Winter Retreat 2020: Called
February 12, 2020
We love the energy within our children and youth ministries, thanks to our capable and dedicated leaders and our kids who are eager to experience God and fellowship with their peers. Our youth ministry in particular has really been diving deep and asking the questions essential to their growth. Our Minister for Youth and Their Families, Dorian Albert, talks below about their latest retreat and what our young people are discovering.
Our youth recently went out to Hidden Acres retreat center in Kaufman, Texas for their annual Winter Retreat. Our retreats are packed full with activities, such as small groups, big group games, basketball, sand volleyball, archery, kayaking and so much more! We spend a majority of our retreat playing outside together. Since most of our students attend different schools, they typically only get to see each other once a week at church. Retreats offer extended time for fellowship and connection with our community! Plus, there’s absolutely NO cell phone reception at the retreat center – so our teens (and adult volunteers) have the opportunity to disengage from technology and be fully present on the retreat.
Our theme for this retreat was “Called”. We spent the weekend discussing WHO is called by God, HOW we are called by God, how do we DISCERN our call from God and how to we LIVE OUT our calling in our everyday lives. This was a BIG topic for our group – we spent time digging deep into our understanding of call. At the beginning of our retreat, we told the students that this weekend was not about finding all of the PERFECT answers and walking away with absolute assurance on how God is calling us in our lives. Instead, we hoped that our conversations would spark something within each of them – recognition toward what God might be calling them. And there were sparks! During one of our small group sessions, we had the students take a Spiritual Gifts assessment and discuss how their Spiritual Gifts connect with their discipleship and their call. The youth absolutely LOVED learning about Spiritual Gifts. (Learn more about Spiritual Gifts here!)
Our youth defined “calling” as the place where our passions and our gifts collide.
We ended our retreat by talking about three ways they can begin to discern their call by focusing on these three questions:
1- What am I passionate about? Identifying our passions are key to discerning our calling.
2 – What gifts has God given me? We should be in a continual process of discernment, on the lookout to identify the gifts God has given us.
3 – Where do I have the greatest opportunity to love others? We need to be on the lookout for where God is moving around us, inviting us to put our passions and gifts to work in the world.
It is my hope that our students walked away from our retreat knowing that GOD IS CALLING THEM. God is calling YOU!
We are all called. Every single person is called.
We may be called to different things, but there are some callings that unite us. Like this:
Matthew 28:18-20 (MSG)
18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
We are called by God to go out and make disciples for the transformation of the world. This is a big task– but the best news of all is that it is not ours to carry alone. We are in this together and God is always with us.
I am so proud of the young people in our church! They have a passion for learning and growing in their faith and discipleship – they give me incredible hope as the future leaders of our church!