November 2012

Fall Middle School Retreat

Submitted by Adam Cooper
Last month, a group of 26 middle schoolers and 10 leaders took a weekend trip into the Flint Hills for our Fall Retreat. We travelled about 3 hours south of Kansas City to a large ranch near Eureka, KS.  Out in the country, it’s so easy to see God’s glory on display. Our free time was spent fishing, exploring the land on foot and on ATVs, roasting s’mores, swimming and laughing together – typical retreat stuff.

Retreating can be a powerful experience for middle school students. When students are given the opportunity to interrupt their routine and are provided space to reflect on their life away from their normal world, transformation is bound to take place. Our theme was titled The Greatest Story Ever Told. We spent our mornings and evenings discussing God’s Story, his abundant creation and human beings being the pinnacle of that creation. Our discussions revolved the Genesis narrative as well as the idea that we are “God’s workmanship” created in his Image as participants in his Story. (Ephesians 2)

One morning, we drove to the highest point on the property where we could see about 15 miles in every direction. We spread out across the acres and spent some 1-on-1 time with God. No script, no distractions (save for some grass picking and grasshopper catching), just some open space to take a breath, read some Scripture, and bask in the presence of our Father. It’s amazing how God’s creation speaks to us when we take the time to notice it and listen for it.

Ending a retreat is always exciting; I imagine it is how Jesus felt when he sent out the disciples with the Great Commission. Our students were given the space to encounter God and reflect on their life, now they’re all tasked with re-entering their own world – their homes, schools, clubs, sports teams, groups, friend circles, etc. – with new perspective on what it actually means to be a follower of Christ and a participant in God’s Story. (See more pictures and follow Jacob’s Well Youth on Facebook)- submitted by Adam Cooper