As a non-denominational Christian camp, Maranatha is dedicated to giving people a chance to get away from their daily routines to quiet down, hear God speak, and make life-changing decisions. This is accomplished primarily through camps, such as youth weeks, church retreats, adult retreats and sports camps, as well as discipleship training programs, such as the L3 program which consists of Learn, Live, and Lead. Notably, several former campers and staff have represented Christ in more than 50 nations. With nearly 10,000 guests a year through camp programming and rental groups, Maranatha remains open year-round to accommodate all guests and to prepare for the summer peak season.
The Crossroad Effect...
When our mission is accomplished in people at camp, it is truly amazing! So amazing in fact that we are sometimes shocked at why this even happens. I mean, we are really just a simple camp, known to many for having a HUGE cross on the side of the road, and yet, God chooses to use us for incredible miracles and healing in peoples lives! Therefore we thought it would be fun to affectionately coin God's miraculous hand at work, "The Crossroad Effect". So if you hear us talking about "the crossroad effect" or see or hear about "the crossroad effect" taking camp by storm, you'll know that its the hand of God doing his thing, and helping us accomplish our mission in peoples lives at Maranatha Bible Camp!
Maranatha Bible Camp held it’s first session June 6-13, 1938 on a farm east of North Platte, Nebraska. In a few years it was obvious the camp needed a permanent home. Land was located near Maxwell, Nebraska and a fundraising post card was prepared. Interestingly, the postmark shows June 6, 1944 which turned out to be D-Day in WWII. Times were hard but a number of Christian leaders in the area were supportive of the Bible Camp and attendance continued to grow.
The facilities started out consisting of tents only. Then came the “slab cabins” built from Colorado timber sawmill rough cut wood obtained by trading loads of baled hay from the Platte valley. A swimming hole was dug to help cool off on the hot summer days.
One of the strengths over the years has been the help of many volunteers. Even after paid staff positions began to be implemented, camp could not operate with out the volunteers who assist in programming, cabin leading, maintenance, sweet shop, etc.
A strange thing happened that God used to really make the Maranatha Bible Camp location highly visible. In the late 1960s the Interstate 80 was built through Nebraska. The plan took it right through the north edge of the camp property. Much effort was made by the camp board to get the route moved. A big concession was made when the highway department agreed to create 40 acre Lake Maranatha by excavating fill sand to raise the interstate road bed up to a flood proof height. Additional land was bought at the time to make this possible.
Our thirty feet high Cross which is lighted at night with the words Maranatha Bible Camp has become a nationally recognized landmark for those travelers who frequent I-80.
In 2005, George Cheek and Tad Stryker pulled together a book detailing the ministry history entitled: Maranatha, the Miracle Camp on the Plains. It includes a number of testimonies and photographs organized by decades.
To order this informative and encouraging book relating the story of how God used a small group in hard times to start a ministry that continues to have national and international impact.