Almost 50 years ago (Aug. 23, 1972) a group of pastors and Christian businessmen formed a non-profit corporation and purchased the property that became The Anchorage Camp with $60,000.00 of borrowed money. I have been privileged to be involved from the very beginning, first as a reckless teen staffer more interested in meeting girls than in anything spiritual, but growing eventually into the role I have now filled for 42 years.
The Anchorage was founded with much zeal but not much experiential knowledge. The feeling back then was that any facility in a rustic setting with ‘skeeters and red bugs, a mattress that smelled like an old sock, and access to a swimming hole was enough to run a successful, fruitful camping program. Such was not the case.
From the beginning the prospect of a long and fruitful ministry was not realistic. Numerous leadership changes in the first 6 years of operation did not translate into credible stability. Initial debt increased to even more debt as the need to upgrade facilities and personnel became critical.
When the ‘80’s rolled around the crushing debt combined with the lack of a credible ministry record and a train wreck economy had the ministry of The Anchorage on the ropes. Other than complete confidence that God had established the ministry of The Anchorage for His purposes there was no rational consideration that the ministry would, could, or even should continue. By late summer of 1987 the camp property was within mere hours of folding and its assets dispersed.
God intervened through His people at the last possible moment to preserve the property and set us on a course for radical renovations and expansion, providing the underpinnings for the growing, thriving ministry we commemorate today.
As we faced the imminent collapse of the ministry the suffocating helplessness weighed heavily on my walk of faith. It was an excruciating journey that I am truly thankful I experienced but would not wish on anyone else. I have not felt such angst since then. However, facing the specter of financial failure, particularly potential default on debt as we entered the pandemic shutdown followed by the political and economic upheaval reminiscent of the ‘80’s easily could have driven me back to the brink. But God’s incredible provision in the 80’s kept me from following the path to faithless despair. He once again intervened through His people throughout the pandemic so that we now approach our 50th anniversary with complete confidence in our purpose and in the strongest financial position we have ever experienced.
After 50 years of ministry, changes are inevitable. We embrace those changes essential for another era of ministry opportunity. To successfully transition the camp into the new post-Covid normal the right program personnel are the most necessary element.
Securing those individuals who will sacrificially carry the camp into the next half century is our number one priority. Ensuring cash flow to maintain these personnel is the biggest obstacle.
Debt has been the thorn in our side for all 50 years of our existence. There are about 2½ years pending on the mortgage which is the only debt we now carry. The single most proactive step we can make as we transition into a new generation of ministry is to immediately eradicate our debt. $65,000.00 will pay off the mortgage and instantly increase our cash flow sufficient to provide adequately for the necessary personnel.
As the Lord has led us before He is leading us now through this debt obstacle once again. Friends are providing a matching incentive specifically for eradicating our debt. For every $2 dollars donated they will match with a $1 donation. In other words, gifts totaling $43,333.00 will be matched by another $21,666.00 so that all our debt will be wiped out for the first time in the 50 years of our existence.
The ability to face a new era of ministry without fear of default on the property is a worthy goal. To further be able to support a new generation of personnel with adequate cash flow and move forward boldly for the long-term is the opportunity of a lifetime. Only the Lord, whose ways are far above our ways, could have utilized the most potentially devastating economic scenario—the Covid shutdown—to provide the economic stability we have long prayed for and also “a plain path [Psa. 27:11]” for moving into the future with confidence.
Of all the funding opportunities for this ministry that have been before us, this provides the most potential for long-term benefit. Every gift towards this project from now until February 15, 2022, is eligible for this matching incentive. All gifts will be applied to debt reduction.
There will be plenty of obstacles to this ministry that a new generation of servants will have to face. God has orchestrated this opportunity at this time so that the angst of financial failure due to crises not of our making doesn’t have to be one of them.
I am as motivated about this opportunity as I was in ’87 when I realized there actually was a future for the property. The prospect to function without debt has been a 50-year journey and is the most positive move we can make at this time.
Please support this debt eradication effort as the Lord leads. Thank you for your friendship and support.
Yours for the cause of Christ,