By Michael Smith
Contributing writer, B&R
BARTLETT — Danny Sinquefield, senior pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Bartlett, since October 1994, is so thankful that his church decided to make an eternal investment when it purchased Camp Cordova, now known as The Grove at Red Oak Lake, for $2 million in 2009.
Faith Baptist made its 10th and final $150,000 annual payment to the Mid-South Baptist Association during the church’s morning worship service Feb. 3.
“We’re so grateful that God allowed us to keep that great facility in the Baptist family, but also use it for its intended purpose,” Sinquefield said. “We’ve seen over the last 10 years hundreds of decisions made for Christ – students called to ministry, boys and girls making recommitments or beginning their first relationship with the Lord Jesus.”
Sinquefield credits his congregation, many of whom have ties to the camp, for their generous financial support.
After Faith Baptist purchased the camp, it held a special offering to raise the $500,000 needed for the down payment. The offering came in at $720,000, larger than the offering for the church’s new sanctuary, and allowed for improvements to start.
Sinquefield also applauded the camp’s “awesome” staff and volunteers, led by camp director Matthew Coussan and maintenance director Keith Magness.
Sinquefield said the 75-acre camp, which was established in 1947, is thriving, meeting its budget and debt free.
The Grove has been full the past couple of summers, and it’s filling up for 2020 and 2021.
“In a season when camping ministries had been really on the decline, we’re seeing this property be used in a really powerful way,” he said.
Sinquefield has a personal connection to the camp. His wife attended a Girls in Action camp there as a little girl, and one of his sons was saved at a Royal Ambassadors camp event.
Coussan said it’s great being a part of the Faith family.
“We all have the same goals. We are intentional about the gospel, live a missional lifestyle and do everything we can do to help strengthen the local church and expand the Kingdom,” he said.
“I can’t think of a better tool than camp ministry, and we are grateful that Faith Baptist Church trusted the Lord when purchasing the property.”
In addition to churches, the Grove hosts a wide variety of other groups throughout the year, including the Girl Scouts, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) camps, FedEx, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, local schools, the University of Memphis and local and international businesses.
“We are a seven-day-a-week operation. In the summer we serve 1,000 meals a day. Our groups can range from 10 guests to 400-plus,” Coussan said.
“We know every person is special and is a treasure from the Lord. It’s an honor to serve the groups, and we are grateful for the pastors who trust us with their campers.”
Sinquefield said he shares the Grove’s story when coaching and mentoring younger pastors.
“It’s just one of the real-time examples or illustrations that I use for trusting God for big things,” he said.
“If the Lord puts a burden on your heart, don’t hesitate to respond. We have a great, big God who calls us sometimes to do things that are step-out-of-the-boat, trust-him-for-that kind of faith.” B&R For more information about The Grove at Red Oak Lake, visit mygrove.org.