SOP ON CAMP MEETINGS
First camp meeting of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, held in 1868 on the farm of E. H. Root in Wright, Michigan, United States

The Lord has plainly stated what Seventh-day Adventists are to do. Camp meetings are to be appointed and a series of tent meetings held. All who can should work in connection with the camp meeting. There should be no hesitancy in preaching the truth applicable for this time. A decided testimony is to be borne. The discourses given should be so simple that children can understand them. {Lt215b-1899}
Brethren, I exhort you to read again what is written in this testimony regarding our camp-meeting work. Read it with a determination to understand the instruction given and to carry it into effect. I urge you to realize the importance of reading the directions that the Lord has given us, that we may carry forward His work on the lines that He has marked out. Let us hold our camp-meetings near some of the important cities, in a retired place, yet not so far away that the people will not attend. We are to hold these meetings where we can reach those who are perishing in sin. {Lt86-1903}
From Elder Santee’s letter, I learn that it has been proposed to hold your next camp-meeting at Fernando. No doubt this would be a convenience to those living near the school and to those families who wish to place their children in the school. But our camp-meetings ought not to be planned with a view to meeting the convenience of a few families, but with a view to warning the world and converting souls to the truth. {Lt86-1903}
The church of Christ was organized for missionary purposes. Our camp-meetings are among the most important agencies in our work for fulfilling these purposes. Through them we may reach many with the gospel message. The Lord has instructed us that they are most effective agencies for doing this work. {Lt86-1903}
Business matters should be attended to by those specially appointed for this work, and, so far as possible, they should be brought before the people at some other time than the camp-meeting. Instruction in canvassing, in Sabbath-school work, and in the details of tract and missionary work, should be given in the home churches or in meetings specially appointed. The same principle applies to cooking-schools. While these are right in their place, they should not occupy the time at the camp-meeting. {PH130 15.1}
The presidents of conferences and the ministers should give themselves to the spiritual interests of the people, and should, therefore, be excused from the mechanical labour attendant upon the camp-meeting. The ministers should be ready to act as teachers and leaders in the work of the camp when needed, but they should not be wearied out. They should feel refreshed, and be in a cheerful frame of mind; for this is essential for the best good of the meeting. They should be able to speak words of cheer and courage, and to drop seeds of spiritual truth into the soil of honest hearts to spring up and bear precious fruit.
No meetings in the same locality over and over again
We shall encourage a camp meeting being held in Geelong next camp meeting season as well as a camp meeting being held in Ballarat. There should be camp meetings as well in Melbourne, nearer the center. We must not continue in the same locality over and over again. There is in these cities a little world which must be warned point by point, advancing just as fast as possible, for the work to be done will not admit of delays. {Lt144-1898}
I was sorry to hear that the camp meeting was to be held at Napier. Why is it not held in a new place? Why was it not held at Christchurch? Our camp meetings should go into new places. Let a new class have the privilege of hearing the truth. Nothing calls them out like a camp meeting. Our own churches are not the ones alone to be benefited. Every effort possible should be made to reach classes that have never heard…… Let us seek for it. {Lt202-1897}- Not published until 2015
This can be done when the prejudice is removed by our camp meetings, and for this reason camp meetings should be held in new localities and not less than two or four weeks, personal labor being mingled with the camp meeting efforts. {Lt205-1897}
I know it would be much better to have the camp meeting in a new locality, but if the way seems to be hedged up, you cannot do less than look at the ground where the meeting was held three years ago. The Lord will open the way, we shall see His hand guiding and directing us where to hold our camp meeting.. {Lt13-1897}



Camp meeting follow ups
But I will go no further. I want to do my best for the Master wherever I am. But camp meetings must be followed up, and this will cost something. No camp meeting should be held and then left, as stitches dropped. We need in every such effort to have sufficient means for the after work, which must be done to bind off the work of the camp meeting, that the people may not have heard in vain. {Lt83a-1898}
After the camp meeting is over, ministers should be left to follow up the work, with those who can be educated to give Bible readings and trained as missionary workers. This work requires a treasury enriched by the tithe and by gifts and offerings. {Lt38-1899}
Children’s meeting
Most earnest work should be done in a camp meeting from the commencement to the close. There should be those who can conduct children’s meetings. In our camp meeting at Newcastle, Sister Peck took up this work, with several interested workers under her direction. These meetings were continued all through the camp meeting, and are still being held. {Lt38-1899}
Group studies
At our camp meetings one or two laborers should not be required to do all the preaching and all the teaching in Bible lines. At times greater good can be accomplished by breaking up the large congregation into sections. Thus the educator in Bible truth can come closer to the people than in a large assembly. {6T 87.1}

