August 6, 2013
Our first year on the road, we were tourists. We explored small towns, national parks, historic sites and the startlingly empty places in between, as fast as we could. We were careful not to leave anything but footprints, but we realized that was exactly the problem.
Our first 15 years of marriage, we had actively given back to the North Carolina communities where we’d lived. I had spent my career in nonprofit management, and many longtime N&O readers will recall Dennis’ columns asking readers to volunteer at the USO or bring a gift to the Wake County Foster Children’s Angel Tree. It seemed like every other weekend he was involved in some crazy fundraiser, from grape stomps to beauty pageants to barbecue judging.
On the road, we missed that sense of purpose.
So when we began our second year of wandering, we joined an organization called NOMADS, a ministry of the United Methodist Church, where small groups of RVers come together for three-week service projects.
As NOMADS, we tore out sliding glass doors and replaced them with walls and windows to make children safer at a homeless shelter in downtown Phoenix. We cooked salsa and hot pepper jelly in Dubach, La., to raise funds for the Methodist Children’s Home’s Outdoor Wilderness Learning Center. In Chatham, Ill., we packed hundreds of plastic bags with toiletries and other necessities for disaster relief sites.
There are other RV ministries organizing volunteer efforts across the country. We chose NOMADS because they welcome all faiths, even us Unitarian Universalists.
State and federal agencies also embrace RV volunteers and post opportunities on volunteer.gov. Some of our RV-based friends volunteer as campground hosts and greet visitors for the National Park Service, National Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers. Others mow and whack weeds at historic sites or dress in period clothing to share our nation’s most fascinating stories. Some give directions, start films and clean bathrooms at fish hatcheries, visitor information centers and museums across the country.
We spent our last two months on the road at the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, La., where we opened and closed the gates at sunrise and sunset, picked up litter blown from boats and pickup truck beds, welcomed tourists in the gift shop, and occasionally fed the baby alligators in the Conservation Learning Center.
We were soundly pushed out of our comfort zone when faced with snakes and busloads of small children – both of which scare the beejeebers out of us – but we tried to embrace every adventure.
Most RV volunteer opportunities provide a free place to park the RV, generally with full utility hook-ups and a schedule that allows time to explore the area. Many provide a hat, shirt and name tag; some even offer free or discounted on-site amenities, like canoe rental, fishing or golf. Others allow you to connect, ever so briefly, with another soul.
March 18, 2013
Uploaded on Oct 12, 2011 to YouTube by Bob Marshall
From the 2011 Passion live album “Here For You”, this is Chris Tomlin singing “Lord I Need You” – sort of a modern-day version of the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour”.
Written by Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, and Matt Maher.
Yes,we “do” need Him. Without Him we have no hope, and we have no promise of salvation.
March 11, 2013
This spring Revive Our Hearts and Nancy Leigh DeMoss are hitting the road and traveling to eight different cities. Why? So you can learn more about the mission and message of Revive Our Hearts, be part of a recording session . . . and more!
In each city there is a two-day schedule featuring several events. A general schedule is below. See each particular city for more detailed information.
Date & Locations:
March 19–20 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
March 21–22 Houston, Texas
April 16–17 Chicago, Illinois
April 18–19 Grand Rapids, Michigan
May 14–15 Indianapolis, Indiana
May 16–17 Cleveland, Ohio
June 18–19 Lynchburg, Virginia
June 21–22 Lancaster, Pennsylvania
At this free evening event, you’ll hear stories of how God is working and changing lives through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. Shannon Wexelberg will lead in worship, and Nancy will share a message from God’s Word that’s on her heart. “An Evening with Nancy” is open to the public, so feel free to bring your family and friends.
Revive Our Hearts Radio Recording
9:00 a.m–12:00 p.m. (doors open at 8:15)
Be a part of a free half-day recording session. Hear Nancy’s teaching months before it airs, and see how a radio program gets put together from the ground up. (Open to women.)
If you’re a women’s ministry leader, register for a special luncheon where you’ll be encouraged to continue reaching and connecting to other women. (Cost: $15 – open to women serving in leadership capacities)
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
March 8, 2013
A routine morning in a small fishing town. Two brothers. Fishermen who had a poor catch last night.
