This weekend, 130 of my closest friends and I are headed out to Glen Lake Camp for two of our biggest events of the year: Revolution Weekend and Confirmation Retreat!
Revolution Weekend is our annual all-youth ministries retreat, where our 7th-12th graders spend a weekend learning, worshiping, praying, and playing together.
We have small groups, big games, great guest speakers, a band, and plenty of time to build deeper relationships with God and with one another.
This beloved tradition is a benchmark moment in the faith lives of so many of our teenagers. If you went on youth retreats as a teenager, I’m sure you can remember the outsized influence events like this can have on your concept of your self, your faith, and your place in the Christian community.
And this year, it will be bigger than ever before. With around 30% more teenagers joining us this year than last year, we will have the chance to create meaningful experiences of belonging, connection, and worship for an even larger group of kids in our community.
We’re also hosting our winter Confirmation Retreat this weekend at Glen Lake, which is the capstone experience of our Confirmation program (which, as of this year, is now part of Youth Ministries). The two events run as parallel, but separate, retreats at the same location— with some intentional pockets of overlap, like during big games, meal times, and closing worship. (If that seems like a logistical nightmare, that’s because it kind of is, but it is so unbelievably worth it!)
These retreats are about so much more than the content taught, songs sung, entertainment, or games played. They are about offering these kids a sacred opportunity to imagine life lived differently. Through shared meals, powerful experiences of worship, real conversations, hikes in the woods with friends, and an annual basketball game, our teenagers get a rare glimpse into a more communal, Christ-centered life.
These retreats are about tweens and teens getting the chance to set down all of the anxieties and fears that make adolescence hard and come away to a place where they know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are seen, they are known, they are loved, and they are home.
That’s our theme this year: Home. Our young people don’t always want the coolest, flashiest, newest thing; they want to feel loved, to belong, and to find a place and people that allow them to truly be themselves — and exhale the breath that they feel like they are always holding.
In that sense, our young people — and the rest of us — have a lot in common.
We’ll be talking about our identity as the beloved of Christ, our claimed-ness by Jesus, and what that means for who we are and where we find home. Our great pedagogical imperative, however, will not be teenagers building the capacity to explain the soteriological implications of prevenient grace, but rather to give them the chance to feel what it’s like, in Christ and in community, to be fully home.
I ask that you, as part of our larger congregation, keep these 100+ teenagers and 25+ amazing adult volunteers in your prayers. Pray that God moves in powerful ways in and among them and that they may feel – many for the first time – the belovedness that is the very foundation of our faith. I also ask that you pray for the youth staff as we seek to execute our plans, keep kids safe, and stay attuned to what the Holy Spirit is up to during this retreat.
Thank you all for the tithes, volunteer hours, and other gifts that have made all of this work possible. You have created a home for a whole new generation of people in our community — and I am grateful.
Director of Youth Ministries