No Fair-Weather Faith
A group of middle-schoolers spent a day in the rain and cold learning about God's desire to be with us no matter what, even in the midst of adversity. Our Next Generations Director and Youth Ministry Interns share more about the experience.
Saturday's retreat was unforgettable. After two months (essentially) of no rain, we were stuck in a cloud, trees dripping 55-degree water on us for eight hours or so. But that didn't stop a dozen middle-schoolers and a handful of dedicated volunteers from enjoying a day-long retreat.
We hiked to Hebron rock colony, made a blanket fort for shelter, and talked about David's method of dealing with adversity. In our "blanket cave" we explored David's enigmatic psalm (57), "Awake, my soul!" I must say, I could not have envisioned us needing a cave to hide from our own adversity, but the theme came alive quite well. Then we bailed to the office for a cookout and a devotional from Hannah.
"Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed."—Psalm 57:1
I am grateful for this family. It's these kinds of experiences that weave us close together. Our youth group handled the afternoon very well—troopers. Thanks for letting us be a part of your family.
John and Hannah, our Youth Ministry Interns, shared some of their insights and photos from the retreat below.
Hannah—This season of Youth Ministry has been a whirlwind. The Lord has grown this outreach so much as we now have a dedicated team of seven leaders, an influx of new students, and a new, larger gathering space for our weekly youth group. These are all outward signs of growth. I am so grateful for all of it.
But what I am most interested in as the greatest sign of growth in this ministry is the level of depth of relational care that we are reaching with our students. Our volunteer team is so committed to forming intentional relationships with each student and it is such a privilege to watch those relationships form. What I, John, and Ethan felt it was important to focus on this year as a leadership team was how we can foster growth in these relationships outside the walls of the Wednesday night youth group.
John—A wise man once said, "You can plan a pretty picnic, but you cannot predict the weather." And this held true to the youth group for our fall retreat. Rainy and cold are never the words you want to describe the conditions when you plan to be outside all day, but that is where we found ourselves.
In my life, I have found the most memorable times come from some of the most nonideal scenarios. When things are not going according to plan, you get to see the true side of people. Thanks to the cold, I saw people driven to keep morale high, sharing jackets, and making the most of every moment.
"I saw a group of teens and volunteers who just loved being around each other, despite the conditions."—John
I realized that relationship-building conversations that happen in cars while warming up your fingers and toes would never have taken place if it was sunny and 75. Upon reflection, I realized God’s plan taking precedence to what we “expected” to happen for our fall retreat. I am continually grateful for the opportunity to do life alongside these volunteers and these teens.
Hannah—We believe that there is something powerful that occurs when the youth are taken out of their normal youth group context. Unexpected relationships blossom when youth are encouraged to simply be with one another, especially in new settings, which is something we witnessed firsthand at our first-ever youth retreat this past spring. We want to create space for lasting relationships to form on the basis of common memories made together at an event such as a retreat. What we designed based on this desire was a one-day youth retreat right in our own backyard. We spent the day at Price Park hiking, playing incredibly competitive rounds of Capture the Flag, and just being together.
Despite—or maybe because of—the numb toes and wet hair, this was certainly an event that I will never forget and I don’t foresee the students forgetting either. I think we bonded over being slightly miserable and we ended up just laughing about it together. I walked away from the event feeling overall very humbled and very grateful, once I got a hot shower. To me the day was such a picture of what it actually looks like to do life with someone; it’s not always going to be rainbows and sunshine.
"What I hope these kids witnessed firsthand through this experience was that they have people on their team who are going to stick out the storms with them."—Hannah
It’s incredible to me that this ministry is offering that to students who are in a season of really needing some teammates and I can’t get enough. I still have to pinch myself daily because I just cannot believe that I get to be even a small part of these kids’ lives.
We're on a mission to grow toward God, connect with one another, and serve in Christ's Love. Simple. 6th-12th graders gather together with loving volunteers to engage the Bible and build community. Come be with us.
Wednesdays • 6-7:30pm
Three Forks Baptist Association • 513 Jefferson Road, Boone