Getting Real About the Future of Outdoor Ministry with Nick Yarde
Bishop Julius C. Trimble is the Resident Bishop of the Indiana Area of the United Methodist Church.
Bishop Trimble has the personal mission to encourage all people with the love of Jesus Christ to rise to their highest potential. It is his commitment to his personal mission that led Bishop Trimble to create the “To Be Encouraged” Podcast along with co-host Rev.Dr. Brad Miller.
Bishop Trimble says, “I am compelled by Jesus to share with you an encouraging word or two about Jesus, theology, the Bible, the pandemic, the environment, racism, voting rights, human sexuality, and the state of the United Methodist Church.”
To Be Encouraged with Bishop Julius C. Trimble is to be published weekly and is available at www.tobeencouraged.com and all the podcast directories.
Nick Yarde is Bishop Trimble's Guest on Episode 044. Nick serves as the Associate Director of Camps and Retreats Ministries in the Indiana Annual Conference -The United Methodist Church.
Episode 043 is part 1 of a two part episode. Part one is available at this link:https://tobeencouraged.com/episode/043
Nick Yarde has a deep connection to the Camping Ministry. It was at Junior High camp that he solidified his faith. While finishing his Master’s degree in Natural Resources Agency Management at Purdue University, Nick served as a youth pastor at Battleground UMC. After brief stays at Lincoln and Turkey Run State Park, Nick returned to full-time ministry as the Director/Manager of Camp Rivervale. Prior to becoming the Association Director of Camp in the North Indiana Conference, Nick and his family were hosted at Camp Indi-Co-So and Camp Lakewood. Currently, Nick serves as the Associate Director of Camps and Retreats Ministries. His wife, Nanette, has served along of him in each role at the various UMC camps while raising their three children
So we can talk more about Yeah, no. And I want to get to some actual testimonials here in a little bit here. And yeah, if you don't mind, a bishop mentioned something that I just think we just need to least touch on here. I hope I hope the answer that my question is no, but I'm afraid of maybe, yes. Bishop mentioned that. Have you seen any impact from the whole kind of agony in the church around disaffiliation? And, you know, human sexuality, and theology and division and all that type of thing? Have you seen any impact at all, in an outdoor ministry is in camping and retrieved ministry?Nick Yarde:
Yeah, I think there's, it's hard to identify all the ways I think that it, that it's impacted us, I mean, there's been some long term volunteers that have backed away. And that really kind of hurt because they were really, I mean, more than volunteers, they were just friends. And they just feel like, he can't support us as being United Methodists anymore. And that's a real surprise, surprise to me. And shock, I had just several different people over the last couple of months that that I used to be either attended church with them, or spent a lot of years working with them, you know, in different ministry settings, and to have them kind of turn away has really been tough. I'm not gonna lie is really is it gets discouraging at times. But But here's part of the encouraging part is, you know, when you look at the Summer Camp camp schedule, you'll see fewer and fewer numbers of camps actually on on the schedule. And that's, that's hard to admit and hard to do. But but here's the part of the reason. And part of the craziness is we've really worked with people of different kinds of opinions, things like that, and tried to put people together like, Hey, if you really have that opinion, and you don't think that we're right there with you, or whatever, what about this other person, like they're there, too, and maybe you guys could get together and run out a camp program. And we don't have to put it on the schedule, or we will if you want, and you can kind of targeted it specifically the way that you want to and, and that's been really successful from the standpoint of keeping people involved and continuing to ministry to students, in places and in ways that we probably wouldn't be able to before. So, so that's been encouraging to me. And we continue to look, in fact, our board meets, we have our annual retreat this week, it's Thursday and Friday of this week. And one of the things our boards looking at is, is what else can we do in this area? Like who else can we partner with? Who else can we put together who, you know, what are the are there obstacles to some of our, our current congregations that are that are struggling with whether to come or not? What are some of the obstacles that we might look at and say, hey, you know, if we, if we change this policy, if we did this with that, would that keep your interest in camping, and give us the ability to administer no more kids. And so I think continuing down that road, it's it is unfortunate to see fewer weeks of Camp open to everyone, but it's encouraging to see the number of, you know, small groups of people putting together really substantial and, and productive ministry weeks. So that's one of the outcomes.Bishop Julius Trimble:
