Our mission is simply this: Building Relationships for Eternal Impact . We exist to minister to the body of Christ by nurturing the saints and reaching out to those who don't know Christ. We offer Christ-centered camps and retreats that are biblically sound and relationally strong, providing godly leadership for age sensitive programming in a fun-filled environment.
In keeping with this mission, during off-season dates, our facilities are exclusively available for use by church groups and other parachurch ministries for spiritual retreats.
In 1950, Charles and Bonnie Barge of Macon, Mississippi began an interdenominational Christian camp ministry in the midst of a 50,000 acre pine forest in rural Noxubee County. For over 50 years, Lake Forest Ranch has been providing Christian camps and retreats in a pristine environment that is among the most beautiful settings in the Southeast. Because of its interdenominational status and remote location, many church and ministry leaders have only recently become acquainted with this valuable resource.
1944 – A cabin was built near the lake that was called “Lakeview Lodge.” It was first used by C.A.Barge to manage his timberlands, and it was later used for small retreats for the camp.
1947 – The Tabernacle was built which was used for revival meetings, a shop for Barge Timberlands, as well as for storing hay.
1949 – In preparation for the first summer of camp at LFR a kitchen, dining hall, and several cabins were constructed.
1950 –Lake Forest Ranch began!! Dick Shurtz was the first camp director.
1957 – Charlie Barge assumed the role of camp director upon Dick and Charlene’s departure for the mission field.
1959 – C.A. Barge went home to be with the Lord and Richard, his son, assumed the role of manager of the the camp and the Barge Timberlands. J.L. Morris stepped in as the camp director that summer before leaving for the mission field.
1961 –Mickey (and Martha) Park and family moved to camp and he became camp director. Mark Weaver came as the facilities manager and camp counselor/ the lake was drained to build a pier and to remove stumps; due to a drought that year the lake took a while to fill up so the Barges decided to build the swimming pool (it is the same pool that we have at the camp today – built to last). This was also the year for the beginning of the Bible Conference/Deer Hunt. Likewise, Rev. W.A. Story from Jackson, MS began an annual prayer retreat at LFR.
1963 – Camp held a fishing retreat; this event continues today.
1964 –Fred Minton was the summer camp director and Olga Simmons was the summer camp dietician. Skip Shelton took the leadership of the hunting portion of the Bible Conference/Deer Hunt (he has continued in this role to the present).
1965-66 – Bob Hutcherson was the summer camp director.
1967-69 – Gerald (and Mary) Cowen moved to camp and he was the camp director; John Harmon came
on as facilities manager.
1970-71 – Bob (and Caroline) Hutcherson moved to the camp and he was the camp director. In 1970 there were 899 campers – 142 decisions for Christ. The spillway was moved from near the dining hall to the present location on the far end of the levy.
1973 – David Walker came as summer camp director.
1974 – the first telephone line was run to the camp
1975 - Greg Cromarte was the summer camp director. Morris Miller came as facilities manager.
1976 – Steve (and Linda) Morris moved to the camp and he became the camp director.
1981 - Kent Morris came as facilities manager.
1993 - Rich (and Sandy) Malone moved to the camp and he became camp director.
The purpose of Lake Forest Ranch is to support the Body of Christ by offering Christ-centered camps and retreats that are biblically sound, relationally strong, and spiritually nurturing. We provide godly leadership for age-sensitive programming in a fun-filled environment.
We carefully and prayerfully select our staff from a large number of applicants each year from all around the country. The staff goes through extensive pre-summer training. They each make sure that the campers, who are their guests every week, have role models to follow who love Christ, love people, and who know how to have a lot of fun.