Camp Meeting Season in Full Swing Across Movement

 In All Church of God, CHOG

By Carl Stagner

A few indoor camp meetings and conferences take place throughout the year in the Church of God movement, but summertime is the season most commonly associated with the iconic camp meeting. On the heels of the Church of God Convention in Tampa, Florida, various local, state, and regional camp meetings began or will soon begin. Some people simply can’t get enough of the contagious spirit of worship, togetherness, and spiritually significant moments observed year after year at such timeless gatherings often on rather primitive grounds! From Northern California’s Diamond Arrow Christian Conference Center to Zion’s Hill at West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, and multiple meetups in between, rustic accommodations and tranquil settings of varying kinds are coming alive with a flurry of activity for all ages.

Display at Spring Mill State Park (Bedford, Indiana) devoted to the camp meeting and Sunday school modes of ministry.

Indiana is only one of many states in the Church of God where more than one camp meeting takes place each year; the Hoosier State offers at least three Church of God camp meetings at different locations annually. Camp meetings, especially common historically in the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, once made such an impact on society that they’ve since secured a place in secular museums, archival records, and literature. A historical display at Spring Mill State Park near Bedford, Indiana, for instance, contains several artifacts and depictions of the camp meeting experience, including a displayed quote from J. W. Walker’s Hoosier Pioneers. “One of the greatest events of the year was the camp meeting,” he wrote, “which was held in the…dry season, after the crops were laid by, and the wheat and oats harvested. The roads at that season of the year were usually good, and people came in covered wagons, on horseback, and on foot. They often came as much as forty miles to these meetings, which lasted a week or ten days.”

Author James H. Madison’s quote about the camp meeting, from his book The Indiana Way, also adorns the display at Spring Mill: “Early Hoosiers brought the camp meeting with them. Usually held in the summer, the camp meeting would draw folks from miles around to a special clearing with wooden benches and a speaker’s platform. Several days of preaching, hymn-singing, and praying produced strong emotional release that took form in tears and groans, jumping and shouting, wrestling with the devil, and conversion experiences….”

“Jesus is the Subject” highlights the backdrop for Pastor Jessica Hall, speaker at the Central Indiana Camp Meeting in 2021.

Perhaps few arrive at today’s camp meetings on horseback, and probably few organizers are waiting for the wheat and oat harvest to commence, but the impact of these vital events is surely still felt on the church and ultimately on society, as well. While the numerous camp meetings scattered across the United States and Canada don’t offer the same degree of opportunity to speak into the direction of the Movement, and while they don’t naturally produce the richness of geographic diversity part and parcel to the biennial Church of God Convention and General Assembly, these annual traditions continue to demonstrate the innate need for the people of God be together.

Not everyone lives within reasonable traveling distance of a camp meeting location. Thankfully, the life-transforming power of the Spirit is not limited to these hallowed grounds and sacred weeks. But perhaps you’re planning on participating in a camp meeting this year. If so, let us know! Be sure to leave a comment on the social media post associated with this article or send us a shout-out by email to We’d love to hear how God is using the camp meeting mode of ministry to edify his church and bring the kingdom to life on earth as it is in heaven.

Learn more about the Church of God movement at

Feature (top) photo: Camp Meeting of the National Association of the Church of God at Zion’s Hill, West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, in 2018.

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