In close proximity to the city
Brethren, I exhort you to read again what is written in this testimony regarding our camp-meeting work. Read it with a determination to understand the instruction given and to carry it into effect. I urge you to realize the importance of reading the directions that the Lord has given us, that we may carry forward His work on the lines that He has marked out. Let us hold our camp-meetings near some of the important cities, in a retired place, yet not so far away that the people will not attend. We are to hold these meetings where we can reach those who are perishing in sin.{Lt86-1903}

Positive Impression upon the community
This is the first camp-meeting that has been held in Lodi, and the impression made upon the community was good . {Lt152-1908}
Means of organizing and planting new churches
Some will say that these camp meetings are very expensive, and that the conference cannot afford to support another such meeting, but when we look at the three churches that have been organized and are prospering in the faith, can we hesitate in answering the question, Will it pay? Shall we not raise our voices in decided affirmation? It will pay. {Lt56-1895}
For soul winning
A camp meeting is now in progress in Napier, New Zealand; but none of our working force can be spared from this place. They must work here, with all the ability God has given them. We ask the Lord for no less than a hundred souls as the result of the camp meeting and the after-work now being done. {Ms187-1897}
It is not always best when arranging for a camp-meeting to hold it a long way from where the camp-meeting was held the year before. If it [is] held near, those who were not converted at the previous meeting may be at this. {Lt25-1901}
It is a loss to repeatedly hold camp meetings in one place
For this reason we should make every exertion to keep up our camp-meetings, and to hold them in different places. In America, in order to save expense, camp-meetings have been held year after year in the same place. Thus cities which ought to have had the light have been deprived of an opportunity to hear the last message of mercy. This is an economy which means loss in the end. {Ms7-1901}

At these camp-meetings no one man carried the burden of deciding who should speak, but those were chosen who were experienced in the message and in conducting camp-meetings. We used then the very arguments that are now given why the young men should not be brought to the front while the aged workers were passed by. {Lt349-1906}
God speaks through the men who understand the guiding of the Holy Spirit. When thousands come out to attend our meetings, they desire to get the greatest possible benefit; and it is poor policy to place as speakers men who are not fully adapted to meet the needs of the situation. The word should be spoken by men who have felt the deep moving of the Spirit upon their hearts and who feel the burden of the message that God has given them for the people. The old soldiers of the cross are not to be passed by. {Lt349-1906}
Men who have been placed in office for the first time, and who are just gaining their experience, need to move carefully and in humility of mind; for often they are not able to judge wisely. When Elder Reaser was placed in a position of responsibility, he did not see his need to learn all that he could from the experience of others who had a knowledge of the history of the work in Southern California and who had burdens laid upon them for that work by the Lord. At the first assuming of his new responsibilities, Elder Reaser should have considered that these persons understood the situation better than he did. By his officious attitude, he has made the work much more perplexing than it otherwise would have been. If he will be taught, the Lord will teach Elder Reaser that He has men on the ground who are fully as capable, yea, much more capable of planning and devising for the interests of the work as himself. {Lt349-1906}
Let there Be music in our camp meetings
“In our campmeeting services there should be singing and instrumental music. Musical instruments were used in the religious services in ancient times. The worshippers praised God upon the harp and cymbal. Music should have its place in our services. It will add to the interest. And every day a praise meeting should be held, a simple service of thanksgiving to God. There would be much more power in our campmeetings if we had a true sense of the goodness and mercy and longsuffering of God, and if more praise went forth from our lips to the honor and glory of His name. We need to cultivate more fervor of soul. The Lord says whoso offereth praise glorifieth me. {Ms79a-1910}
Medical missionary work
At the camp meeting, instruction on health topics should be given to the people. At our meetings in Australia, lectures on health subjects were given daily, and a deep interest was aroused. A tent for the use of physicians and nurses was on the ground, medical advice was given freely, and was sought by many. Thousands of people attended the lectures, and at the close of the camp meeting the people were not satisfied to let the matter drop with what they had already learned. In several cities where camp meetings were held, some of the leading citizens urged that a branch sanitarium be established, promising their cooperation. {CD 443.3}
At our camp-meetings especially, there should be daily classes for Bible study. Instruction should be given on the subjects of faith and Christian experience, and there should be seasons of earnest prayer. Then the influence of our camp-meetings would not be of so transitory a character, but would leave an abiding impression.—MS. {GW92 228.3}
Camp Meeting Diet
Nothing should be taken to camp meeting except the most healthful articles, cooked in a simple manner, free from all spices and grease. {CD 85.3}
We should put forth greater efforts to teach the people the truths of health reform. At every camp meeting an effort should be made to demonstrate what can be done in providing an appetizing, wholesome diet from grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. In every place where new companies are brought into the truth, instruction should be given in the science of preparing wholesome food. Workers should be chosen who can labor from house to house in an educational campaign. {CD 443.1}
I have been shown that some of our camp meetings are far from being what the Lord designed they should be…There is also much time spent in needless cooking, in the preparation of rich pies and cakes and other articles of food that do positive injury to those who partake of them. Should our sisters provide good bread and some other healthful kinds of food, both they and their families would be better prepared to appreciate the words of life, and far more susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit. {CD 46.2}
At later camp meetings those in charge have educated by practice as well as by precept. No meat has been furnished at the dining tent, but fruits, grains, and vegetables have been supplied in abundance. As visitors ask questions in regard to the absence of meat, the reason is plainly stated, that flesh is not the most healthful food. . {CD 443.4}
Some persons bring upon the campground food that is entirely unsuitable to such occasions, rich cakes and pies, and a variety of dishes that would derange the digestion of a healthy laboring man. Of course, the best is thought none too good for the minister. The people send these things to his table, and invite him to their tables. In this way ministers are tempted to eat too much, and food that is injurious. Not only is their efficiency at the camp meeting lessened; but many become dyspeptics. {CD 55.2}
The minister should decline this well-meant but unwise hospitality, even at the risk of seeming discourteous. And the people should have too much true kindness to press such an alternative upon him. They err when they tempt the minister with unhealthful food. Precious talent has thus been lost to the cause of God; and many, while they do live, are deprived of half the vigor and strength of their faculties. Ministers, above all others, should economize the strength of brain and nerve. They should avoid all food or drink that has a tendency to irritate or excite the nerves. Excitement will be followed by depression; overindulgence will cloud the mind, and render thought difficult and confused. No man can become a successful workman in spiritual things until he observes strict temperance in his dietetic habits. God cannot let His Holy Spirit rest upon those who, while they know how they should eat for health, persist in a course that will enfeeble mind and body. {CD 55.3}






