Finding time away with your students can enhance your youth ministry exponentially. Some of the most memorable moments teenagers take with them after graduation will probably happen in a setting away from your local church. While we are all still learning how to best serve students after encountering a pandemic, our students can gain so much insight through the ability to get away even for as short a time as one day. Finding a way to plan a safe, one-day or weekend retreat should be on your radar this fall. Here are four reasons your students need you to plan a retreat.
1. Intergenerational Relationships
Students need to know that there are Christian adults excited to care for them. While your weekly volunteer base may connect well with your students on a regular basis, those same adults will have more time to get to know students away from the hustle of a Wednesday night. Also, every adult who helps you during your retreat will have a chance to show how much young people matter in the life of the church. Even your senior adults could come cook a meal for you to share. The possibilities for deeper intergenerational connections are endless!
2. A Place To Process
While consistent discipleship is the best way for young people to grow spiritually long term, retreats encourage young people to view their faith from a different angle. Although students can grow spiritually while keeping up with homework, jobs, and family obligations, many students might be struggling to keep up with life’s expectations. Allowing students time and space outside of their normal routine may allow them to gain some perspective on where God might already be at work in their lives and how God might use them in the future. Just remember that after every great retreat weekend, students will benefit greatly when you follow up with a regularly scheduled discipleship.
3. Building Strong Christian Friendships
There is something special about being together for new experiences, long van rides, and shared meals that can encourage our students to build stronger bonds than ever before. Sharing time together during a retreat can be one of the best ways to encourage students to build deeper relationships with one another. These relationships may actually be formative to the life of your students because they will learn to have conversations with their peers about their faith and a place of belonging inside the walls of your church for years to come.
4. A Routine of Rest
Rest is a commandment from God for our lives, but often due to busy schedules, we ignore the idea of rest. A retreat can be a great time of fun, community, and teaching, but it should also be a time of rest. Teaching students how to rest before the Lord is a valuable worship practice that they can take into their adulthood and beyond. However you choose to get away this year, remember to communicate to young people that rest is a blessing from God.