This past weekend (February 19-21) Elevate Student Ministry took 21 students and 6 adults to Black Rock Retreat in Pennsylvania for Elevate’s Winter Retreat 2016. It was an amazing weekend where God “MOVED” in powerful ways in the lives of our students, and they “MOVED” in response. As I said about last year’s winter retreat summary post there is no way that I could fully capture the wonder of the weekend fully in this simple post. This is my humble attempt to give a overall summary of the weekend. I encourage all parents to ask their own teens specifics about the weekend.
The theme of the weekend was MOVE. In the Friday evening service Pastor Derek (myself) shared about the fences we can build up in our lives that keep God from moving in our lives and us from moving as He is calling us to move. I also shared about the dangers of “straddling the fence” in our faith. In response we had an 8 foot long fence that student wrote/drew on things that were fences in their lives. Students were then dismissed into small groups to discuss and wrestle with the message further.
On Saturday morning after breakfast the students spent time having their own personal quiet time with God. During this time they interacted with the devotional they were given on Friday night. After quiet time we had Family Room. Family Room is a mix of small group, large group and personal reflection time. During this time we discussed our experience doing quiet time, baby Christians verses mature Christians, the importance of casting aside our burdens that hold us back from moving, the importance of getting up after we stumble in our faith, and how we are all called to actively show love to others.
After lunch the students had some free time in the afternoon to hike, play in the gym, and we even had a wagon ride this year. Later in the afternoon we held our 2nd Annual Rhino Games where students competed as a team in random silly games to earn the right to have their picture put on the Rhino Award and hung in the youth room for the next year. Congrats to Barb, Troy, Tyler, Jocelyn, Julia, and Madi of the “Black Rhinos” team for winning this year’s Rhino Games.
For our evening service the students participated in “The Experience”. The Experience is an interactive look at The Lord’s Prayer. After our time doing “The Experience” together the students discussed their experience in small groups.
After small groups the students showed their creativity during “Who’s Line is it Anyways? Elevate Style”. Each group had different challenges they were given and had to come up with their own skits. It was a hilarious and bonding time.
On Sunday we once again started our time with personal quiet time in God’s Word. For our last service together we showed the students a video of what we did with the fence that they wrote on, and talked about how this is what we should do with the fences in our lives that keep us from moving as God has called us to move. You can check out the video here: https://youtu.be/OwnnGA1xTeY. We then talked about the Great Commission and that as Christ Followers we are all called to make disciples by sharing our faith with others. We ended our time by partaking in the Lord’s Supper together, and each student took a piece of the fence home with them to remind them of the commitments that they made this weekend.
This was an incredibly fun and growing experience for students and adults alike. God MOVED in powerful ways, and students responded. It was great to see them share their stories, and include each other in activities. Our group grew a lot closer to God, and to each other this weekend.
I want to give a huge thank you to our amazing group of adult sponsors who gave up time with their families, got little sleep, and probably lost a bit of their sanity to minister to our students this weekend. They served as small group leaders, drivers, behind the scene helpers, and were always ready to be there to support and listen to a student. This weekend would not have been possible without their help.
Blessings on you and your families!