TO RETREAT, OR NOT TO RETREAT…

Written by Pam Newman on . Posted in Youth Minister

“retreat” [ri-treet]

Noun

  1. 1.The forced or strategic withdrawal of an army or an armed force before an enemy, or the withdrawing of a naval force from action.
  2. 2.The act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement; seclusion.
  3. 3.A place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy
  4. 4.A retirement or a period of retirement for religious exercises and meditation

We will be taking our teens, along with a great group of adult chaperones, to Palmetto Bible Camp next weekend (October 23-25) for our annual Fall Retreat.

Let me get this out of the way: I don’t expect you or your teenager to participate in every activity that we offer; that would be impossible. In a congregation of this size, I would imagine that it is very easy for parents & teens to forget/overlook activities from time to time. After all, life is busy; sports are demanding; the stresses of life are piling up; and the homework. Oh, the homework. It just. Keeps. On. Coming. In fact, I would imagine that there is at least one parent who is reading this right now and thinking, “We have a retreat this weekend???”

With all of these things going on, who has time for a retreat?

I am praying that YOU do.

If you’re a teenager, I am praying that you will realize the tremendous value of strategically (perhaps even forcefully) withdrawing from what is going on in your life right now. If you are a parent, I hope that you will consider doing this FOR your teenager next weekend. They may never do it for themselves, but they may need it desperately.

Talk to your coaches and at least ask them if it is possible to miss that practice or that event so that you can go on this retreat. Explain to them that this is important to you. Spend some extra time on your homework this week so that it hasn’t piled up on you for the weekend. Talk to your boss at work and ask for some time off. Don’t do this for your youth minister, or even for your youth group; do it for yourself and for your relationship with God!

In the world that you and I live in, a “retreat” is a rare thing indeed. In many ways, if we are ever going to have a retreat, we are going to have to take it for ourselves.

Our Lord gave us an example in this area of life, didn’t He? We are told in Luke 5:16 that “He would [often] withdraw to desolate places and pray.” Why did Jesus have to do this? Because no one else would do it for Him. We see in Mark 6:31 that Jesus “said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Why did Jesus have to do this for His followers? Because they needed it.

Jesus understood the value of a retreat, both for Himself and for His followers. God also set this example for us all the way back in Genesis 2 when He “rested” on the seventh day from His work of creation (Gen. 2:2-3). God even instituted the Sabbath Day for His people under the Law of Moses, giving them a built-in weekly “retreat” from their labors and stresses.

If you are “too busy for a retreat,” you are probably the very person who needs it the most.

Would you consider going with us? Would you plan to go with us? Would you begin praying about how God will strengthen and encourage you during this time? Would you pray for the rest of us, that God would work in mighty ways through His family here at Buford?

This is your invitation. This is your opportunity. The rest is up to you.

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