They have no idea that they’re about to encounter a man who will change their lives forever. This stranger is different, simple, wise, vulnerable but strong… and he turns their world upside down.
Full of surprises, questions, confusion, pain, joy, and miracles- the story of Jesus and the disciples has fascinated us for two thousand years. Fish Eyes is a poignant and humorous look at how this God-man affected the world through two very human sets of eyes- Peter and Andrew.
“Humorous and insightful!”
“Once in a while something comes along that you connect with deeply and you wish everyone could experience that same thing. This play is that thing”
“This is great! Funny, interactive, and touching! I enjoyed the talk back with the actors after the show!”
This production is presently appearing at the Provision Theater in Chicago.
Moments from Fish Eyes, the play written by Lee Eshleman and Ted Swartz as performed by Rod Armentrout and Mark Demel. No complete show video is available of these two actors, however, they are available to perform Fish Eyes live for your church/organization, contact them at FishEyestheplay.com.
Please feel free to comment below.
September 20, 2012
(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that involves people in the acceleration of Bible translation, welcomes hundreds of volunteers each year who serve for a few weeks or several months without ever leaving the United States. And many of them stay at the organizations’ RV sites, located in Texas and Florida.
A majority of the volunteers are retired and travel seasonally to Texas and Florida from Canada and the northern U.S. states, especially Minnesota and Michigan. Between October and March, as many as 500 volunteers stay at the RV sites or in apartments on campus, serving at the Bible translation facilities in Orlando and Dallas.
“The level of skill and dedication these volunteers bring when they travel here is critical for Bible translation to advance,” said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates.
The volunteers’ tasks are widely varied and can include project management, accounting, maintenance work on the buildings and grounds, administrative work, kitchen and dining hall service, and working in the mail room or medical clinic.
Some volunteers serve for six weeks, while others stay for six months. Still others stay year-round. However, volunteering is a requirement for all those staying in one of the 69 RV spaces in Orlando or 42 spaces in Dallas.
Most volunteers serve four or five days a week, typically from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 or 4:00 p.m., depending on the nature of their assignments. They also meet for devotions four mornings a week and for chapel services on Sunday evenings.
Residents at the RV sites have opportunities to get to know each other through activities such as potlucks, socials, a talent night, an orchestra, and a Friday golf league, all organized by a volunteer social coordinator.
For more information regarding volunteering at Wycliffe Associates, contact:
May 17, 2012
by Bev Soenksen
as submitted to the GolfCoastNewsToday.com
With the above in mind, this verse was the catalyst for the organization of the Gulf Breeze RV Church which began in the fall of 2001with 12 people in attendance.
Sunday mornings now find more than 100 worshipers representing as many as 14 denominations gathering in the RV Park’s clubhouse located at 19800 Oak Road West, which is just off County Road 6 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Services are held from Nov. 1 through the following Easter each year.
Working through the owner of the RV Park, a winter resident was instrumental in getting the Church organized. His desire was to have a “teaching” rather than a “preaching” service for the park’s temporary residents.
Since the church’s inception, there have been three pastors. The current pastor is A. O. McGill, a permanent Island resident.
Helen Hastings has been the Pianist since 2001. One of the early decisions of the Church was to give its weekly offerings to the Christian Service Center – a practice still continued today.
And even though the congregation meets only six months each year, it is one of the Center’s most generous Church donors.
Bev Soenksen, the Church’s representative on the Center’s Board of Directors, said, “It is a great feeling to know a small group of people who meet only six months a year can make a difference at the CSC. We believe in what the Center does, and we consider it a blessing to be a part of their mission.”
February 23, 2011
By Duane Careb
We attempt to personally contact the owners in an effort to verify the existence of services and, when possible, talk to those involved in it’s administration – primarily the speakers. Although time consuming, these interviews have been very encouraging to both the campground owners and our ministry staff, as well.
The best resource for identifying these existing services is YOU!
No doubt, other RVers have told you about campgrounds hosting services or you personally have stayed at a campground that offered them.
Please take a moment and help us identify the campgrounds by simply completing the “Comments” section below. Give us as much information as possible – name, location, website, etc. We’ll do the rest!
You can serve other RVers visiting RVchurchesUSA daily who search our database. Of course, as others share their knowledge, you become the benefactor, as well. In this way, it’s a win-win scenario for all of us – campground owners, RVers and the Kingdom!
