Our Approach to Ministry
Lutherhaven Ministries is historically a pan-Lutheran organization. A dream born from fox-hole conversations during World War II, Camp Lutherhaven was established in 1945 as a summer camp for returning servicemen and Lutheran families of the Inland Northwest. Significantly, congregations and members of five Lutheran denominations—the Missouri Synod, Augustana Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church, American Lutheran Church, and United Lutheran Church—were vital to Lutherhaven’s genesis.
Lutherhaven Ministries remains distinctive in the nation today as a pan-Lutheran outdoor ministry. We serve congregations from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA,) the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS,) Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC,) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC.) Campers and guests come from many, many other Christian churches, too, as well as those with no church affiliation. We also host a variety of public and secular guest groups.
Recognizing our diversity, member congregations unite at Lutherhaven in our common calling to tell kids, youth, and adults alike about the redeeming love of Jesus Christ within the unique setting of God’s creation.
One of the great attributes of Lutherhaven Ministries is that we encourage respect for others, moving us to listen to one another, hear what is being said and respond in ways which value who we are in Christ.
To that end, we follow Paul’s words in chapter fourteen of Romans, “Let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Camp is not the place where issues that divide our church bodies will be resolved; therefore those issues—whatever they may be—are not intentionally taught or engaged in as part of camp programs. Campers are encouraged to seek greater understanding on controversial issues from within the context of their family, home church, or trusted adult mentor. Programming and practices at camp are developed to honor our unique pan-Lutheran association, therefore we choose to lay aside that which could likely cause offense in the faith-life of members of our participating churches. We know that if a brother or sister is grieved by what we do, Lutherhaven is no longer walking in love, as Paul calls us to do in Romans 14.
In this way, we honor our rich history, unique spirit and common mission by being a safe place for all God’s people to gather, worship, pray, question, learn, serve and celebrate Christ-centered community. Christian faith formation, hospitality, and God’s boundless grace in Jesus Christ define us. Knowing we will certainly not agree on every issue that could so easily divide us, we agree in the Lord, as Philippians 4 reminds us. We stand together sharing the amazing grace of Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit with everyone who walks our paths.
Adopted by the Board of Directors
February 6, 2010