|My personal favourite: the jumping shot.|
I love retreats, so we're willing to take the time and investment to have at least two retreats every ministry year. Here are three reasons I love youth ministry retreat weekends:
Relational Focus. I tell my volunteer leaders that going on a weekend retreat is like having six months worth of small group meetings and youth group nights packed into a two-day period. Removing distractions, cramming people together in tight quarters, lots of playing together, and focusing everyone's attention on the same activities brings everyone closer. I strongly encourage newer students and volunteer leaders to attend retreats, knowing they'll come back with newfound friendships and a deeper sense of connection.
Shared Experience. Part of what creates such a strong relational emphasis is the shared experiences of those who attended. It's all about memory-making and creating shared stories. From games to worship to conversations to spontaneous acts of silliness, bonds are formed that go beyond just words. Even when the shared experience is a disaster--remember that time when the bus broke down and we almost died?--there's a deep sense of, we did this together.
Spiritual Renewal. There are so many examples in Scripture of people "just getting away from it all" to focus on their relationship with God. Removing the distractions of schoolwork, family dynamics, technology and media, and everyday routines allows people to simply be present with God and one another. It creates an environment where the Spirit's voice can be more clearly heard.
What do you love about youth retreats? Share in a comment about your favourite retreat weekend or practice!