Monday, February 13, 2006
First thoughts on the retreat
Wow, what an amazing time. I think the retreat is one of my favorite events of the year. I am always amazed at the youths willingness to sit through 2 and 3 hour lessons. I am also continually amazed at what the retreat does to me. I always am emotionally and physically drained after the retreat, but it always charges my desire for full-time ministry. The opportunity the Lord gives us to have an impact on the lives of these youth is invaluable. I think back to the first retreat. The last lesson I taught of that retreat was about passions. What are we passionate about? What ministries excite us and do we yearn to participate in. For me, the retreat reminds me why I love youth ministry. It is not the actual retreat that does this. During the retreat I actually get very focused on the material and try to spend a lot of time in prayer when I am not teaching. It is the 6-8 weeks leading up to the retreat. During that time when I am preparing the material. I spend a lot of time thinking about the youth and how the lesson will apply to each of them individually. It is truly an incredible time.
I was encouraged by the junior highers this week. I think Mark has done a good job with them and that fruit is starting to show. They are willing to jump in and interact with the group, both during free time and during the lessons. I think they will slide right in and fill vacancies left by those graduating. I think the Lord is going to establish some leaders from among them, and I saw some of the foreshadows of that for the first time this weekend.
I enjoyed taking the opportunity to listen in on your small groups. It sounded like you all got good interaction from most of the people in your groups. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts from that group time.
It seemed like the idea of praying through prayer struck a chord with all the youth. Maybe this is something we should pursue with the leader training on Tuesdays. Speaking of Tuesdays, I plan to start with the group as a whole. I want to see who will be participating, and how they respond to the teaching. After a week or two, I will look at maybe doing some small group time also. I will need to know who from the leadership team will be attending and how much you can be involved.
As soon as I get pictures, I will get them posted here.