Our Approach to Ministry
Lutherhaven’s Approach to Ministry
Lutherhaven Ministries is historically Lutheran. That means we especially take to heart the Apostle Paul’s words from Ephesians 2: 8-10 – We believe by God’s grace we are saved through faith—not because of anything we have done, not by works, but as a gift of God, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Camp Lutherhaven opened in 1946 as a summer camp for service members returning from World War II and Lutheran families from north Idaho, Eastern Washington, and northeast Oregon. Five historic Lutheran denominations—the American Lutheran Church, Augustana Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, and United Lutheran Church—joined in Lutherhaven’s founding.
Lutherhaven Ministries remains distinctive as a “multi-Lutheran” outdoor ministry. Congregations from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), and Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) all participate in Lutherhaven, alongside many other Christian churches. In that diversity, Lutherhaven’s congregations unite in a common purpose to build meaningful Christian community, sharing Jesus’s redeeming love amidst God’s magnificent creation. Creation, Community, and Christ lay the foundation of our mission.
We invite and welcome all people into our mission!
We believe God created us, our world, and everything in it—and declared it good! Because of our sin, God’s creation has been fouled. Yet God’s creation remains deeply planted in our souls, a creation without greed, malice, or envy; without pollution or extinction; without broken relationships, poverty, warfare, or abuse; without racism, violence, broken hearts, or marginalization. As the Imago Dei—image-bearers of God—we carry in our beings the “genesis” of who God created us, and God’s world, to be.
At Lutherhaven we believe God is transforming us in Christ into a new community. Paul writes in Colossians, “There is no distinction…Christ is all, and is in all.” As God’s holy, dearly loved people, we embrace compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We bear with one another and forgive one another as God forgives us. Above all, God’s love calls us to peace (see Colossians 3).
At Lutherhaven we believe Jesus Christ—God’s Son—died for the sins of the whole world. Jesus did not discriminate: the salvation of all creation, all people was purchased by the blood of Jesus on the cross. We are therefore united at the cross of Christ and called to live in that unity. Paul writes in Galatians that through faith in Christ Jesus we are adopted children of God, clothed together with Christ, one in Jesus, heirs of God’s promises (see Galatians 3).
Lutherhaven strives to live out God’s call to peace and unity, and encourages all who come to value who we are in Christ. “A new command I give you,” said Jesus: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another” (see John 13).
Lutherhaven is a place where we practice how we love one another, especially in the midst of our differences. We follow Paul’s words from Romans 14: “Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” We are not the place where issues that divide are likely to be resolved. But in Christ, we can acknowledge our own shortcomings and open ourselves to mutual understanding, learning, and growth, and be a place where differences between us are recognized, respected, and reconciled (see Ephesians 2:14).
At Lutherhaven Ministries, such respect means giving one another the space—and grace—for diverging views to be shared in sincere community that strives to genuinely engage with others and understand where the are coming from. Paul encourages us to “walk in a manner worthy of our calling, with humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (see Ephesians 4). In our Christ-like endeavor to love one another, that might mean we agree to disagree. The authenticity of such a deep conversation is a demonstration for all to see that we are disciples of Jesus Christ.
In all this, we honor Lutherhaven’s rich history, unique spirit, and common mission. We are at heart a safe place for everyone to gather, worship, pray, question, learn, serve, and celebrate Christ-centered community. Christian faith formation, hospitality, and God’s boundless love in Jesus Christ compel us. We are united in sharing the amazing grace of Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit with all who walk our paths.