Last spring, the May flood caused the Buffalo River to rise three feet into the Tabernacle that had served Camp Linden/Linden Valley for 60 years, destroying this wonderful and vitally needed tool for ministry. Because it is simply very difficult, if not impossible, to conduct quality retreat ministry without such a facility, the Executive Board of the Tennessee Baptist Convention has authorized a special offering to be received from our TBC churches February 13. There are some questions you might be asking, and some answers that I trust will add clarity to this incredible need:
Why give, when our church has never utilized that particular facility? Remember the tornadoes that destroyed so many buildings on the campus of Union University in 2008? Churches across our state and indeed across our country rallied to give Union support through that devastating experience. Why did churches and people respond that had never set foot on Union’s campus? It’s a family thing. It was a partner in ministry that had a great need. Linden Valley is a vital place of ministry within our Convention. Each year many youth and children, and indeed adults, come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior because of their experience at this retreat facility.
Wasn’t there adequate insurance to cover the building? Over $300,000 of flood insurance proceeds have been received. This represents the maximum amount of flood insurance that we could carry on that structure with the National Flood Insurance Program. Flood insurance rarely covers a complete loss of a building. The new building will be raised about four feet above the latest flood level.
When the goal is reached, how will the funds be utilized? More than simply replacing the Tabernacle is involved at this point. The new building will be a state-of-the-art worship center/multi-purpose facility. The cost involved also has to do with architectural/engineering fees, grading and site preparation, the development of the master plan, as well as the furnishings for the new Worship Center.
How are our camps doing? Linden Valley and Carson Springs had 18,176 individuals visit this past year. That is a 36.3 percentage increase over five years ago. Most weeks of summer and almost all weekends during the fall and spring are booked solid. There is still tremendous potential for growth. The new worship center will facilitate multiple groups using Linden Valley at the same time. Tim Bearden and his staff are doing a great job providing retreat experiences for our churches.
How can we help? On the TBC website, click on the Hearts Awaken icon and you’ll find the place where you can order free of charge the promotional literature needed for this special offering. Time is of the essence. We are only days away from what I hope will be a miracle Sunday. Thank you in advance for your prayerful and sacrificial giving towards this much needed rebuild.