From the very beginning in 1906, the founders of Mount Hermon understood and embraced Missio Dei – the mission of God. They saw the thirsty souls of the San Francisco Bay Area but did not limit their vision to just this region. They could see God on a mission throughout the state, the nation, and the world. Many friends of Mount Hermon may be surprised to know that the location of Lakeside Meeting Room is the very ground where Mission Inn once stood, serving as a place of respite and renewal for global missionaries between assignments. In 1912 it was referred to as “a real home for a great cause and a house of power in the world’s work.” Today, Mount Hermon continues in earnest as a ministry in God’s global mission, beginning right here close to home.
In many studies, California ranks as the most diverse state in our country in terms of ethnicity, culture, religion, and socio-economic backgrounds. In particular, the greater San Francisco Bay Area finds itself at the center of this diversity, and at the same time, ranks number 1 most churchless city in the US. For many believers, this fast-changing and spiritually dry landscape is disorienting and creates a very real sense of uncertainty and fear. However, this is an excellent opportunity to look at this through a different lens, one like the founders of Mount Hermon viewed the world. We are looking at people made in the image of God. People who long for meaning, purpose, and identity – the things that only God can ultimately fulfill.
I am convinced that the most effective means for the reconciliation of people to God and in turn, people to people, is in the context of a Christian camp experience. This is why the Mount Hermon ministry is so essential today. By God’s grace, and the vision of those who have gone before us, the name Mount Hermon evokes a place of refuge, belonging, and transformation – for all who seek Jesus. And this exists just a short drive from the most diverse and influential region in the Western US, impacting culture worldwide. God is at work in this strategic location, for such a time as this.
What is also unique to this moment in history is articulated so well by Jeffrey Greenman in the book Global Theology:
A second age of world Christianity has dawned, indeed an age of global Christianity, with the faith established in the areas that Christians of the earlier world church did not even know existed. The great ecumenical issues of the twenty-first century will be about how African and Indian and Chinese and Korean and Hispanic and North American and European Christians can together make real the life of the body of Christ.
Where missions was once an outbound movement from the West going into the world, missional activity today can begin anywhere and go anywhere, and it involves partnership, not position. We see this at Mount Hermon as new guest group ministries are church plants from outside of the US. We are serving and co-ministering with Christian congregations from India, Iran, Korea, Taiwan, Russia, South America, and Africa, all here at our Santa Cruz sites. We are also actively involved abroad, partnering in ministry with new Christian camping developments in the nations of Albania, Ukraine, and India, by providing on-site programming and training, along with facility and operational consulting. These experiences are also equipping us to better know and to serve the diverse church groups coming to Mount Hermon. It is a beautiful picture of God’s global Church coming together in supporting each other and sharing the love of Jesus Christ to all people, from the most vulnerable to the most influential.
We are part of something so much bigger than we realize. The Apostle John’s words capture this well in his encouragement to a believer who was caring for Christians along their missionary journeys. He says: “Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible. In providing meals and a bed, we become their companions in spreading the truth.” (3 John 5-8 MSG).
Mount Hermon and the Global Church – companions in spreading the truth.