Frequently Asked Questions

For whom are these classes intended?
The Compass Points courses are intended for learners who would like to expand and deepen their knowledge in camp and retreat ministry. The participants come from a wide variety of positions, facility types, and program models. Persons of all denominations are welcome.

How much does it cost?
The registration fee for each course is $300.00. There is a $25.00 discount for members of Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association, United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries, Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers Inc. and the Outdoor Ministries Association of the United Church of Christ. The cost for lodging and meals is dependent on each host site. As an example, Fall 2021 participants paid $300 for meals and a double-occupancy, private bath bedroom for one class ($350 for single occupancy). We also provide a shuttle from the local major airport for $25 or less (depending on distance).

Who are the faculty for these classes?
The faculty are selected due to their knowledge in the course subject and each have experience in outdoor ministry. The Biblical and Theological Foundations and Program Design and Implementation courses are taught by the faculty of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia (near Atlanta).

Do I need to enroll in the Compass Points program before I start taking classes?
You do not need to do anything before you start registering for courses. The program will track your progress if you decide to complete all eight courses and pursue the Compass Points certificate.

Where do these courses take place?
One of the back-to-back course offerings takes place at Columbia Theological Seminary (Decatur, GA) every year and a half. The other courses are held at selected camp and retreat sites across the United States. In order to keep the prices low for the participants, the Compass Points Coordinating Council selects these locations based on the host site’s bid.

What is the schedule for a typical Compass Points course?
All of the classes in the program (except for the Site Administration and Capstone courses) involve the participants gathering face-to-face for two and a half days. These courses are offered back-to-back during the week – one from Sunday dinner to Wednesday lunch and the other from Wednesday dinner to Saturday lunch. Class time will begin with dinner on the first night. For the next two days, the class will meet from breakfast to lunch, from lunch to dinner (with some sort of break), and then a period of time after dinner. The course content will be delivered using lecture, small and large group discussions, class presentations, and other activities. For the last day, the class meets until lunch (on either Wednesday or Saturday).

Do I have to attend all of the class?
These courses are intense in the amount of content presented, therefore attendance and participation are expected throughout the duration of the course. Any exceptions (highly discouraged) must be arranged in advance. These courses are designed around sharing and discussion with faculty and fellow participants, so your participation is important to the overall quality and experience of the course for both you and your fellow learners.

Is there a final project related to these courses?
Each of the courses has a final project. The instructors use this assignment to evaluate the participation’s articulation of the subject matter. The final project is typically due one or two months after the class. The instructors will grade the final project and give the participant a passing grade or request to re-write of some or all of the assignment.

Can I take a course without completing the final project?
Participants may audit a course without receiving credit towards the certificate. Courses can be taken as a stand-alone class if one seeks to deepen knowledge in that particular subject matter.

What do I receive if I complete the certificate program?
Participants who complete all eight courses receive a compass inscribed with their name and a certificate (signed by the President of Columbia Theological Seminary).

Do you have other questions?
Please contact Joel Winchip at