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Camping Ministry

About the Camping Ministry Program

The camping ministry program through the Department of Theology provides foundational preparation for the unique ministry opportunities in Christian retreats and camps. The major combines course work in the theological disciplines, in Christian ministry, and in recreation to provide understanding and background for serving God and others in such specialized forms of Christian ministry. Students in the major and minor are expected to model a lifestyle becoming of a minister of Jesus Christ in covenant with the SAU program. Admission to the major/minor commits the student to a yearly renewal of this covenant through recommendations and review of the student’s campus life, academic performance and ministry activity.

Other programs offered through the Department of Theology include:

Why should you choose SAU’s camping ministry program?

Like other ministry programs offered at SAU, the camping ministry program helpfully integrates academic and experiential learning, so that the theoretical bases of ministry are linked to practical skills. The student is required to do vocational exploration in ministry (through class and service experience) as well as regular engagement in the field during summer vacation.

All ministry programs in the Department of Theology offer a creative blend of solid academics, practical ministry training and application and spiritual formation.

Courses, Course Descriptions & Four-Year Plan

The courses for the 55-hour camping ministry major include such subject areas as philosophy of ministry, exploring ministry, camping and retreat planning, counseling in ministry, recreation, parks and outdoor recreation, doctrines of the Christian faith, old and new testament studies, history of Christianity, Christian ethics and spiritual formation.

View the course requirements and layout, course descriptions, a sample four-year plan, as well as learn more about the camping ministry program at Spring Arbor University in the undergraduate catalog.

Career Opportunities

The camping ministry major is a “career entry” program for those who anticipate serving in a Christian retreat center or camp after graduation. While some forms of specialized work in such contexts may require specialized or additional education (e.g., counseling and recreation), this major focuses on the ways that retreats and camping may be developed.

The integration of recreational philosophy and strategies for spiritual formation and discipleship will help a student develop a philosophy of camping ministry.

To learn more about how Spring Arbor helps its graduates prepare for a career, visit our career development section.

On-Campus Opportunities

Spring Arbor University offers a wide range of activities and opportunities for students to get involved and apply what they’re learning in the classroom to real-world contexts. Here are some opportunities that may interest theology students:

  • Interfaith Shelter Ministries: Interfaith Shelter is a homeless shelter located in downtown Jackson. Spring Arbor students spend one day a week serving food and visiting with the people of the shelter. They also lead small group fellowships and organize an annual food and clothing drive. For information about volunteering at Interfaith Shelter, please call 517.789.8735.
  • Small Groups: Students have many opportunities to join a small group, whether it’s the Student Development and Learning small group program, a residence hall Bible study group, a prayer group, or accountability partners. Whatever your need, Spring Arbor will be able to fill it.
  • Spiritual Life Retreat: Although students always look forward to activities like the traditional four-square tournament and the Frisbee golf competition, the real reason for the Spiritual Life Retreat is spiritual development and genuine life change. More than 150 students steal away for a weekend of games, good food and a gratifying, spiritual jump start to the school year. Students literally sleep outside the student development office to reserve a space for this wildly popular event.
  • Spring Break Mission trips: During Spring Break, a handful of mission teams gear up and hit the road to minister to and serve people around the country and abroad. For information, contact Cecilia Said at

See a full list of the various activities and organizations available to students at Spring Arbor University.