Reflection: Summer Youth Retreat

The humming sound was loud and constant, like an old air conditioner straining from over use on a hot summer day.   But this sound was music to my ears.  It was the sound of teenagers engaging in conversations with one another.  It was the sound of discovering  shared experiences, likes and dislikes, funny tales and deeper faith.  Without their phones to distract them and pull them away, the youth spent four days and three nights talking – nonstop!  It was a beautiful thing to behold.   A funny thing happened too, once the initial pain of losing their social media wore off, it was soon replaced with group games like Uno, Pictionary, Family Feud or just good, old fashion goofing around time with one another.  And lots and lots of talking and laughter.  If that was all we had done all weekend, I would have considered it a successful weekend.  But there was so much more.  Because away from the phones, away from outside influences, away from pressures from school, friends or family, the youth were able to focus on their relationship with God.

Our theme was Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts.  The youth split into teams and spent their days and nights learning about the different spiritual gifts God gives us.  The results were really interesting.   Overall, the Spiritual Gift of Wisdom was one of the top three gifts of fifteen of our twenty-one participants.  The Spiritual Gifts of Serving and Faith both tied for second with twelve participants scoring one or both as their top three gifts.  The Spiritual Gift of Helping also scored high with eleven participants having it as one of their top three gifts, followed closely by the Spiritual Gift of Exhortation with nine, the Spiritual Gift of Giving with nine, and the Spiritual Gifts of Mercy, Leadership and Administration with eight participants scoring in their top three.  Five participants scoped high in the Spiritual Gift of Knowledge/Discernment, three scored high in Apostle & Missionary, two scored high in Evangelism, two scored high in Prophecy, one scored high for Teaching, Miracles and Healing.  What an amazing display of the Body of Christ!

Now, it is up to us to help your youth develop their gifts and give them opportunities to use them.  This is a commitment I am making to you and them.  I would love to sit down with parents individually and/or as a group to share ideas on how best to go forward.   I look forward to this next year at Haygood, and what God has planned for all of us!