Usually we give our kids 6 or 7 retreat opportunities throughout the year. Our youth ministry has retreats built in to give kids an experience of encounter with the Lord. The Lord can obviously bring us to encounter in a lot of different situations, but retreats are a unique opportunity. Over a weekend away from everything in your life, you can let go of some areas of woundedness, or think more about you and your relationship to God, or open your heart more than you’re usually able to. Life is so busy and having these moments of greater pause and reflection are important. Unfortunately though this has been a year that we haven’t been able to get away from things in the same way and so our youth haven’t had the same opportunities to encounter the Lord.
Although we have had the same encounter opportunities, we were creative last fall and created some small groups and had some outside events, along with some smaller events this winter as well. It's been really great to see the Lord work through these things. I’ve seen a lot of relationships being built in small groups, the Lord giving encouragement during adoration, and more kids growing deeper in their prayer lives. In this season of “no retreats” the Lord has been giving our youth (and the rest of us) new ways of working in our lives and new ways of us having to rely on Him.
This season of “no retreats” has been productive and moved me into directions that I wouldn’t have in a normal year. I’ve been so grateful to the Lord for giving me an opportunity to change some of the structure of our program and take a leap in faith. I look forward to the fruits of some of these changes showing up in the long term, but right now I’m very excited to get back to ministering to the kids during a weekend retreat!
I am hoping and praying that we will be able to have a Spring Retreat weekend (May 7-9) and a Steubenville retreat weekend in the next couple of months. We have safety policies set in place and I am definitely trying to continually adapt to the circumstances that we find ourselves in but I know the Lord is desiring to bring our youth together and minister to their hearts in a way they haven’t had this past year!
I have been waiting since last March to welcome our kids back onto a retreat, and after over a year it’s finally time to jump back in! It has been uncertain since the fall if we’d be able to jump back in, so unfortunately we haven’t done the same amount of yearly fundraising. Our community has been continually generous in prayer and monetary support for our retreats in the past. Please pray for both our events (we definitely will need some prayer warriors) and prayerfully consider supporting us financially as well. Lastly, pray for our youth. They have had to adapt and go without in a lot of different ways this year, and although I think they’ve done a stellar job getting through it, they need even more prayers and support now.