We got back from our Winter Retreat on Monday. Man, did God move in a huge way. It was such a great time for students and leaders to spend 3 days in the beautiful mountains just below Big Bear to dive into what God wanted students to encounter. Winter Camp provides many things for both leaders and students to grow closer to each other and to God. Here is a list of things that need to be provided to get the ideal experience I wanted for our Winter Retreat:
Provide great content. The whole weekend had a theme: Let Go, Grab On. Each of the sessions would talk about something that had to do with the theme and it was something we prayed over for weeks to make sure it was the right direction to go with where our students were at in this time. This weekend we had a huge response! Praise God! (Click HERE to view the teaching arc of the trip)
Provide great music. Music is one of the key ways in which students can experience God in worship. A great band helps guide students in worship as they lead them in song. Our band this weekend was all former students and they gave up their weekend to come and hang out with us. It was so fun to have them back with us.
Provide quality time. We want to provide carved out time where leaders get to spend time with their cabins. After each session we block out 60-90 minutes for leaders and students to go and process what they just heard and learned through the session. We hit some pretty big subjects that we knew would spark up some deep conversations so making sure you provide that time is a big win.
Provide down time. For us, being up in the mountains and in nature is a pretty big change. We provided some good down time (free time, time between sessions and meals, late night options) for students and leaders just to hang out and have fun. There was a fire pit, baseball, card games, board games, soccer, hikes etc. and it was just a great time to be together. Fun breaks down walls. Broken down walls means honest conversations. Honest conversations lead to Jesus. Jesus leads to life change.
In all honesty, those are it! I think if we provide these 4 things for leaders and students God will do the rest and move in ways we never have seen. God used our amazing leaders to meet these students where they were at in their faith this weekend. As the camp director, it was my job to provide the opportunities for that meeting to happen and then step back and watch God work.