look up lodge
In 1960, Max Rice sold his share of the family-owned Rice Mill textile manufacturing plant in Belton to work fulltime as a lay Christian minister. As an extension of his evangelistic ministry, Max and his wife, Vivian, opened Look Up Lodge on 230 acres off Hwy 11 in Travelers Rest, SC.
Originally founded as a sports summer camp with a Christian emphasis, Look Up Lodge offered year-round weekend retreats for churches and other groups. Rice founded the retreat center “for the enrichment of the spiritual life of the participants and the deepening of their personal relationship to Christ,” and as a place where guests could “seek to learn from God’s Word the function of the Church, the meaning of discipleship, and the role of the layman in the world … mainly through Bible study, discussion, testimonies, sharing and prayer.”
Since that time, Look Up Lodge has grown from a 50-bed retreat to its current capacity of 400, and has remained true to Rice’s original vision. Although no longer dedicated to sports, Look Up Lodge’s Christian summer camp program and year-round retreats continue to minister to children, youth and adults from churches all over the Southeast. Look Up Lodge is known for sound biblical teaching presented in a relevant and memorable format, and many church groups return to Look Up Lodge year after year for a time of renewal, teaching, and fun.
One of the hallmarks of Look Up Lodge’s ministry is its sense of family that now extends to three generations. Rice’s son-in law, Tim Wilson, served as a camp director for 16 years, and Rice’s grandson, David Wilson, served as a summer camp staffer in 2005.
Look Up Lodge’s current director, Greg Boone, came to Look Up as a 9th grade camper in 1981. As a college student, he worked as a Look Up Lodge summer camp staffer for four years, during which time he met another summer staffer named Leanne, who would eventually become his wife. After serving as a youth minister in Stone Mountain, Georgia, Greg returned to Look Up Lodge in 1997 to become program director. One of Greg’s summer staffers that year was a young man named Brian whom Greg had once brought to Look Up as a camper—and now Brian is on our Board of Trustees.
The camper-to-staffer connection continues today: this past summer, two-thirds of the summer staff had at one time been campers or had been impacted by a former Look Up staffer.
In 2005, Look Up Lodge had a change in ownership. Rice originally founded Look Up Lodge as a part of his non-profit Lay Christian Association. After an 11-year period under the ownership of Jim Spry, Look Up Lodge has returned to non-profit roots and is governed by our Board of Trustees.
In 1958, Elizabeth Motsinger, seeking a hideaway in which to seek God found this place. She had been struggling for years to know if God actually exists, and, if so, whether He could be known. A year passed while her lawyer worked to clear the title. Betty attended Camp Farthest Out at Kanuga Conference Center where she received the Lord Jesus as her living Lord and Savior. That very night a telephone call came saying that the title to the land was clear and that she could purchase it.
After making her 732-acre acquisition, Betty moved into the small four-room shack at the lower end of the property. The snow blew in between the siding on cold, windy winter days and nights, but the time seemed like a “honeymoon” in her newly found relationship with Jesus. The weather was not suitable for building, so it was the following Thanksgiving before her new residence was finished. And was she thankful!
Having been touched so powerfully by the Spirit of God, she dedicated her all to Him, yielding herself to be His handmaiden. Her resources and her newly purchased property were joyfully surrendered to honor and glorify the Lord Jesus for His highest purposes. In her heart of hearts, Betty committed her life to obedience to His direction and plan.
And so High Pastures was birthed. As it emerged, God established it as a place where “His sheep” could be fed, find refuge and refreshing, be equipped and strengthened for service, and anointed for ministry.
Soon after Betty moved into her house in 1960 she began receiving visitors sent by the Father. Small groups began to come for weekends, and Betty was hard pushed to provide for their care. She says she didn’t “found” High Pastures. The Lord sent the people and all she could do was try to cope with that He was doing.
As the number of guests outgrew the capacity of her house, Betty built more buildings as demand dictated and as she was able. By this time she felt that she was living in Isaiah 54:2: “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.”
Each time another building was finished, this scripture was dropped into her mind. By 1968 her home was surrounded by a log cabin, a guest house, a two-bedroom cottage and a small hut. She could go no further without help, so High Pastures was incorporated and a Board of Directors was elected.
As groups, families, couples, individuals, and people from many Christian ministries were using the facilities and resources, the need for additional lodging and food services buildings became apparent. In 1970 the dormitory, upper residence, and dining hall were built. The prayer tower was built in 1980 to 1981 – a unique structure for prayer and meditation.
In 1992, construction was begun on Laurel Lodge conference building which was opened in the spring of 1993. The Dining Hall was expanded in 1995.
Betty retired from actively managing High Pastures in 1989 and passed into His presence October 19, 2002. As she had dedicated High Pastures to honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ for His highest purposes, she assured its continuance by leaving her entire estate to the organization, thereby endowing the work God had called her to even after she was gone to be with Him.
The buildings, the landscaping and trails, the food and other support services, the staff and Board of Directors are all for the purpose of glorifying God, for providing a place for His Word to be proclaimed, and for providing training and outreach into all the world to further the good new of Jesus Christ. Those were Betty’s goals and purposes then and are the goals and purposes of High Pastures today and in the days to come.
It is our prayer that everyone who comes to this mountain will have a meeting with God.