My Camp Staff Experience in Allendale

I started the Camp Staff Experience program last summer expectant. I was confident that the Lord would work in and through each member of the team, and I was excited to return to a place I have grown to love.


Even so, as I sat with the other camp staffers and was asked to describe my current relationship with God, I felt spiritually dry. I was coming off of a grueling semester that wore me down mentally, physically, and spiritually. Honestly, I felt weak and tired, and I think that scared me. I was not naïve in thinking the summer would be easy. I knew it was going to challenge me in ways I had never been challenged before, so I was wishing I felt energized and super close to the Lord. I wanted to appear to “have it all together” when I frankly did not.

I came to realize that the season I was in was different than I expected or originally desired. After being encouraged and challenged from the other camp staff, I came to terms with the differences my season held and realized my responsibility was to be obedient with what was in front of me. Ultimately God knew what I needed and when.

He showed up like he always does. He met me where I was – feeling weak and undisciplined. He was present in the endless disciplining moments with campers. He invited me into the immense joy, unrelenting stubbornness, and tangible neediness of the campers around me and opened my eyes to these characteristics in myself as well. He reminded me of my dependence on him. He worked through our team’s unity. And through it all, he pulled me slowly, incrementally, out of the rut that I felt I was in and back into the joy and freedom that he provides.

“He met me where I was – feeling weak and undisciplined.”

I am encouraged to reflect on the life change that God brought about in me this summer and how he used the beautiful chaos of the camp environment to do that. And as I widen my perspective, I am reminded that my life is just one of the countless others that God is intimately involved in.

I am overwhelmed to think of God’s goodness and sovereignty when I consider how many people are included between local church pastors and staff, Grace pastors, Grace student ministry leaders, Grace small group leaders, Grace high school students, Grace families, local church congregations, local volunteers, campers, and the campers’ families. I am confident that in some way, we were all impacted by the Lord this summer through Camp Impact. How incredible is it to think that God used Camp Impact to bring about life change in different ways in so many groups of people?

2 Corinthians 3:18 states, “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”

As believers, we are all being sanctified—continually being made to look more like Jesus. I am so thankful for that. He allows us to be transformed to look less like our sinful selves and more like him. For us all, whether we are receptive to what God desires to do in us or not, we all experience the Lord in some capacity. Our God is personal. Our God is powerful. He desires each of us to know him, to love him, and to walk in his ways.

His involvement in our stories enables us to learn and grow from him in different ways, all at the same time, and all while impacting one another’s experiences.

“Our God is personal. Our God is powerful. He desires each of us to know him, to love him, and to walk in his ways.”

Thank you to all who were a part of my Camp Impact experience. It was a genuine privilege to work alongside each of you to help make camp happen. It is a joy to know that just as God met me where I was this summer, he did the same for you. I am free to rest in the truth that God will continue to do so in whatever season you or I am in.

I invite you to take part in Grace’s involvement in Allendale! Whether it is supporting us in prayer, encouraging someone to go that is reluctant, or coming yourself—I would love to see how the Lord chooses to change you while He changes me.

-Rachel Stanbro, Anderson Campus

Applications to be on Camp Staff for 2019 are now open! Find out more information at