attended one of CCI/Canada’s Executive Leadership Institutes in the past — and if you have, you know that it’s an incredible time of learning, networking, and growing your camp’s potential. This year’s theme is Moving Forward. We’ve got excellent speakers lined up to inspire you to lead your camp in the most effective ministry.

Here’s everything you need to know to register:

When?
November 21-23, 2011

Where?
Muskoka Bible Centre, in Muskoka Woods, Ontario

What is ELI?
ELI (Executive Leadership Institute) is CCI/Canada’a premier leadership training event of 2011. Join us for a two-and-a-half day leadership experience, packed with teaching and insight for personal growth, team enhancement, leadership training and decision making. How do you, in 2011, move your camp forward? What are the obstacles to overcome? How do you make sure everyone is “on the same page”?

Moving Forward – Who is the Leader? 
On Monday night, we welcome Jim Cantelon to speak to us about who we are and what issues in our lives may stand in the way of our camp moving forward.

Moving Forward – What is your Camp Culture?
Tuesday and Wednesday we will work with Ron denOtter, co-author of Building Healthy Organizations. Ron will help us discover patterns of thinking that may prevent our camps from moving forward. Be prepared to challenge your perceptions (or misconceptions) and increase your capacity as a leader.

So how can you register?
We’ve put together an information package for you to read about the speakers, see a schedule, and — most importantly — fill out a registration form! Click here to view that package.

Once you’ve filled out your registration form, you can send it back to us by any of the following ways:
Fax: (780) 922-3944
Email: Sharon Fraess, director@cci-canada.ca
Mail: CCI/Canada, 51505 Range Road 215, Sherwood Park, AB, T8E 1H1

You can pay by cheque (through regular mail) or with a credit card (indicated on your registration form).

Remember that there are discounts for early registration and multiple attendees! It’s worth it for you to register quickly!

No matter how large or small your camp may be, you will benefit by attending!

See you there!