Copyright 2018. Christian Youth Fellowship / The Serving Way. All rights reserved.

Mountain Lake Passes the torch to Camp Saint paul

For seventy years, Mountain Lake Bible Camp has changed the lives of thousands of young people and their families. Founded and directed by Alfred (“Uncle Al”) Thyberg in 1947, who was joined by “Aunt Elaine” with their marriage in 1954, Mountain Lake has reached out to children and youth with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Its beautiful setting and fun-filled programs for summer camping, a sports academy, and winter-weekend retreats have been dedicated these past seven decades to offering campers the opportunity to commit their lives to Jesus as Savior and Lord, and start their own journeys of service to God. Thank you for your faithful support!

Every ministry has its seasons: bold beginnings, growing pains, steady maturity, and eventual tapering off. Mountain Lake has followed that trajectory with the passing of Aunt Elaine in 1998 and Uncle Al’s home going in 2019 after a long struggle with dementia and Parkinson’s. The facilities have needed significant upgrades, and the programming requires a new approach for today’s campers.

It has always been the goal and prayer of Uncle Al and Aunt Elaine that the work they carried out so faithfully would, when their season of leadership came to an end, have a new start with the necessary fresh energy and resources to carry Mountain Lake’s original mission and vision forward while meeting the needs of the current and coming generations of young people.

God has answered our prayers. Recently, the officers of Christian Youth Fellowship, the non-profit organization that directs the work at Mountain Lake, received an inquiry about the property from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The Archdiocese has operated their youth camping ministry, Camp Saint Paul, since 2004. For several years the Archdiocese has wanted to expand and develop their youth ministry to its full potential for year-round programs, and that requires owning a camp. After much discussion, relationship-building, and fervent prayer, Christian Youth Fellowship decided to sell Mountain Lake to the Archdiocese to be the site for new, powerful, and perpetual ministry of evangelization and discipleship for children and youth. The sale closed on April 16th, 2018, and the baton is now passed to Camp Saint Paul, while Christian Youth Fellowship seeks new ways to pursue the purposes at the core of the work begun at Mountain Lake.

Uncle Al was a visionary, always looking ahead to what could be in the future. Both he and Aunt Elaine were deeply invested in the leadership development of staff and counselors serving at Mountain Lake. They frequently asked themselves: What comes next as staff and campers “age out” from camp ministry? They wondered how discipleship for emerging leaders could flow from youth ministry.

We are answering this call by launching a new ministry called The Serving Way, which is dedicated to spiritual and professional development of emerging Christian leaders to lead as servants following the way of Jesus. The Serving Way’s purpose is to equip those in leadership to demonstrate Christ-like service at work, at home, in the church, and in the community. We are very pleased that as part of the agreement with the Archdiocese, The Serving Way will host four 3-day retreats using the new facilities of Camp Saint Paul, continuing the Thyberg presence at this wonderful part of God's good creation. These retreats complement half-day and full-day trainings, as well as executive coaching conducted in person and online.

As Uncle Al’s and Aunt Elaine’s eldest child, and founder and director of The Serving Way, it's my awesome privilege to carry on their vision by creating this new focus of discipleship in leadership. Continuing under the umbrella of Christian Youth Fellowship, the board and I will guide The Serving Way forward in the spirit my parents brought to Mountain Lake.

Mountain Lake was aimed at evangelization of young people; The Serving Way picks up their discipleship journey as serving leaders. With youth ministry continuing through Camp Saint Paul, we know that Uncle Al and Aunt Elaine’s legacy is being honored and expanded to new audiences through The Serving Way.

All the Thybergs are so grateful for your support of Mountain Lake over these many decades. Please pray for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and Camp Saint Paul and the leadership development ministry of The Serving Way.

Thank you, and may God bless you richly.

Chris Thyberg
President, Christian Youth Fellowship
Founder, The Serving Way