Last weekend, I had the opportunity to facilitate a retreat, yet again! This time, it was for a group of teenagers from Decatur Presbyterian Church. Their youth pastor was working on creating the space for the youth to take on some ownership of their ministry area. She thought they were ready to establish a youth leadership team and hoped that I would lay a foundation for them to work from.
These youth had a great foundation. What I brought to the table was some awareness. First, we began by looking at everyone's sacred spaces in the day. The moments where they find peace and feel connected to something bigger than themselves. This led to a discussion of prayer and finding their individual prayer voices so that they can meet God in the places where he is already at work. Then we took the 5 Love Languages quiz to determine how the group experienced love on a daily basis.
Discovering your love language is a powerful thing. It helps youth and adults to see both how they prefer to express love and how others are attempting to show them love. Using touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and acts of service, this group was able to identify that knowing each other's love languages can help to build community within their church and relationships with others. It also allowed them to see spaces where they may be called to spend time with God and ways that they are most likely to experience God's love.
When Jesus called his disciples he asked a group of life-long fishermen to fish. He asked them to do exactly what they were already doing, loved doing, needed to do, in order to live more deeply into a relationship with him. We are asked to do the same thing. I asked the youth to think about things they already love, they already enjoy, and brainstorm how those joys and gifts might lead them back to a life in relationship and community with the Spirit.
This led into a brain-storming session on all the areas in ministry where the youth could do what they love in order to create more relevant and accessible spaces for youth in several ministry areas in their church. They came up with ideas for mission work, local service, worship, fellowship, education, all created with the intention of deepening their relationship with God and building community. They even began to affirm spiritual gifts in one another and decided that they should take on inviting leaders and youth to use those gifts in areas where they would multiply into great blessings for their church.
This retreat was a joy. I loved getting to know these youth, experiencing the sincere commitment of their leaders, and hearing all of their intentions for love and leadership. If your church or youth are ready to live a little deeper in communion with the Spirit, I'd love to help facilitate a sacred space for you all to grow together.