I have been to the big national conferences. They were fun, I learned some stuff. But Refuel Retreat has been a totally different experience. If you get $$ to go to conferences or continuing ed I strongly urge you to check this out.
As youth pastor you are the point person, in the lead, the buck stops here, in your church's youth ministry. We cannot lead on empty. Big ballrooms full of free giveaways from youth ministry corporations don't matter. Break out sessions are great but not if you have no clue on the vision God has for the student ministry you lead. How can you lead others if you aren't leading yourself? Curriculum based conferences are good in helping you lead the curriculum but what if you are tired, spiritually and physically?
Wednesday I booked my airline tickets and my hotel room. I'm so thankful for a church that recognizes the value of sending staff off to learn and grow and connect.
This will be my third Refuel retreat. Each time I discover something new about myself and my relationship with Christ. Each time I come home with a road map, a plan, some direction where to lead our student ministry.
I have seen a huge shift in student ministry over the past 7 to 10 years. In days of old to say we have youth group and pizza and students would flock to the church. In the past we would announce "sign up for camp" and students would sign up. Several years ago there were not so many different things vying for our students' time. Families were not as busy as they are today.
I'm looking at our student ministry. When that 6th grader graduates high school I want him to know how to live out God's word in his life, I want him to understand who he is in Christ Jesus, I want him to realize his connection to the church and serving Christ. That's the kid who will go off to college and connect with a local church and continue growing in his faith.
How is that going to happen? Deep discipleship, someone(s) walking along side of the student challenging them in their faith, investing in their life, holding them accountable. Not every student wants this or is willing to do what it takes to be discipled. But there are some in every student ministry who are ready and those are the students who will be future leaders in the church, serving, on mission, making a difference in the world. We only get our students for two hours a week at student church. What are we going to do to make the most of that time?
“But Andy, if we focus on discipleship who students won’t evangelize.” I agree that their has to be balance in fellowship, discipleship, mission, ministry. I also know that a fully devoted follower of Christ, a disciple, will share their faith with others.
In order to lead this type of change in student ministry from event driven, youth group hanging out time, to purpose driven discipleship focused I need wisdom and guidance, I need my thinking challenged, and I'll experience this at Refuel Retreat.
Who wants to join me at Refuel Retreat?