Big Sky Bible Camp group shot
Big Sky Bible Camp Celebrates 75 Years of God’s Faithfulness
By: Jamy Landis, BSBC Director
It was the year 1944 when two BCM missionaries by the names of Jean Clark and Hazel Simonton followed God’s call from eastern United States to Big Sky country in western Montana. They journeyed first to Billings, then Bozeman, and finally to Missoula, starting after-school Bible clubs where they could teach God’s Word to students of all ages. In 1947, God led these two ladies to start a Bible club camp that would allow their after-school clubbers to experience the joys of summer camp. The first camp was held in Swan River country in the Flathead Valley near Kalispell, MT. About fifty campers came to that first camp to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thus were the humble beginnings of what is now Big Sky Bible Camp in Bigfork, MT, less than twenty miles from Kalispell where the Swan River flows into Flathead Lake, overlooked by the majestic icy-white glaciers of the Rocky Mountain range. Seventy-five years after that first camp, BSBC now reaches over a thousand campers each summer along with a special needs camp called Camp Promise (see Seventy Years in Big Sky Country, BCM World, 2017). With a background of Christian camp ministry in Alaska, I (Jamy) arrived in Bigfork with my wife Lisa and six children in 2008 to serve as director at Big Sky Bible Camp.
I am not a very sentimental individual. In fact, I depend on others to help in this area. But I believe there is biblical warrant for looking back, celebrating the faithfulness of God, and allowing this to propel us forward, especially during challenging times. So as we look back, let us also consider the next seventy-five years. The world has changed a lot since 1947. And I’m sure there will be even more dramatic changes by the year 2097. So let me use this opportunity of being encouraged through looking back to consider principles that are imperative as we move forward.
Foremost is faithfulness to the true gospel. At BSBC, the gospel drives everything we do from the songs we sing to the intentional relationships between permanent and summer staff to the conversations happening on porches and playhouses. We desire never to be belligerent with the gospel but rather to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). These are unprecedented times where every fiber of the culture is pressing against what God’s Word teaches. It is in this dark context that the opportunity of camp continues to shine through.
I have been in camping ministry for over twenty years now. As Miss Clark and Miss Simonton could verify were they still with us, I have seen God use the camp setting to bring countless dead hearts to life, to challenge believers in their doctrine and devotion, and to teach summer staff the value of serving others as Christ did. Rest assured, we at BSBC will continue holding to the true gospel, whatever the consequences for us as a ministry or as individuals. Our desire above all else as a ministry is to be faithful to God’s Word and the work to which He has called us.
Please join us in thanking God for seventy-five years of profitable ministry and faithfulness to God’s Word at Big Sky Bible Camp. Pray with us as well that God will continue using BSBC to accomplish His purposes over the next seventy-five years and more!
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