October 5, 2021
Wheaton College’s HoneyRock Center for Leadership Development hosted a conference on Christian Camping and Fatherless Ministries from September 27 through October 1. The meeting was led by Psalm68five Ministries and hosted by HoneyRock staff.
It’s estimated that almost 24.7 million children live without their biological father due to death, prison, divorce or military service. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, research shows that children who grow up without a father figure are more likely to become drug addicts, have a greater risk of poverty and an increased likelihood of suffering from behavioral problems or abuse.
To speak into this issue, Wheaton College’s HoneyRock Center for Leadership Development hosted a conference on Christian Camping and Fatherless Ministries from September 27 through October 1. The meeting was led by Psalm68five Ministries and hosted by HoneyRock staff.
The goal of Psalm68five Ministries is to engage, educate, and inspire Christian camps to either start or expand their offerings geared towards the needs of the fatherless.
“Christian camps help fatherless youth get away from often dysfunctional or unsafe living environments and into a safe, nurturing environment where these children can hear about God’s special love for the fatherless. Christian camps can also help fatherless youth work through anger and forgiveness issues by learning to take their wounds to the Cross of Christ,” explains Bryan Johnson, Executive Director and Founder of Psalm68five Ministries and Camp for the Fatherless.
The Fatherless Camp Ministry Summit at HoneyRock welcomed representatives from 30 camps from across the country. Participants learned from a variety of speakers, including a handful from Wheaton College, on how to orient camps to better serve their fatherless ministry.
In addition to Johnson, speakers included: Philip Ryken, President of Wheaton College; Rob Ribbe, Director of HoneyRock and Assistant Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry; and Scottie May, Wheaton College Associate Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry Emerita. Ryken spoke about “God’s heart for the fatherless” according to scripture and the church’s role in caring for these children, said Johnson. May talked to Christian camps leaders about how they can connect with fatherless youth through experiential ministry.
“We started working with Psalm68five in 2015. While our work with Psalm68five has benefitted our programming at HoneyRock immensely, we're also blessed to be in a place that we can help share it with others free of charge. This Summit, which was free for camp leaders, is the start to reach all camps and help them pursue and meet the unique needs of fatherless children,” says Ribbe.