Monday, September 21, 2009

17three Retreat

This past weekend, I traveled to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland with between 60 and 70 leaders from the various student ministries of our church to pray, to plan, and to grow in our community as we prepare for the coming year. The exciting thing about the retreat was the simplicity around which it was centered. It was also pretty sweet to spend time in nature enjoying things like waterfalls, black bears, fall colors, and campfires.

The goal of the retreat, as well as the goals of all all the leaders was to help people know God better. Instead of long messages and strategic plans, the retreat was a bit of a hybrid. The central theme was this--"What do you LOVE about God?" And that's exactly what our church's college, young professional, and student ministries will be asking of people and talking about.

Here's the key concept. John 17three says "This is eternal life, that you would know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent." So these local church ministries are centered around helping people to know God better. One of the best ways to get to know anyone better is to spend time reflecting on what you love about them, and special memories you've shared with them.

Think about an old friend or a family member. What is it that you love about them? Are there some cool memories you have shared? What is the most exciting thing you have done with them together?

Beyond that, what could you do to get to know that person better? Of course spending time together with them would be great. How do you get to know anyone better--spend time together.

So, the entire weekend was centered around a group of young folks learning about God and spending time with him and with each other. But that's not the end of it all.

You see when you are with person you care about, it makes it easier to go out and be bold and serve others. I get kind of excited about the implications of what this little group is doing. Folks are talking about adopting service agencies with some friends, and getting beyond the walls of the church to go out into the community to lend a helping hand.

There is a world that is hurting, and there are huge problems that need people to care, to love, and to serve in order to solve them or at least mitigate them.

To me, as I reflect on the weekend, I get excited for the potential good that can come out of helping people to grow in their love for God and their love for others. It's not a fancy or flashy mission, but it seems like this echoes the word's of what Jesus told folks to be about back when he walked the earth--loving God and loving others.

This blog has been just a short snippet of ideas from the retreat--sorry it isn't more detailed. I want to leave you with this thought as you start your week though. Take a moment and reflect on this--it might breathe fresh wind into your Monday. What is it that you love about God? You don't have to write an answer on this blog--just think about it. What is it that you love about God?

Have a great Monday and a great week.

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