Winter Retreat Recap: SHINE

This past weekend was our annual youth group Winter Retreat. This is one of my favorite youth group events of the year, because we are able to take a break from our regular schedules for a weekend and focus on other things instead. It is always a time where the kids in our group grow closer together, get spiritually re-engergized, and have a ton of fun.

This year, the theme of our retreat was “SHINE,” and we talked about light and darkness from a spiritual perspective. Throughout Scripture, God is consistently portrayed using the metaphor of light, and as followers of God, Christians are to be people of light as well.

Our teachings on this topic were organized around three lessons which showed the progression of the theme throughout the weekend:

(1) The Shining Face of Moses (Exodus 33.18-23; Exodus 34.28-35). After Moses leads the people out of Egypt, he spends 40 days and 40 nights with God on Mt. Sinai while God gives the Law to him. Moses is protected in the crevice of a rock, and is only able to see the back of God’s glory as He passes, but the glory of God is so bright that it leaves Moses with a face that literally shines. He even wears a veil to cover his face. Being in the presence of God changes us.

(2) The Shining Light Comes to Earth (John 1.1-14; The Nativity Story). With the birth of Jesus, God reveals His glory and brings His Light to the earth in a new and special way. Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time, and this means that the life of Jesus gives us the perfect example of how we can live in our dark world and still shine God’s Light.

(3) Shining God’s Light to Others (John 8.12; John 9.5; Matthew 5.14-16; Philippians 2.14-15; 1 John 1.5-7). After talking about the greatness of God’s glory and how that glory was brought to earth in a special way through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, our last lesson brought all this together, and focus on our main task as Christians: shining the light of God into our dark world.

Instead of presenting this material in a traditional lecture format, our teens were broken into discussion groups based on age, and processed and learned the material that way. We then combined the separate groups for a larger group discussion, which (hopefully) helped to reinforce the material.

It was a great weekend! We had a lot of fun, and I am optimistic that the teens learned a lot as well.


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