Don’t forget to check out our great articles emphasizing spiritual growth and secular RV-lifestyle as well as our resource page for RVers.
Thanks for your participation.
January 11, 2011Amelia Hadley Special to The Desert Sun • January 9, 2011
Out of the estimated 27,000 campgrounds in the United States, about 125 have embraced the trend.
Two are in the Coachella Valley.
“They love not having to leave their campground to go into town for a church service,” said Duane Careb, who created RVchurchesUSA.org in 2008. “Plus, people really enjoy learning about God in the setting of nature.”
More RVs are owned by Baby Boomers than any other group, according to a 2001 University of Michigan study commissioned by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. The generation also makes up the fastest-growing segment of the RV market.
Robert Ruesch, who founded Christian Resort Ministries in 2002, said RV’ers want “the peace of mind knowing they have a church-based support system waiting for them at their destination.”
Both men started their organizations to help out Baby Boomers who take to the road and want religion to come with them. They hook up RV resorts with pastors and musicians for church services.
“We’re a networking RV ministry,” said Careb.
At Sky Valley and Caliente Springs Resorts in Desert Hot Springs, attendance at Sunday services can be as high as 600 during winter months. Both have chapels, which is rare, Careb said.
Reverend Don Marienthal, 64, of Indio, is the senior chaplain of Sky Valley Ministry and oversees church services at both locations.
“My call to ministry is seniors; it’s where my heart is. They could be at the bottom of a coal mine or at an RV park, I just want to minister to seniors. It just so happens, there are a lot at RV parks,” Marienthal said.
Bible studies are on Wednesdays, hymn sings are regularly scheduled and Marienthal — along with three chaplains under his leadership — plan and conduct weddings and memorials.
Both chapels are nondenominational.
“In a park, you have a whole range of denominations, a blending of different positive influences in people’s lives,” said Roger Weber, who along with his wife, Wanda, lives at Sky Valley Resort six months a year.
“Having a nondenominational service every Sunday meets the needs of all the campers,” Weber said.
In 1997, the Webers bought an RV and began traveling throughout the United States.
They reserved space at the resort for one week.
They stayed for five months.
A retired accountant, Roger Weber now is treasurer of the Sky Valley Ministries board.
“The atmosphere is wonderful,” said Roger Weber, 78. “Having a church here is important to us.”
November 3, 2010Billy Graham is now 91-years-old with Parkinson’s disease.
Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson’s disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, ‘We don’t expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.’ So he agreed.
After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, “I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century.
Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.
“The conductor said, ‘Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.’”Einstein nodded appreciatively.
The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. “The conductor rushed back and said, ‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.’
Einstein looked at him and said, ‘Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”
Having said that Billy Graham continued, “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My children, and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing.”
“I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am. I also know where I’m going.” May your troubles be less, your blessings more, and may nothing but happiness, come through your door. “Life without God is like an un-sharpened pencil – it has no point.”
October 16, 2010by Robert N. Ruesch
an RVchurchesUSA Ambassador Christian Resort Ministries international (CRM) graduated 31 students recently who are now endorsed and qualified for service in RV Parks in the United States. “We were honored to bring into focus excellent teaching and training for our chaplain candidate class,” stated Dennis Maloney, CRM’s General Director.
CRM’s charter course – held on the campus of College of the Ozarks in Branson, MO – focused on many topics including support raising, Pastoral care, counseling, RV resort living, cyber-technical challenges, use of spiritual gifts/ministry to other faiths, to name a few. Each day was opened with a devotional time offered by Dr. Dan Griffin who teaches seminary extension courses in the Missouri area.
Other facility members were Dr. Dan Brezavar, Sr., Pastor of Church of the Harvest in Branson and Dennis Maloney, MBA.
“The classes were on target and presented with first-rate material. My wife and I would not have missed it! The training was just what we needed to complete our requirements to volunteer as Chaplains in an RV park,” stated one pastor and his wife who came from Virginia to addend the one-week course.
Christian Resort Ministries requires chaplains to meet specific standards to qualify for service in the RV resort ministry. Lay chaplains (without formal Bible school education) who apply to become endorsed by CRM are required to complete 30 hours of training within 18 months prior to be assigned. Their aggressive training course work includes The Life of Christ, Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, Missions, The Ministry of the Holy Spirit, Pastoral Care, The Book of Acts, three other book studies as electives and their choice of either Anthropology or Bible Archeology.
