Scenic view of trees at camp

How Staffers Share the Gospel

by Valerie Morby


When a camper heads home after a week or two at Pine Cove, we hope they’re bringing with them the memories of silly skits, stories about their new friends, and maybe a few souvenirs and Ebenezers of their time at camp. Most importantly, though, we hope they’re leaving with a deeper understanding of the Gospel. 

Some campers at our elementary and middle school camps find the Bible confusing or even daunting. But our Christ-centered college staffers are equipped to communicate the Gospel in terms even our youngest campers can comprehend. This takes many forms, and it’s our joy to see these faithful counselors following the Spirit’s prompting to speak on their campers’ level to ensure the truth of God’s Word comes alive for them—no matter their background or level of understanding. 

For Silverado counselor Joi “Fuzzy” Hernandez, this looks like sitting down on the ground with a few pieces of chalk and an open expanse of concrete to sketch out a simple drawing to help her elementary-aged campers understand what God did for us. First, she draws two cliffs separated by “sin” in the middle. We’re on one side of the gap, and God is on the other. 

“And then I say, ‘Okay, if this little person were to jump across the cliff, do you think they can make it? Or do you think that they’re going to fall?’ And usually they’re like, ‘Yeah, I don’t think they’ll make it that far.'”

Joi then asks how we could reach God, eventually steering them toward the idea of a bridge. “And I draw the bridge and then I tell them, ‘This is who Jesus is! He is the bridge between sin and God!’” She walks them through 1 Corinthians 5:17 (“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”) and tells them about how Jesus lived a perfect life on earth before laying down His life for us. 

“And then I say, ‘Three days later, He rose again and defeated the grave, and so now He’s in heaven and we can rejoice that He is alive and that we can have Him in our hearts every single day without doubting!’” 

The images Joi draws, combined with the Truth she’s sharing, create an ideal visual for little second through fifth-grade eyes. Joi gets the opportunity to present the Gospel in a way that many of these kids have never heard before. She prays with them and spends the rest of the week continuing to invest in their lives and walking through any questions that might remain. 

Over at the Ranch, Justin “Murse” Yu had been thinking about how he could best communicate the Gospel to his sixth and seventh-grade campers. He knew that having some sort of tool or physical prop would help, and when he found a “pristine” stick at camp, he tucked it away in his backpack thinking it might be useful. He wasn’t exactly sure how to use it, but explains, “The Lord put it on my heart just to give a simple explanation of what the Gospel is through the stick.” When he pulled it out later, he knew exactly what he wanted to do: paint the Gospel.

Starting with a white line representing creation and moving through other colors representing important biblical events, Justin’s stick quickly became a tactile way to engage his campers and show them the reality of God’s story—and how we fit into it. Anyone who’s spent time around young middle school-aged boys knows the difficulty in keeping them engaged in the message, so Justin’s Gospel stick soon proved itself to be invaluable. 

“I was able to explain the Gospel through that stick where it wasn’t sitting them down and saying, “Let’s turn to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John,’ and doing that. But it’s more so taking out the stick and being like, ‘What do you guys see in this stick?’ And they’re just like, ‘There’s a bunch of colors on it.’ And I ask, ‘What do you think the colors mean?’ And just being able to have a conversation that way.”

Justin’s Gospel stick made sense to his campers. It was a simple and effective way for him to distill big concepts down to manageable segments that campers could physically point to, run their fingers over, and hold in their hands. The Gospel stick ended up being such a big hit with his campers that not only did it make an appearance at morning Flag (“They were just parading around camp chanting, ‘GOSPEL STICK!'”), but it became a tool he used repeatedly with campers throughout the summer.

“It’s been a really cool way of being able to present the Gospel in a way that isn’t just the ‘traditional way’ of just flipping through Scripture and reading it verbatim—which I think is important—but also being able to show how presenting the Gospel in different ways might be easier to understand.” 


These are just a few examples of how the Holy Spirit uses Pine Cove staffers to make the Gospel come alive and jump off the page. From marker illustrations on colorful pieces of paper to making up songs or telling stories, they are using their creativity, their knowledge of God’s story, and the Holy Spirit’s prompting to gently and effectively communicate the Gospel with their young campers. 

Through conversations and drawings and even painted sticks, the Lord is working and prompting the hearts of His people every day at camp. 

“This is what the Gospel is,” Joi says, “And it’s not just words, but it’s something that did happen in real life. These illustrations help us see what Jesus did for us.”

Posted Feb 7, 2024

Valerie Morby

Social Media and Copy Manager

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