Vichy, I would hope that nicked it, I would hope that there, you know, obviously some things you don't compromise, you know, there's certain certain lines, you wouldn't cross and in order to say, hey, whatever you want to do, we're willing to make the camp available. You can do it any way you want to do it. And I'm sure there's there's some some guideposts some parameters within that, that people do have to abide by. And I think camps have always been somewhat adaptive anyway. So I would hope that would continue to be the case. I've often said to them, I always felt like, I remember going to camp. And maybe this is a romantic memory. That never really happened. Brett, I don't know. I remember the asking the question about who owns this camp. And I remember them saying, it's your camp. I was a kid. I can say this may be something I dreamed that didn't really happen, but I believe it was, you know, they told me it was my camp. And I'm thinking like, you know, how can I own this camp? And her say, no as your camp when you're here at Camp, this is your account. So so that's kind of when people say well, who you know, want to argue over who you know, who owns the camp that I'm of the belief that the peep the kids who go to camp and adults are at camp, people who are experiencing God in nature, you know, this is God's This is God's creation. You know, we're stewards of it the United Methodists, Indiana conference Union, but but your experience it's not about who owns the deed or the in need to the to the to the camp building,Brad Miller:
Bishop and Nick, I was off when I was highly involved with youth ministry, I've served a term as our conference youth coordinator, and as mentioned, been involved with Camping Ministry and outdoor Ministries for a lot of years. But often people say something affected me when I go speak at churches and whatever, hey, the youth are the church of tomorrow, we got to support them. And I've always tried to correct them. No, the youth and the children are your church right now. Right now. So it's all we're all in this together. So here's what I want to ask you, both of you regarding this. What is the future of our church in relationship to its to add support and its relationship of outdoor ministries and children and youth ministries? Where are we going with this particular Bishop? Do we have the support of the Episcopal see of the cabinet of, of pastors of larger churches and so on? And, Nick, I'd like you to speak to this area, what's our future moving forward?Bishop Julius Trimble:
Well, I can be pretty brief. You know, one of the emphasis now for a couple of years, and that I helped, that I helped initiate not by myself alone was children matter most. And the purpose of children matter most was really to lift up not just little children, or elementary aged children, but the fact that if children really matter, most all children matter, all children, youth and families that are impacted matter. So I've said this consistently, even before coming, Indiana that I'm unapologetically Christian on the same of the United Methodist, and unapologetically a supporter of camping and outdoor ministries, and for access to camping and outdoor ministries. So as we've emphasized, children matter most upset, you know, one of the one of the spokes ought to be, you know, us promoting, promoting camping and camping through the resources, we have some conferences have made financial decisions where they no longer have camps throughout their state or their fiscal areas. So even if they wanted to they, you know, they kind of outsource thatBrad Miller:
or was alluding to, I'm aware about that. So as we kindBishop Julius Trimble:
of made that decision that hasn't changed, you know, I won't be Bishop much longer. So I want to have have that. But you know, Nick, Nick, I think it's just as important. And that's always a challenge before I before I was a bishop when I was a pastor of a local church, our church was relatively close to one of the camps, we kind of called it our camp, you know, it was kind of one of those things. But But I know that sometimes pastors have things that their larger pastors have larger congregation who have their own kind of direction. But I've always as a bishop tried to make sure we kept communication lines open with, with pastors, because I think pastors in particular, have a lot to do with whether it can be ministry is gonna go well, and through it through a church or through an annual conference, if you kind of lose your pastors as as, as promoters at the camp, it becomes much more difficult with just conference staff or whatever, to promote camping.Brad Miller:
So I think the question has to do with the future of camping, outdoor ministries and relationships with the overall church moving forward.Nick Yarde:
