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Amazing Weekend with Amazing Youth

January 18, 2011

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending our church’s annual youth retreat.  As the associate minister, I tend to know the names of the kids in our church but don’t get a chance to really know their stories.  I come to cherish these weekends where I can spend an extended period of time with them and begin to know who they are.  This is my third year with them, and every year I am more and more impressed by them, in awe of them, and moved by their stories.

Over 80 adults and youth made the trip down to Epworth by the Sea on St. Simon’s island to experience Renovatus 2011.  The theme was “Revealed.”  We explored together how God reveals God’s self to the world and how God sees the world, the people around us, and ourselves.  There was a second dimension to the trip, as it was return to confirmation since all the kids went to Epworth during their confirmation experience.  To this end, I got the chance to talk about some of our Wesleyan heritage and how we understand the presence of God’s grace in our lives and in our world.

Chris, our youth director, did an amazing job with his talks, really reaching into the lives of the kids and speaking God’s love and hope and grace into their situations.  Chris and Carson, our youth assistant, planned everything perfectly, from the music and worship to the talks to the experiences the kids had – foot washing, communion, sharing time, and communal prayer.

It’s so easy to sometimes dismiss the teenagers among us – after all, they do often carry a lot of drama.  But take the time to really get to know them.  Let them tell you about their lives, about the things they are experiencing, about what they have learned about life and what they still have yet to understand.  I know you will be amazed, you will be humbled, you will be heart broken, and you will be inspired.  I know I am.

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