In less than a couple of weeks, the student ministry will be heading to Camp Harmattan for the Fall Retreat. As a pastor, I’m incredibly excited about this retreat. Retreats are crucial parts of youth ministry.
Here are three reasons why I believe retreats are so important for youth ministry:
Disruption of the Ordinary
One of the most powerful aspects of a retreat is the disruption of the ordinary. Something unique happens when students and leaders are taken out of their regular schedule and comfort zone. Often in the daily rhythm of our lives God gets pushed aside, but at a retreat our rhythms are intentionally created to connect with God.
Increasingly, younger generations are more technologically connected and less connected interpersonally. Even as adults, we often find ourselves going through withdrawal when our internet connection goes down. To be in an environment where you have limited access to technology and unlimited access to community allows us to engage more deeply. We are forced to be present with each other, and acknowledge what we’re actually dealing with.
Community can sometimes be an elusive thing for a teenager. Thoughts of belonging and bond can run through their minds. When students spend a weekend together on the retreat it helps them to bond and grow closer. They’re able to bond through shared experience, and then reflect back on that time as they mature. Retreats are often rallying points for students. In community, they can remind each other what God did and said in that time, especially when life gets hard.
I can’t wait to hear the stories that come from the Fall Retreat. It’s important that we share what God is doing in our church family. It would be worthwhile to make that part of your own family rhythm.