Yeah, yeah. And I would just agree with everything that bishop just said, particularly from the standpoint of children matter. Most I know, a couple of podcasts ago, you spoke to Emily crash. And Jen, often one of the things that bishop said during that, you know, again, was children matter most, and he he alluded to that, but but then spoke to it quite a bit. And again, go back and read it and listen to that podcast, because I agree with everything you said there, Bishop, if I would, I would summarize it this way. In fact, if you're not ministering to students in your church, you're not for real about making disciples for Jesus Christ. I mean, I just believe thatBishop Julius Trimble:
I just believe, approach you.Nick Yarde:
Yes, please do. And you don't have to quote me. I mean, again, I I thought,Bishop Julius Trimble:
the research bears.Nick Yarde:
Yeah, it does. It does. And so if you're willing to ignore 80%, of all all the people that are ever going to make a decision for Christ, if you're willing to, to, to ignore that entire population, and the fact that the people that stay in the church are the ones that made the decisions before they got out of high school. So not only is the the number 80 or 90%, of everybody that's ever going to make the decision, but the people who stay. So if you make a decision for Christ, if you're 22 years old, you're 70 to 80% more likely to eventually leave the church, as opposed to someone who made that decision younger. And so if you're not serious about introducing Christ to students, you're really not serious about making disciples at all. And I would just, I would just end right there. I mean, that's just the reality. So one of the things you said in that podcast Bishop was you spoke to the fact that you don't a lot of people in our churches say we don't have any students that Add in what you said then I completely agree with this is one of the worst excuses I've ever heard for not doing ministry are we ever you know, this church and every single county, you know, every county has kids in foster care. Every county has kids that are hungry. Every county has kids that don't have food that don't have clothing that don't have the necessities of life. And you can't sit there in a church and say, We don't have any kids in our community.Bishop Julius Trimble:
I Brad, I told you, if we got Nick wound up, going good, I told you all we needed was a little bit more time.Brad Miller:
This is awesome here and we could go all day. But I do want to bring us around to something I think is important to hear here today. And I love your passion. Nick and Bishop you and I are fired up about it. As I mentioned my background in this area, in idle see the church really happy without outdoor ministries campaign to me, it's just not church. You know, it's just not I literally drove by camp monito. Last week, it reminded me of my own calling as a 10 year old, about a fifth grader when I went when I went by there not too long ago. But anyway, what I'm getting at reason why I need to mention that. And Nick, I'd really love to hear this from you. Let's have a testimony. About a you mentioned how this past summer you even spent a week as a middle school counselor, but I'd love to hear a testimony about a child or young person or even adult who really had a life transformation. As a result of camping, outdoor ministers. Can you tell us a story?Nick Yarde:
Man, there are so many good stories I can tell. Let me let me take one about a young man, we used to do a lot of tripping programs. And I led a lot of the the more extreme adventure ones partly because there were just so many certifications and safety things that we had to make sure were in place. But I had a young man at a rock climbing camp, who was just really struggling. I mean, from day one, he was just struggling with everything. He was struggling with his faith. He was struggling with his his his parents use a came from a single family parent situation he was just struggling with everything. I mean, the kid was just a case. And man, just the ministry to him. I remember it was the second second climb we did. So we were out on a rock face on a on a on a really stony rock face. It was kind of a cliff. And he was trying to climb up and and. And just out of frustration he finally just gives up and this can be done just can't be this can't just can't do this. Like what what and and in we talked about it in in the the can't in the in the you know what? What do you need to do to do things in life that you just can't do? I mean, so you can't do this on your own? What do you need? I need help. So what how do you get help when you need it? And he's like, Well, it's church camp. So I pray right, you know, and so we just went through this whole exchange. And and, and I just think that, you know, as we went through this, it took a long time to tell the story. And I don't want to I don't want to take up all the time. But the kid was transformed. The kid was transformed, he contacted me several years after that. And he was still a young man but had a child of his own and was