From an early age I found myself drawn to the wonder of the natural beauty of the outdoors. I remember traveling to Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin and marveling at the boulders and cliffs that were left by glaciers. A family vacation to Yellowstone, a trip with the Boy Scouts to Mississippi Palisades State Park or to Idaho for the 1973 national Jamboree, all stirred both wonder and an inner sense of joy within my heart and soul. It was later, after coming to know God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, that I connected God’s declaration in the scriptures to those early impressions. Reading verses such as Psalm 19’s opening, “The heavens declare the glory of God,” stirred “Aha” moments for me. In fact, my fairly new Christian faith became solidified on a trip to Yosemite after college graduation. A God who loved mankind so much that He gave His only Son for our sins also loved us so much that He wanted to share His creativity with us. Rather than a barren, uniform landscape, He created infinite variety.
I was a structural engineer in the Chicago area for 14 years after I graduated college in 1980. Some hardships in life in my mid-30’s caused me to question what I was doing with my life and how I could bring my passions together at the same time: my passion to build the church of Jesus Christ; my passion for the beauty and majesty of nature; my passion to teach and guide young adults towards leadership and faith in Christ. Some friends suggested I look into Christian camping. So I contacted the Christian Camp & Conference Association. It led me to volunteer at Camp Redcloud in southwest Colorado. Four years later I left there to go to Dallas Theological Seminary to become better equipped in using God’s Word to lead and direct camp staff. Upon my graduation from DTS, I ended up at Horn Creek in south-central Colorado in the spring of 2005. I am now the Director of Ministry there. I feel like I was made by God for this kind of work, using more areas of who I am to serve the staff and people who come to Horn Creek. My deepest desire is to grow the church, not in numbers but in depth and breadth . That is, we use the Christian camp platform to help people develop a deeper commitment to live fully for Christ as a thank you offering for the great salvation He has given us. It also strengthens their relationships so that they are more vibrant and visible ambassadors for Christ in their neighborhoods and communities.
(Jim was our guest on Midday Connection, February 25, 2013. You can hear that program on our website.)
Jim Hess is the Ministry Director for Horn Creek in Colorado. For more information, please visit Horn Creek’s website.