“Can we study the Bible?”
It was a simple request made by a small group of men and women gathered in a local home in San Angelo, Texas.
The group of about eight young adults has been meeting in Shelley Emmons’ home every Tuesday evening. “We eat together and then we share about what’s going on in our lives,” said Emmons. “These men and women are part of the families I talked with while out at our annual camp.”
But how did family camp turn into a weekly gathering in Emmon’s living room? It started with House of Faith, a San Angelo-based Christian organization with a mission to bring Jesus to neighborhood children, youth, and families—and their unprecedented decision to not have a speaker during their camp.
“We tried the year before having a speaker with a large group talk and then splitting into small groups, but our families just loved that small group time with each other so much. It ended up running later and later,” said House of Faith’s Executive Director, Marci Menchaca. “We realized these families were so hungry for community.”
Menchaca believes the three-day retreat which took place in the Canyon through Foundation Camp, created a valuable setting where she and her staff visit with and get to know the different families they serve throughout the year. “It’s incredible to get them to a place where they’re free to talk, and they’re relaxed and having fun,” Menchaca said. “Camp is really where the small group started—through visiting with four to five families there who said, ‘Yes, let’s start something!'”