Last weekend, we had our annual Boys’ Retreat. In the past, we have always traveled to our local camp and conference center. This year, we went on a two-night float trip in southern Missouri. While the nights were a little cold, the daytime temperatures were perfect. On the drive home, I reflected on our weekend retreat. I am confident that outdoor retreats are a perfect opportunity, that may not be possible anywhere else, to focus on God, creation, and community. The theme of the retreat was “Finding God in Nature.” We spent time around the campfire talking about God’s creation and how we are called to be stewards of the earth.
For almost 72 hours I had a chance to live in community with my youth and adult sponsors. We had no cell phone reception, no televisions, and no video games. Where else can you get this kind of opportunity for ministry? Sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmallows, chatting, and throwing buckeyes in the fire (yes, they do have impressive explosions) create memories for these youth and adult sponsors that will last a lifetime. I really encourage each of us to continually think of ways in which we can take our youth away for the busyness of their lives and provide them with the opportunity to slow down, relax, live in community, and celebrate the presence of God in their lives.