Saturday, January 14, 2006

Don't Retreat and Drive!

The Senior High retreat was great. Our speaker reminded us of God's grace and challenged us to be a blessing. Several students in my group talked about the media and its influence due to a couple of seminars they attended. They were challenged to think critically about what they listen to and watch and to ask better questions than simply, "Is this 'Christian' or not?" (As Rob Bell points out, that's a bad question to begin with since 'Christian' wasn't meant to be an adjective, but rather a noun. See Velvet Elvis. )

The musical worship times were a highlight for me. It's always a privilege to play and especially to stand on the stage because of the vantage point it gives. It is quite powerful to be able to observe and join in worship with 400 students. The band was tight and we pulled off "All Because of You" quite well, too! It's always fun to rock out a bit. Above all, I believe God was glorified.

Saturday evening was especially cool. During the end of communion our last 2-3 songs required a more sparse instrumentation and so I sat out leaving one guitar along with the keys, bass and drums, and went and sat with my students. It was nice to simply participate in worship without having to play. It also afforded me the opportunity to serve communion to one student who hadn't participated previously.

One of the best decisions I've made with regard to retreats is to leave the driving to others. We usually bring 20-40 students on our retreat and we used to rent vans. Now, and for the last 4-6 years, we charter a bus (along with another church) and this is a good thing. Sure there is an additional cost, but it's worth it. I now have a habit of conducting post-retreat interviews with my students. I pick a seat with an empty one next to it and pick a student to interview. The interview is designed to be as short or long as the student would like, and hopefully pretty non-threatening. I ask what their favorite part of the retreat was, anything they would change if they were in charge of the weekend and if there is anything in particular that they felt God wanted them to hear or receive during the weekend. I then ask if there's anything I haven't asked that they want to share and then I pray for them. I tell them to pick another student and send them to me and do it all over again. Some kids open up quite a bit and others don't say a lot, but it does give me a chance to pray for each student individually. It allows me to give good feedback to those who plan the retreat and to get a sense of where my students are at spiritually. So my youth pastor friends, leave the driving to someone else.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My experience at Winterfest makes me sad that I can't really go back next year. Those were always the highlighting events of my winter vacations in high school. They will be sorely missed.

Mungi, dwelling in angst and uncertainty.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Mungi, is that really you? I'm glad to hear they were highlights...they are always highlights for me as well.

10:42 AM  

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