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surviving my first retreat… April 24, 2007

Posted by abi in ministry.
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me and my youth group at RVROur youth group went on retreat last weekend to a local retreat center “ranch”.  It was an amazing weekend all around – the weather was gorgeous and in the 70s-80s the whole time.  I’ve been hearing reports back from the youth that this was the best retreat ever, so that is good to hear.  And I really think that some of them had some good times of thinking about God and worshiping Him in ways that they don’t normally get to.   

It was a ton of work to prepare for the retreat – but I really did love it.  I was in charge of everything all weekend – I know, pretty crazy!  I had some great adult chaperones who were helping out too – couldn’t have done it without them.  And the youth in the group were a lot of fun – they put up with all my crazy activities and at least pretended to be excited about stuff. 

Our theme was Survivor – “How to be a SURVIVOR in a messed up world.”  Which ended up being very much of a God thing with the VA Tech shootings that happened last week – we were able to talk about that and the fact that God didn’t intend for things like that to happen – He is crying with us – our sin has messed this world up.  And we spent a good while praying for the students at VA Tech.  I had the youth memorize Phil. 3:12-14 (theme verse) with crazy hand motions and made it a challenge for the survivor teams, so we all knew it by the end of the weekend.  And I did 4 talks:
1) Survivor Intro – How our life is like those of the contestants on Survivor TV show and how the verse (Phil. 3:12-14) fits in.
2) Messed up – Sin and how it messed up everything
3) Lifeboat Savior – Our need for a Savior and how He saves us
4) Survivors need each other – How we were created to be in community and encourage each other.

As the activity with the third talk, we did the somewhat controversial lifeboat exercise (where I gave them slips of paper with different people on them – a short description of their personalities, occupation and then they had to choose which of those would get on a lifeboat and which would drown – I only let them choose 8 out of 16 people to get on the lifeboat) and it was really interesting.  Both teams independently chose the same people to get on the boats – even when there were some tough calls of who was more “deserving”.  Mostly it ended up being the women and children – those who had a future to look forward to or the doctor who could help them all.  I threw in some crazy names just for fun – Bill Gates, Brittany Spears, and our pastor – but none of them made it on the boat.  I was surprised that the pastor didn’t make it, but one team had a really good reason – they said that he sacrificially gave up his spot for everyone else and wanted to be there to pray with people in their last hours.  I can’t wait to tell our pastor about that.  They got the point – that God doesn’t go around and pick like that – whoever deserves it or who is most popular or has the most money.  God saves anyone who accepts His Son and the free gift He offers – all we have to do is get on the lifeboat.  I gave the youth some personal devotional time after that talk and some of them really did use it and spend some good time with God.  A few even came up to me and talked to me about it afterwards.  It was very neat, and I just pray that God was and is speaking to them.  Then they planned and led a worship service on Sunday morning which was great, because each one of them was involved. 

Love those kids and really am so thankful I have the privilege of working with them.  I can’t wait until I can do this full-time….

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