Training can be in a classroom, by correspondence or at an extension facility. “New chaplains receive 40 Hours of Hands on Chaplaincy developed by the Baptist General Convention of Texas with an additional 12 hours of division specific chaplaincy training taught by our division managers at Chaplain University. There is a 6 hour continuing education piece required annually. In addition, chaplains are trained in NOVA disaster response, ASIST Suicide Intervention training and CISM first responder intervention,” says Maloney.
“We are aware of the need of excellence when working with other businesses, and thus we strive to bring qualified excellence to the table as we offer a Chaplain Program to campground resorts across America. In today’s litigated world, you need to have a professional posture and presence in the volunteers we offer for service. We especially are honored to work with RVchurchesUSA*, as they enroll member resorts, campgrounds and parks. Along with their Ambassador Club members, we can offer the opportunity to bring a non-denominational Chaplain into that park. Working with multiple mission ministry-minded organizations is a vital key to each other’s success. (*Christian Resort Ministries and RVchurchesUSA have been ministry partners for over 3 years.)
“We want our chaplains to be equipped to be the finest they can be and equipped to bring the word of the saving grace of Jesus Christ to those who don’t know and who do know Him. Lets face it, time is short, eternity is forever. If we are not doing the labor of the Lord now, when do we do this work?,” Maloney asks. “Jesus clearly states in Acts 1:8 that we need to be His witness to the ends of the earth. Resort ministry in RV parks, campgrounds and resorts spans all the requirements in the Acts passage.”
CRM’s Chaplain University offers a three-phase teaching process over 3 years and is presented in the Branson, MO area each year in September. Further information on CRM international and Chaplain University can be obtained by visiting www.crmintl.org.
Robert Ruesch is the Sr. Chaplain and Field Service Director of CRM international and taught the technical classes at the university.
October 23, 2009
A recent addition to our Charter Campground Member roster is Deer Run RV Resort in Crossville, TN.
Owner Kim Skinner tells RVchurchesUSA that her resort covers 200 acres, offers tent/RV sites and has cabin accommodations for guests as well. The newly remodeled Guest Services Building houses the General store, Guest check-in and wi-fi services.
In addition to a host of full-service amenities for a variety of guests – including hunters, church groups, corporate and other organizations – Deer Run offers nondenominational on-site church services in a separate building dedicated for Chapel use. With capacity for 100 worshipers, services are held each Sunday from April to October each season.
Pastor Jeff Elliott, Director of Student Development/Asst Professor at Tennessee Temple University, presents messages similar to that below:
5 Things God Wants You to Know
1. No one is perfect. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom.3:23)
2. We can’t fix ourselves. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” (Titus 3:5)
3. Jesus offers us the answer. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)
4. You must accept Jesus for salvation. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
5. Now is the best time to do it! “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2b)
One visit to Deer Run’s website is incentive enough to contact Kim and her staff who are obviouslydedicated to serving with excellence by providing great Guest Service, ample amenities and opportunities for RVers to worship God in Community with others. It doesn’t get much better than that!
July 21, 2009
by Duane Careb
We here at RVchurchesUSA have been following several compelling stories of RVers who have compassionately decided to serve the those in need – communities, individuals, churches, camps,etc – in the course of their traveling.
Jesus refers to this “life style” in Matt 25:40 and Matt 25:45 implying that when we serve those in need, we are actually giving Glory as well as Honor to Him. Whatever we do for someone else – especially those less fortunate – will most certainly be recognized and honored by God (Matt 25:23).
Most of us who serve others in need avoid fanfare and shun accolades as much as possible. Serving has little place for bragging or boasting as Paul, the Apposel writes in He also gives us clear instruction regarding humility when we serve in Matt 6: 2-4.
Here are just a few articles we’ve posted regarding the topic of serving others while Rving:
We’ll continue to search for more compassionate-serving Christian RVers and publish their stories here on RVchurchesUSA.
I hope you’ll consider joining other RVers as they “live” out their faith by volunteering in some way to serve, help or otherwise touch the heart of those in need – all for the Audience of One. Matt 25:21