Why do we need a Student Ministry Plan?
In January 2017, the GNJ Camping Board and GNJ contracted with Ministry Architect to guide GNJ in a visioning and planning process to identify a strategic direction for ministry with students and the role and purpose of camping ministry and all other GNJ student ministries.  Fruitful and sustainable ministry with young people calls for a comprehensive and coordinated strategy that leverages the resources available. The Student Ministry plan is based on GNJ’s commitment to equip our congregations and leaders to raise up a new generation of enthusiastic disciples of Jesus Christ.

Can this be done by the agencies?
No. Agencies are not equipped to raise funds, develop and monitor long term program, and supervise staff.

Who was involved in drafting the Student Ministry Plan?
The Next Generation Ministry Plan emerged out of extensive work done by Ministry Architects and key conference staff that included:

  • a conference-wide survey to begin assessing needs and opportunities
  • a full assessment of GNJ students, campus and camping ministries
  • listening session with over 200 clergy, laity and youth from GNJ
  • an initial report presented to the GNJ Camping Board and other GNJ leaders for directional feedback
  • three separate visioning sessions on Students, Campus and Camping ministries with over 50 in attendance
  • Two feedback sessions on the executive summary with elected conference leadership and staff

What is the rationale to modify the purpose of the GNJ Camping Ministries Board to Next Generation Ministry?
The Next Generation Ministry Board, as a Vital Mission Partner, will provide leadership to develop, fundraise and coordinate a comprehensive, integrated and sustainable 21st century student ministries throughout Greater New Jersey that will develop new generations of enthusiastic disciples that will connect, engage and lead in their congregations and community. The proposed structure also provides added opportunities for securing new funding sources beyond Shared Ministry so that we can better steward resources.

Will the Next Generation Ministry plan include resources an initiative aimed at young adults not attending college?
Not yet. Initially the focus will be on students (youth grades 6-12), college campus ministry and camps ministry. As these are operating successfully we will expand to young adults not in college.

How will the Next Generation Ministry Plan be funded?
GNJ will review one-year grant requests from the GNJ Next Generation Ministries to support the development of youth, campus and camping ministries which will decrease over time as other funding opportunities outside of Shared Giving are identified. The plan also calls for the sale of the “Tannery Falls” property in Aldersgate to raise the seed monies to reinvigorate GNJ camping ministries.

What is the Tannery Falls property?
The Tannery Falls property is a 125-acres piece of land adjacent to Aldersgate, donated to the GNJ Camping Ministry Board in 2005. This location has never been used to support any of the programs at Aldersgate.

How will selling the Tannery Falls property at Aldersgate impact GNJ camping ministries?
The Tannery Falls property has never been used to support any of the programs at Aldersgate. The proceeds from the sale of this property will provide the seed monies to reinvigorate GNJ camping ministries.

Does the legislation proposes the sale of GNJ camps – Aldersgate and/or Pineland Center?
No. As outlined in the plan, the Next Generation Ministry board will provide leadership and coordination to reinvigorate GNJ camping ministries so that both GNJ camps are mission-focused, debt free and generate revenue beyond expenses. After three years, the Next Generation Ministry board will evaluate the progress made and discern next steps. Any recommendation to sell property must go through the Disciplinary requirement of approval by Annual Conference or between Annual Conference sessions, the GNJ Board of Trustees, the cabinet and the bishop. The commitment is to develop a successful camping experience.

Are we contemplating eliminating the 501c3 separate organization and folding the properties into the Annual Conference?
No. The Students Ministry plan, as proposed, re-frames and expands the scope of work of the GNJ Camps and Retreat Ministries Board into Next Generation Ministry to lead, develop, fund-raise and coordinate GNJ students, campus, camping and retreats ministries. The board will remain a separate nonprofit 501c3 corporation.

Is it possible for a camp site to be viable if it is summer-only?
If passed by the annual conference session, the Next Generation Ministry Board will continue to work with our consultant, Ministry Architects, to develop a comprehensive business plan that includes year-round programs for people of all ages. Currently, Pineland Center is available year-round, and we have seen a significant increase in the past two years of groups using the facilities for retreats and other events outside the summer months.

Will trying to retain two sites ultimately mean that both will fail because of a divided focus?
No. If passed by the annual conference session, the Next Generation Ministry Board will set a plan to reinvigorate GNJ camping and retreats ministry at both of our current sites implementing innovative camping and retreat experiences. After three years, a comprehensive evaluation will be done to assess progress and determine next steps.