Loving God; Loving Others

 Serving God; Serving Others


The church and the camp have coexisted almost from the beginning.  The story begins with two individuals that had a desire to  create a campground where children could learn about nature, experience the comradery of others, and ultimately hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One of those individuals was a prominent businessman in the community who had resources to begin making the dream a reality. His name was Clarence Johnson. The other was a well known and loved church pastor, Brother Harry Tapp. Together they began working on a piece of property to establish the Mississippi Youth Camp. Originally the campground was on a large tract of land in south Mississippi with the Biloxi River running right through the middle of it. Excavation machines were brought in to shape the ground and create a swimming area, a bridge that crossed the river, a ball field and space for several buildings. These buildings included a place for worship, bunkhouses, a kitchen and dining area, a mini petting zoo, a home for the caretaker, and an outdoor pavilion. With these provisions in place, both the camp and the church began to function and affect the community. On that same property, the planting of a mission church quickly followed the establishment of the campground.  For the first time, on September 1, 1991, with Brother Harry Tapp as pastor, Campground Baptist Church met.  The site was a double-wide trailer located on the grounds of the Mississippi Youth Camp.  The church has two goals – to be a working church for working people and to establish and support the camp ministry: campground organized into a church on September 20, 1991, with 26 members.  With God’s blessings, the church quickly outgrew the trailer, and they moved to a modular building on the same site. In the spring of 1995, nineteen inches of rain fell in six hours flooding the entire property and leaving the campground and the devastated and unusable. The church had several feet of water inside.  It was cleaned and use continued for a short time, but the congregants knew that it was time to move to higher ground. In the fall of 1996, the church met for the first time at its new location, 20577 Hwy 49, where a new building was constructed for worship. The new site proved to be the perfect place for the church to continue to grow, but the dream of the camp ministry seemed to have been rolled away by the flood waters. In 2005, due to declining health, Brother Harry Tapp resigned, and in July of that year, Brother Bryan Atwood accepted the position as pastor.  It was in 2006 that the Lord reignited the desire to establish once again a campground that would fulfill the original dream. At this point, there were no camp facilities. There was only a sanctuary for worship, a fellowship hall for dining, and education space available to use for camp.  Despite the facility challenges, the church went to work planning for camp in 2006. The existing facilities were temporarily transformed into camp facilities, and the dream of hosting summer camp was once again a reality for Campground Baptist Church. One of the goals for the camp established in 2006 was that it would be a ministry entirely staffed by church volunteers. Not only would the camp be a blessing to campers, but it would be a blessing for church members participating in personal service. Now, one of the great joys of the camp season is to see the church come alive as we work and serve together to make an eternal investment in the lives of children for the glory of Christ. The motto of Campground is “a working church for a working people.” This goal is fulfilled as we serve together in this fruitful ministry. Since 2006, God has continued to bless this ministry by adding six bunkhouses that can accommodate 160 campers, two fully functional shower houses, access to a private lake, more worship space, additional kitchen space, a new gym area, and thankfully, many more volunteers to make camp possible. God provided all these resources, and there is no debt on any of the facilities used for camp ministry. It has been amazing to see how God responds each time to faith exercised by His people. Another goal of this ministry is to make it possible for any child to attend camp regardless of financial ability. The church desires to provide every child with the opportunity to participate in camp. The church has ministered to many children in the community who would otherwise not have the chance to attend camp and hear the message of Jesus.  There have been hundreds who have received Jesus as their Savior and many families in our community reached because their kids wanted to come to camp. We are grateful for  the opportunity God has given us to serve Him in this way.   The never-ending excitement of seeing God bless and expand this ministry is indescribable.  To God be the glory, great things He has done. Perhaps your church or association would like to conduct a camp or plan a retreat. We would love to open our doors and allow you to use what God has blessed us with.


Contact Us


Campground Baptist Church

20577 Highway 53Gulfport, MS 39503


Wednesday Service

5:45 p.m. Dinner
6:30 p.m. AWANA
(August – May)
6:30 p.m Prayer Meeting

Sunday Service

9:45 a.m. Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Morning Worship 

6:00 p.m. Sunday Evening Worship 

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