It so reminded me of my 2nd biggest youth group memory.
I can remember it like it was yesterday. The year was 1988 and I was in the 8th grade, I think! Maybe 7th, maybe my 2nd 8th grade year, who knows!
Anyways, our youth group went to a youth conference at a hotel. You know the kind. The kind that every pre-teen dreams of!
Staying in a hotel room. Swimming in the pool. Drinking Mountain Dew. Hanging out. Hanging out with girls.
It was basically heaven on earth.
But, I can still remember how much that weekend meant to me. I can remember driving there with my youth pastor in an old school 15 passenger van and I can remember shutting the door to our room and looking at my friends and thinking…”Oh MY GOSH…We’re alone!”
I can also remember the speaker.
People who say they can’t remember their youth pastor messages, or speakers messages…I always scratch my head. Some of my most pivotal spiritual moments have come at events…retreats…camps…mission trips. I can and do remember stuff like that.
And, maybe it’s because I’m a speaker, but I remember him challenging us to read the Bible, everyday. Now, I grew up in a christian home, went to a christian school, went to youth group, but up until that point I wasn’t reading my Bible everyday. That speaker pointed out to me that my faith wasn’t my parents faith, it was my own.
Now, nowhere in scripture does it say…”Read Your Bible Everyday”. But, we are encouraged to meditate on it and to not it depart from our hearts and mouths and lives. And I did. I came home and started opening my Bible. I don’t think I did it every day, maybe even once a week, but it stuck with me.
That weekend was HUGE for my spiritual journey.
It help set a new direction for my life. Yes, I remember hanging out in the hot tub with girls…more! But, come on, I was 12! Hah.
But, I so hope and wish that the current structure/philosophy and direction of student ministry doesn’t forget how important events/retreats and camps can be to their students spiritual direction!