Serving as youth pastors Scott and Jeff found camp ministry to be one of the most effective times for their respective student ministries. Students found a relationship with God at camp. Christian students found themselves renewed in their commitment to walk with Christ each day. The effectiveness of camp ministry was making an impact on these two youth pastors as well. The frustration they both shared was in the lack of quality programming as well as a camp ministry philosophy that valued the local church, its leadership and the youth workers that invested so much time with their students.
God was planting seeds of vision in these early conversations, individually God began to stir a calling to leave traditional church ministry to effectively reach the lost generation each had been called to reach.
In 2006 Jeff launched a youth evangelistic ministry under the banner Vertical Life Ministries. In 2009 VLM hosted its first camp. Jeff reached out to Scott and asked if he would help with camp programming. This marked their first combined effort into camp ministry. Around this same time, Scott along with two of his friends from college started Elevate Worldwide. They agreed to provide programming at VLM’s second year of camp while they recruited and planned for a camp week of their own. Elevate Worldwide recruited their first churches and in 2011 hosted their first camp that same year.
In 2012 Elevate Worldwide and Vertical Life joined forces to form Elevate. It has proven to be a fruitful partnership. Our common background, philosophy, and vision combined with different gifts have given us a strong foundation. God has since guided our families and added to our team. Duane Helle brings a lifetime of service and passion for students to our team. Jennifer Petrey has a passion for camp and students. She has served part-time with Elevate since 2014. While we are a modest ministry, God has blessed and we are providing camp to over 1200 students each summer. Our camp weeks are full and we are expanding into other summer camp venues. We believe God has uniquely brought us to this place and with your help; we are making a real difference in the lives of students for the kingdom of Christ.