The middle school winter retreat was a blast! 42 of us spent the weekend at Twin Pines camp, with a trip to Shawnee Mountain for snow tubing on Saturday! I’ve always loved retreats, and there’s something undeniably fun about a weekend with a bunch of great junior high kids! Thanks to a great team of volunteers, we were able to have a ton of activities, all led by different people – Matt O kicked us off with a game time Friday night, Chris led games on Saturday, and Melissa brought it home on Sunday morning with a closing round of games. We also had sledding, contests, free time, a movie night, TONS of hot chocolate, great food, snowball fights, and more!
Of course, the purpose behind retreats isn’t just fun; it’s actually about creating an opportunity for building deeper fellowship, and getting kids out of their normal routines to create space for spiritual growth. Towards that end we used a sermon series for junior high kids from Simply Youth Ministry called ‘Jr High Play It.’ I taught the first and third session, Matt O taught the middle session. The theme was based on board games; talk one used the game Scrabble as an illustration for how our words have power and God calls us to use them for His glory. The second talk used the game Operation as an illustration for performing surgery on ourselves; in other words, that we need to search out our hearts, with the help of friends and God, and see where we need to grow and change, what needs to be cut out, etc. Our third talk, on Sunday morning, used the game Perfection as an illustration for the perfection that we pursue in Christ. We talked about what the world considers perfect versus what God considers perfect, and spent some time going over some of the basics of the faith. Definitely a great series to use, and one that the kids seem to really enjoy. In keeping with the theme, I grabbed a bunch of board game related prizes to give away over the weekend; pocket versions of different games, board games on a pen, etc. I’ll be posting the audio to our student ministry podcast feed soon!