EGW Decides not to attend camp meetings
In the night season many things are passing before me. The Scriptures, full of grace and richness, are presented before me. The word of the Lord to me is: “Look on these things, and meditate on them. You may claim the rich grace of truth, which nourishes the soul. Have naught to do with controversy and dissension and strife, which bring darkness and discouragement to your soul. Truth is clear, pure, savory. Avoid all council-meetings where there is dissension, and where men will neither credit My words and obey My lessons, nor heed your counsel. Speak the truth in faith and love, leaving the result with God. The work is not yours, but the Lord’s. In all your communications, speak as one to whom the Lord has spoken. He is your authority, and He will give you His sustaining grace.” {Lt186-1902
My sons, I would have you firmly united as brothers in the flesh and as brothers in Christian fellowship. {Lt186-1902}
I have a work to do, and I am now making decisions. I must remain away from Conference meetings. I must not attend camp-meetings. The spirit of drawing apart, as the result of judging one another, has become so common, and the churches are becoming so leavened with this spirit that I have no desire to attend these meetings. After returning from them, it is often weeks before I am able to take up my neglected work. {Lt186-1902}
Because those in positions of responsibility have for years left the Southern field unworked, notwithstanding the most decided testimonies urging them to take up this work; because they continue to neglect this field, and use every manner of device in trying to uproot the confidence of the people in those who have done the hardest and most self-sacrificing work in the South, I have but very little confidence that the Lord is giving these men in positions of responsibility spiritual eyesight and heavenly discernment. I am thrown into perplexity over their course; and I desire now to attend to my special work, to have no part in any of their councils and to attend no camp-meetings nigh or afar off. My mind shall not be dragged into confusion by the tendency they manifest to work directly contrary to the light that God has given me. I am done. I will preserve my God-given intelligence. {Lt186-1902}
My voice has been heard in the different Conferences and at camp-meetings. I must now make a change. I cannot enter the atmosphere of strife and then have to bear testimonies that cost me much more than those to whom they are sent can imagine. When I attend the different meetings, I am compelled to deal with men standing in responsible places who I know are not exerting an influence that God can endorse. And when I bear a testimony in reference to their course of action, advantage is taken of this testimony. These men have not clear understanding. Should I say the things that I know, they would not, with their present experience, use this instruction wisely and would bring upon me inconceivable burdens. {Lt186-1902


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