For those in youth ministry, fall tends to be retreat season. We participate each year in two retreat hosted at our church camp, Butler Springs. This weekend we will take students to the High School Retreat. Just over a week ago we participated in the Junior High weekend. The theme was Lost & Found and we emphasized how God celebrates when lost people are found.
Our group enjoyed the weekend as we sang together, played games, hung out, looked for Pokemon and even dressed up in costumes!
Last weekend we took our junior high students to the annual Middle School Retreat held at our church camp Butler Springs. We had a good weekend playing some pretty messy games, hanging out, singing together, listening to some good messages and just having a good time.
The leaders of the weekend did a good job unpacking the theme Messy Spirituality. We started the weekend by admitting that we are all a mess – we all have our shortcomings, we all fail, we all mess up. The good news is this: Jesus knows that and He gets in the mess with us and helps us clean up and move forward.
There were two phrases that they used during the weekend that I thought were helpful for our students. The first was this: “Say ‘Yes’ until you can’t.” The idea behind that phrase was to encourage the students (and adults) to simply try. Whatever task or challenge that was presented, we should say “yes” until we couldn’t anymore. Rather than decline an invitation because we didn’t know if we could handle it or accomplish it, we should simply say “yes” and give it a try.
The second phrase made sense to Star Wars fans. It was this: Yoda was wrong. In the movie The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda has a conversation with Luke Skywalker. Luke is faced with a challenge and tells Yoda, “I’ll give it a try.” Yoda says, “No. Try not. Do…or do not. There is no try.” The invitation in following Jesus is to try, to trust in His power to help us when we need it and to depend on His grace when we mess up. The invitation to follow Jesus is to be faithful, not to be perfect.
It was a good retreat and gave our leaders and students a chance to spend time together outside of our regular student ministry programs. I’m grateful for our leaders and the time they invest in our students.
Here’s a short video with some pics from the weekend. Special thanks to Dale for putting it together.