As I was driving to work this brisk morning, sipping my coffee, and watching the sun hit the different colors of the changing leaves, I couldn’t help but smile. Fall finally feels like it has arrived, and that always fills me with excitement and anticipation!
I get excited when Fall feels “official”, because in youth ministry that means a Fall Retreat is right around the corner. I also get filled with anticipation, because I start to think about all the ways God has, can, and will work in the lives of the students that attend the retreat.
Even though I have not yet been on a retreat with Friendship Youth, through my own personal experience as a High School student, as well as leading other retreats as a Youth Pastor, I am confident that this retreat will also be highly used by God to make a difference in our students’ lives. At the end of the weekend, they may even be astonished at what God has revealed to them of Himself.
Personally, as a student, I still remember my first weekend retreat with my youth group. How amazing it was to get away from the busyness of life, and to have the opportunity to experience the presence of God in a new way. It was also one of the first times I felt God confirming my call to ministry. As the years have progressed, I have since had the privilege to lead other youth groups on retreats, and it has never failed to be a time where God meets with those students and changes their lives as well.
I have seen students hear God challenge them on their lifestyle choice and give them the challenge to turn from the direction they were heading and follow Him instead. I have seen God use retreats to speak healing into fractured relationships and restore friendships. I have seen God use retreats to bring students into a new relationship with Him through the Gospel of Jesus. And I have seen God completely change the direction of a student’s life by calling them into ministry when their plan was to be a doctor!
So, it is no surprise that because of all these past experiences I am once again filled with excitement and anticipation as Fall comes, and I prepare for my first retreat with Friendship Youth. I cannot wait to see what God does in, and through, the lives of the students that go. Which reminds me, if you are reading this and have a student that has not yet signed up for Fall Retreat, would you pray about signing them up for the retreat? I promise you it is an awesome experience, and you, too, may be astonished at what God will do in the life of your student!
If you would like to register for Fall Retreat, you can register at friendshipmn.org/fallretreat. The deadline to register is this Sunday October 9, 2022.