Beginning his ministry at the turn of the century, Rev. William J. Sowders (1879-1952) devoted his life to prayer and study, bringing about a clearer vision of the plan of salvation. Early in his ministry, he heard an audible voice from heaven say, “I want you to preach MY GOSPEL”. With that, he went to preach the Word as God gave it to him. He spoke on the doctrines of baptism, eternal judgment, laying on of hands, and living an overcoming life.
Barring no race, color, or creed from the church, Rev. Sowders purchased 350 acres for what is now the Gospel of the Kingdom Campground. It was his vision that THIS CAMPGROUND would be a place for spiritual worship for all who love God and His cause. He desired to make it a holy place for all. He welcomed every child of God interested in the furtherance of God’s cause. His vision continues today.
Through the highs and lows of the past decades, this Campground has witnessed new experiences, new generations, and a new unity, but the mission remains the same. The mission of caring for God’s children and welcoming His people is currently expressed in many ways. Here are just a few:
From the beginning, the Campground has been a place where men of God and saints of God can gather regardless of doctrinal differences and feel loved and welcome. The neutrality of a gathering place not identified with any one assembly allows men of God to candidly search for the truth while embracing one another in the bonds of Christian love. It was the charity of Bro. Sowders that welcomed the elders of another generation while they were yet ignorant of many of the truths he had received, and it remains the charity and openness here that permits faithful men to labor in the unity of the Spirit as they seek the unity of the faith.
Many places that once celebrated the move of the Holy Spirit have now forgotten it. Creeping worldliness has quenched the move of the Spirit once so powerful in the Pentecostal churches. Here, people gather with an earnest expectation of a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Some come seeking their first experience with God; others come having had the baptism longer than most of us have been alive. Whichever you may be, the invitation is open to all. Come, drink deeply of the water of life!
You do not have to be here long to recognize that we do not have the fanciest facilities, nicest accommodations, and most comfortable seating arrangements. Our mission has never been grounded in the latest technology. Yet, it is the simplicity of this place that reminds us of even simpler times. Surrounded by a world obsessed with the latest human advances, it can be all too easy to forget the sacrifices made by those who went before us. The Campground provides an opportunity to unplug from the ever changing daily grind and reconnect with the simple faith that is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
One of the greatest blessings of gathering together on this hilltop is watching the Lord unite the younger and older generations. The elders provide a strength and wisdom for the young; the youth provide an encouragement and zeal for the old. They serve alongside one another, rejoice together in the Spirit, and share the love of God.
Under the watchful eyes of a legion of chaperones, each new generation of young people have the opportunity to fellowship together as they seek God’s will for their future. No one assembly has enough young people to sustain itself indefinitely, but the Campground has long provided a central location for young people to meet one another and begin a new life together. Each new relationship joins assemblies closer together, thereby uniting the body of Christ a little more.
As the years have passed and the size of general meetings has steadily grown, few local assemblies possess the numbers and facilities to host a general meeting. As exciting and wonderful as this growth is, it also presents practical limitations for all but the largest assemblies. Serving at the Campground allows saints from even the smallest of churches to receive the great blessing that comes from serving your brothers and sisters in Christ as the gather from across the country and around the world. Whether you volunteer as an usher, help work in the kitchen, wash the dishes, or clean the toilets, we welcome you to experience for yourself the unexplainable joy of serving the people of God.
For as long as this gospel has been preached in other nations, representatives from the mission field have gathered to celebrate the good news we have received. Some come cross-country by bus, some board an airplane for the first time, and some spend days in passenger vans driving over a thousand miles. From wherever they come, and however they arrive, they find that the Campground truly is a place where all of God’s people are welcome. No longer an American meeting, the Campground has become a beloved experience for people of many nations, kindreds, and tongues, providing just a glimpse of the day when we all bow together to worship the Lamb of God.
HERITAGE AND RESTORATION ON THE TOP OF MOUNT ELMIRA
THE CAMPGROUND: A PART OF OUR HERITAGE
(EL MIRA THE PASTURE OF GOD)
by: Paul B. Dyal
It is good to honor the men and women of honor, both those of the past and the present, who have given so much of themselves to The Body of Christ by way of affording us the Campground at Shepherdsville, Kentucky. [Read Full Article...]
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