Relationships are important in youth ministry. Certainly our relationship with Jesus is the most important thing, but our relationships with others are important, as well. A few weeks ago, I was in a Bible study in which we were talking about God’s love for us and our love for others. It’s easy to see how much God loves us–He sent Jesus to be our Savior! How do we show our love for each other? We are called to love our neighbors and people we don’t even know! But sometimes, we are not very good at loving the people God has put directly in our lives. And, if we can’t love the ones who are closest to us, how can we begin to love the people we don’t even know?
Every year, many youth groups unfortunately have to deal a lot of drama within their own group. I believe that we need to try to eliminate most of that before we can ever invite others into the group or go out and share Jesus’ love with others outside of our group. This is one of the many reasons I believe in having youth retreats.
I would like to recommend two different retreats to you. First, I believe that having a retreat at a camp is really important. This gives your group a chance to get out of the church setting and into a setting that fosters building team bonding and team unity. Typically, these retreats should be held toward the beginning of the school year or in the beginning stages of your particular group. If it is possible, hold your retreat at a camp that specializes in team building with initiatives courses or some sort of a ropes course. These camps are typically run by professionals who specialize in team building with all types of different groups, and they will use their expertise to help your group grow together.
After you have formed a group of individuals who care about each other, I would encourage you to register your group at some sort of youth gathering with other churches. There are lots of organizations out there that offer quality events designed to help your group grow in their faith, with their relationships with each other, and grow new relationships with other Christian youth from around the country and possibly the world! It’s important to allow your youth the chance to see that they are not alone–there are many youth out there who are just like them… Children of God!
Remember to take some time to retreat with your youth! Your group and their relationships with God and with each other will benefit greatly!
May God bless you as we continue Servin’ Lovin’ and Praisin’ Him!
Published September 2011