Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 9 September 2015
Page 16

Questions and Answers

Send your religious questions to editor@gospelgazette.com

How Are Camps Organized
in the Churches of Christ?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Louis Rushmore“How are camps organized in the churches of Christ?” someone inquires. Much of the time if not nearly always, Christian camps are organized by members of the churches of Christ instead of by one or more congregations of the churches of Christ. The distinction is that families who have a keen interest in the spiritual and physical welfare of their children and the children of others, too, arrange for camp facilities and camp activities for children. Several families may cooperate with each other to make a Christian camp possible.

On the other hand, a congregation may see a Christian camp as an opportunity for participating in one or more of the assignments for which the Lord’s church is responsible to the Lord. Usually, those church duties are recognized as involving benevolence, edification and evangelism. Therefore, it is possible that a congregation might view a Christian camp as an extension of its efforts toward edification – efforts that often manifest themselves in Bible classes and preaching. In addition, particularly when non-Christians attend (i.e., members’ children who have not obeyed the Gospel yet or children of non-members), a church may view its participation in a Christian camp as an extension of its effort to evangelize lost souls. Noting that some children who may benefit from attending a Christian camp cannot afford the nominal expenses required, a congregation may consider it a matter of benevolence along with edification or evangelism to make it financially possible for such children to attend.

Hence, how a Christian camp, for instance, is organized depends on whether it is the result of Christian parents banding together to provide for its existence, or whether a congregation of the Lord’s church considers it as an outgrowth of divine responsibilities (i.e., benevolence, edification or evangelism).


Is It Biblical to Select a Board to
Oversee an Activity of the Church?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Someone poses the question, “Is it biblical to select a board to oversee an activity of the church?” In the first place the question is too general to categorically answer satisfactorily. Who is doing the selecting? What is the activity being ascribed to the church as its responsibility? In addition, the word “oversee” may be viewed as prejudicial to an answer to the question since the word “oversee” in Scripture pertains to the duties of elders. An answer cannot be adequately stated that would appropriately speak to all of the possible unknown variables potentially either within the question or lying with how someone else might decide to apply it.

Therefore, I cautiously offer these considerations. If elders of a local congregation are the ones doing the selecting, they certainly do rely on other congregational members and sometimes non-Christians also to help accomplish duties for which they are responsible to oversee (e.g., ministers, deacons, secretaries, janitors, grounds keeping, etc.). Not even deacons necessarily do what they do all by themselves. The phrase, “But let these also first be tested [“proved” KJV]…” (1 Timothy 3:10 NKJV) among the qualifications for the appointment of deacons indicates that these men were already working for the Lord in the local congregation – and amenable to the elders and likely to a deacon who is responsible for a specified area of labor, who in turn reports to the elders. Don’t call the arrangement anything or refer to it as a committee or as a board and we have the same activity.

There are also activities outside of a local congregation that may be organized by Christians, such as a Christian camp. Those cooperating Christian families may find it helpful to appoint a committee or board to represent them in the day-to-day activities of providing a Christian camp for children. A group of Christians may decide to collaborate in providing Christian literature (e.g., books, Bible class lessons, sermon outline books, Gospel magazines, etc.). In doing such, they may find it useful to organize themselves to achieve various responsibilities to make their effort viable. In either of these two scenarios, individual Christians have responsibilities and liberties respecting the edification as well as the evangelizing of Christians and non-Christians.

Congregations can and should help, but parents have the primary responsibility for rearing their children (Ephesians 6:4; 2 Timothy 1:5). A set of parents may go it alone, or there is no reason why they could not voluntarily cooperate with other parents where they see the value in doing so respecting the rearing of their children. Congregations may have their local programs to encourage their respective members to practice benevolence, edification and evangelism, but the church has no capacity to accomplish any of these areas of responsibility without the activity of individuals. Programs encourage Christians to do what they are supposed to be doing already. Please, let us not hinder Christians who have the initiative to be actively involved in what we often call the mission of the church.

Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. (Mark 9:38-41)


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