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Getting ready for our CRAVE retreat this weekend. Yea, retreat. for some of you that sends chills down your spine because you have already done your fall retreat and you are still wiped out from it. I understand and I have been there before. With all the extra work that a retreat brings, I am still excited about the weekend. We are different than most busy student ministries. We have said no to busyness to strive to make what we do the best it can be. The big deal for us here at RELEVANT is our weekly ministry. Even with that, we do one thing each week called REMIX and we strive to make that one things the best it can be. Each fall and spring we focus on one weekend so we can help teens get away and connect with God, their lifegroup leader, and with their friends. For all of you who have to plan busy ministries so that you can provide a social calendar for your church kids, I am sorry. Some of your choose bsuyness and some are forced to do it that way. I hate you have to spread yourself so thin and take so much time away from your family. My advice is to slow down and focus on what you can do BEST for the teens you invest in. I thought today I would post some thoughts I have been thinking about retreat the past few years…

  • use as many of your weekly leaders as you can – this is where relationships really grow. Give your volunteers the chance to invest and make memories with your kids!
  • use youth pastors you trust to speak – there are tons of youth pastors you know who are good communicators. It will save you a ton of time and allow your kids to hear a fresh voice speak into their lives.
  • make sure your retreat format supports your weekly ministry format – make sure what you on retreat looks much like your weekly experience. RETREATS should support and enhance what you do each week.
  • make sure your teens have time to have fun – PLEASE MAKE ANY RETREAT YOU DO FUNNNNNNNNNNNN. Not sure who said fun was not holy. Fun softens hearts and builds relationships.
  • think outside the box – go places and do things your kids will not expect. We go to major cities and stay in nice hotels, WHY because we are tired of teens getting second best. They need to know they are worth the investment. You do not have to do every retreat in the woods even thought roughing it can be great. One of my friends does a great retreat each year with house boats at a local lake, GREAT IDEA!
  • partner with other youth ministries – any size church can hold a great retreat and numbers help bring momentum. If you lead a small church and have a small group, gather with five other churches and bring the momentum!
  • focus on the kids who go – we are all terrible at worrying about why kids do not go on an event we plan. Invest in the kids that go, give them your total attention.
  • pray, pray and pray some more – so many time we plan great things but forget the most important thing, TO PRAY! We need God to show up more than anything. Get people praying for your retreat.