just reflecting on his experience at camp and, and how it kind of tweaked him and, and how he just needed a conversation to even just remember that time and just say, you know, this, this, I need to I need to remember how to ask for help. I need to I need to you know, look to my my grounding. He says, you know that my how I got to where I'm at how I even made it this far. And he's like, Man, I just appreciate that. The fact that I can look back and say I was grounded here, I have a foundation, I have faith, right? I have, I have something nobody can take away from me. And when I can, when I look around and see everything's going wrong, or things are just hard. I can say, Look this I'm more than this. I have a grounding I have other people I have people I can reach out to and call I can I can go back to my church and and just those kinds of moments. And and you know, I've been in the ministry long enough where I've seen those students come up and their kids come to camp and man I could I could tell six dozen stories about kids, kids that were at camp and it's just astounding how that makes not only a difference in the life, it just makes a family difference from then on.Brad Miller:
It makes a generational and inspirational difference. And here's the good news, Nick and Bishop. That story. That testimony is multiplied hundreds and 1000s of times just in our United Methodist camps in Indiana alone and let alone have outdoor ministries that are going to everyone who hears us around the world, multiple times generationally as well. So, yay, God for that. And here's the good. Here's also the good news. And the challenge, I believe, moving forward, do not our kids in 2022, and in the next year, they deserve the same those adults serve deserves the same. And the future of the church is in many ways, intricately linked to us being making a commitment to the generational faith story that we have from our heritage. But also our destiny moving forward has to do with Christ is lived out in those outdoor ministries experiences. So thank you, I want to say thank you, Nick, for sharing here today. And Bishop I know you want to join me in thanking Nick for joining us and you want to put a kind of wrap up our conversation with any words of thanks, you maybe have any encouraging words that you may have about outdoor ministries, and maybe have a closing prayer for us?Bishop Julius Trimble:
Absolutely. Again, thank Nick and you will continue to be in our prayers you and your family. And I didn't realize you had been doing this for so so long. But I'm I'm grateful that you have been doing it and you still have the the enthusiasm after all these years to to not only to serve in this leadership role, but to motivate staff and also to be able to proclaim the good news of the camps and the good news of Christ through camping. The Bible says the earth is the Lord's the psalmist says earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. And all who dwell there in the summertime, we skip over to the people part and we forget that the Earth meaning the trees in the soil and, and the birds and the rivers, and the wildflowers and all of that belongs to God. So thank you for the for your stewardship and for your leadership. Brand. One of the things about outdoor ministry sometimes it kind of goes kind of unnoticed in the life of the annual conference, people in Nick's name, you know, have Nick's job, it's a big job. He's got a big title. But people don't see him like they see the superintendents or, or the treasurer of a conference or a bishop. But it is so intricate when you think about the data that he just share. So thank you, Nick. And please extend that thank you. Because I know often Nick is always saying it's not him, but other people that are doing a lot of camp directors and so forth program directors. So I know it's it's a big, big team. So thanks so much for that. And just to our listeners, I would say you know whether, wherever you are, may God bless you. May God be above you. This was shared in our in our family, family messaging, that one of my brother, my brother lop off the post things every morning, God bless you. May God be above you to bless you. May God be below you to support you. May God be before you to guide you. May God be behind you to protect you. May God be beside you to comfort you. And may God be inside you to give you strength and joy. In God's name in Jesus name. We pray that you be encouraged this day and the days which are ahead. Amen.Brad Miller:
Amen. Well, Nick, thank you for joining us today and one things I neglected to do and I want to make sure we do that right now. If people want to learn more about you or about outdoor ministries, do you have a website or place that people can find out more about your benefit Indiana Can you give that to us please?Nick Yarde:
Absolutely. There's a link right on the conference webpage you can get there so you can go to that connection or if you want to jump directly to its impact to 818 dot com. So you can go there also