From guest blogger Rev. Kevin Van Brunt, CCCA Board Member and Executive Director, Camp Sentinel, (Center Tuftonboro, N.H.)
One of the goals of Camp Sentinel is to “feed and nourish the local church.” I reflect on this often, and this fall I was called to act. A local pastor in town left the church after just four months. Campers and camp staff attend this church; I felt a tug at my heart to help. I offered to cover Sunday morning services a couple times a month and provide weekly soul care for the congregation in this small, but strong New England church.
This church office offers me a quiet place to reflect while placing me right in center of the community where our camp is located. I have become quite fond of the sound of the carillon, the bells in the church steeple, which ring at noon and 6 p.m. They make a beautiful tune of worship for the community to hear.
A few weeks back, the bells went silent and people noticed. A neighbor noticed and called the man who donated the bells to the church and is a snowbird in Florida. He called the church and the secretary called me. I called the person in charge of the buildings and grounds of the church. After some research, we discovered it was unplugged, which is a message for another day. It now rings again.
The following week I heard it ringing again, and it caused me to reflect on the sounds we hear. I asked myself, if the church wasn’t here, would the community notice? Even deeper, I thought what “bell” sound does Camp Sentinel make throughout the local community. What sound do people hear us make? Is camp a sweet sound reflecting Christ or an irritant driving people away? If all people hear is the camp community sounding, “what we can get from the town,” “they should feel fortunate to have us,” or dodging property taxes and taking up real estate, then they see a false impression of Christ and the Bible. We need to be a sweet sound.
What we are to the local community around us needs to reflect the light and be a calm encouraging sound of Christ. Our “bell” sound should be that of how we can help the community in which we exist. Are we giving back? Are we appreciating the vast mission field directly in front of our door? As we head into the upcoming summer season, be reminded that our communities hear our “bell” sounds. The question is what tune are you playing and how is it being received?