Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mosaic Winter Retreat Reflections

Joel and Gus the Intern pointing awkwardly at each other

After taking a few days to refine my thoughts and impressions of the junior high winter retreat I just led, here are a few of my thoughts:

Details are important: I am not a details person.  I tend to see the big picture, think in abstract terms, and have a disorganized office.  So details can sometimes get missed.  But the details are so important, and can sometimes be the difference between something being tolerable and something being great.  Details to remember for the future: drivers of 15-passenger vans need to be 25+ years old, and always bring your own video projector.

Smaller is sweeter: While there are healthy times for "big" gatherings and events, those times when the community is small and intimate can be extremely powerful in a young person's life. This weekend, we took some time and got to know each other in our group as we explored what the body of Christ looks like.

Discipleship is invaluable: Disciple requires people lovingly guiding other people. There is always an abundance of people who need to be discipled and mentored, and frequently too few people willing to do it.  We often have about a 1:20 staff-to-student ratio at a Wednesday gathering. For this retreat, the ratio was 1:3. We had more youth staff able to participate on this retreat than any other event thus far. The difference it made in the students' lives was remarkable, and the difference in the staff's response was powerful too.

Joy is contagious: Watching our group just laugh together this weekend was so refreshing. A community that can laugh together can love together. One of my favorite moments was playing a game of human foosball (think foosball table, but human-sized) when the field was covered in ice. The players started as a few guys, but grew to almost our entire group, laughing and sliding on the ice together. The joy was contagious, and the unity at that moment could be felt.

The entire goal for the winter retreat was to build community as a group. There are so many social barriers that can leave people disconnected from one another. To watch those barriers fall and see students embrace one another in love, praying for one another, serving one another in communion, and laughing late into the night was a beautiful ministry moment for me.  

I am genuinely pumped to see how this retreat becomes a catalyst for spiritual growth in our community!

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