Constituency of One
A historical overview of our ministry and facility is important to understand the why’s and wherefore’s of what we are doing here. We hope it will also give an appreciation of our miracle-working God Who has brought us to where we are today. Our Lord is definitely displeased with presumption, and we would be presuming greatly on His mercy if we did not daily acknowledge Him as our source of strength, wisdom, material blessing, success with campers, decisions, and even life itself. From the very beginning “To God Be the Glory” has been our theme song.
The co-founders of Ironwood are Chuck Chastain and Walt Brock, along with the help and support of their wives Sarah and Betty. Early in 1972, these two men met together on numerous occasions to discuss and pray about beginning a camp ministry. Around Easter of 1972, Mr. and Mrs. Chastain and Walt Brock looked at this property. Through prayer for wisdom and help, investigation, periods of despair, and periods of optimism, God answered prayer and allowed them to assume control of the property on January 1, 1973.
In 1973 a non-profit corporation, Fundamental Christian Endeavors, Inc., (FCE) was formed to operate the camp. The original board of directors included Walt Brock, Chuck Chastain, John Brock, and Lee Brock. Those four men formed a partnership called Triple B-C Ranch. After a few years, John Brock and Lee Brock were unable to continue with Triple B-C Ranch but stayed on the board of Fundamental Christian Endeavors, Inc. Triple B-C Ranch no longer exists, having served its purpose in the transition of ownership from private hands to FCE by 1986. The Triple B-C Ranch partnership dissolved at that time, making it possible for Fundamental Christian Endeavors, Inc. (Ironwood) to be sole owner of the entire 185 acres and all the facilities included.
From the very beginning our desire was to use the camping method as a tool to reach young people and be a service to fundamental local churches. We started without an official constituency, group of churches, or individuals to whom we had a felt duty or obligation to please by adopting their desired or approved program philosophy. This autonomy also extended to such issues as summer staff recruitment, calendar decisions, speaker decisions, board of director issues, funding and budgeting concerns, as well as standards and camp rules. Rather, we started with a strong sense of God’s will and leading in this new venture for Him—a faith ministry from the very beginning.
While allowing us complete autonomy in choices and decision making, our position also meant that there was no one who was obligated to send campers or financially support what we were doing. In essence, we had a constituency of One, and we were looking only to Him for advice, support, and campers. That One was Jesus Christ. He called us to this ministry and He would be faithful in His time to “also perform it.” With confidence in our Lord, we started and today we continue, looking to and trusting only in Him.
How did we, do we, and will we define success? As Abraham was willing, if necessary, to participate in the death of his son of promise and forego his God-given vision from years before in order to obey God, so we must be willing to participate in the ending of this ministry, if necessary, in order to obey God. Survival, growth, acceptance and acclaim, accomplishment of our mission, and numerical or financial success— these are not more important than our obedience to God. We must be willing to see the vision die.
It took Abraham 45 years to get to the place where he was willing to put it all in God’s hands and to believe that what God had promised He was also able to perform (Romans 4:20–21). At every point that he stepped out of obedience to God in order to accomplish God’s promise, God had to reign him back and teach him again that obedience to God would result in God’s promise and work being done only in God’s way (obedience), in God’s timing (patiently waiting on God), by God’s man (taking the next step of faith), and in such a way that glorifies God Himself (obedience). That is how we define success—by pleasing our constituency of ONE, and we do that by obeying God so as to glorify Him!
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.