YouthESource

Road to the Gathering: Letters from Home

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:31

When I was in high school, I attended a church retreat with some of my friends. It was a very entertaining and enlightening retreat, but to be honest, I don’t remember too much about it. What I do remember is that we had a special present waiting for us after one of the evening devotions…a letter from our parents!

In these “secret” letters, parents and other adults were encouraged to share words of encouragement to their youth. For parents and teenagers, often these words are unfortunately not said too often to each other, so this was a unique opportunity for the parents to tell their children exactly how they feel about their children. I remember looking across the room and seeing all of my friends taking this so seriously. Many cried, and others clearly had a lot on their mind. For me, it was particularly special as at that time my father was undergoing cancer treatments. During this time, I got to know my parents better and I got to know them a little more as people rather than just my parents.

I thought this was such a good idea that I have used it often in my ministry. Certainly this isn’t something that you want to do at every function, but for big things like the Gathering, this is a definite positive addition to your program.

At the 2007 Gathering we had parents write letters, but we had a youth come with us who not only wasn’t a member of our church, but his parents really didn’t support him coming on our trip or the fact that he was hanging out with Christian people. His parents didn’t write letters, so we had our leaders and other adults write him letters. I will never forget Matt getting up in front of our group after everyone had read their letters. He said he was afraid he would have any letters, and he ended up having the most in the group! What a great Christian witness for this young man!

I still have my letters and I look at them from time-to-time. I miss my dad- he passed away soon after that retreat. This is a present that my youth leaders gave me and 14 years later, it is still a huge blessing in my life. I pray that you consider giving a gift like this as well!

Blessings as you continue on the Road to the Gathering!

Published March 23, 2010

About the author

View more from Brian

Related Resources

The Habits That We Make: Parents

The Habits That We Make: Parents

We all have harmful habits, even in our churches. This article helps us think about how we might have habits where parents are not growing in their own Biblical education or even expecting the church and its workers to be the primary teachers of the Christian faith for their children. By identifying these kinds of habits, we can see how we might change them.

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Change or Experience?

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Change or Experience?

As youth workers, we need to remember that this cohort that experienced the COVID pandemic during their younger years experienced it differently than adults. Through research, Dr. Tina Berg has been able to identify key learnings that can help us care for young people, particularly confirmands, in the wake of the pandemic.

The Habits That We Make – Isolation

The Habits That We Make – Isolation

We all have habits, some intentionally developed and others not. Knowing our habits in ministry can be important. For example, we may tend to isolate kids and/or youth from the rest of the congregation. This article talks about how to identify this habit and push against it.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How do I know if our youth ministry program is healthy and properly caring for our teens?

Discover how you can enhance your youth ministry and serve the youth in your church with Seven Practices of Healthy Youth Ministry.

Share This