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.


1 comment:

Gina Dabney said...

Hello all, I also was encouraged by the Retreat. I am heartened to see that our youth see the Retreat as an intense time of teaching and true fellowship and not just a weekend away from home.
The small group I was in had similar concerns about sharing their faith in a "hostile environment." When it came time to "poke your fire" several of them said they were doing ok with private devotion time, but found it a struggle when it came to evangelism. It's not that they don't know what to say...they just don't have the will to speak up for fear of what others will think. And these comments came from kids that are a little older and out in the world more. There is a need to strike the balance between being an obnoxious bible thumper and a closet Christian. I am looking forward to the Eagle study.