TO: MY AMAZING AND FAITH PRAY-ERS
cat*a*lyst - a person or thing that precipitates an event or change.
Please believe me when I tell you this: this year's high school retreat was the most explosive and Spirit-filled/driven/exploded retreat I have ever been a part of in 16 years of youth ministry. Here are the basics:
Speaker: Chris Simning. A good friend of mine that God is using in absolutely incredible ways for His kingdom. He was our speaker for the year's winter retreat and BROUGHT IT! One of the key things that he mentioned I later found on the Facebook status of a student who attended the retreat: "The baggage in your life is what makes you, but it doesn't have to define you." Powerful weekend where many students were freedom from brokenness, find healing in confession, friendship, and worship.
Worship team: Our very own Ryan Hall led worship for the retreat. Ryan Hall is one of the best worship leaders that I have ever heard, ANYWHERE!!!! Our students respond to him so well and he leads us into God's presence in a way that shows that he is taking us where he already is.
Adult Crew & Student Leaders: These people are the backbone of the retreat. They did EVERYTHING. First of all, the retreat was planned from top to bottom by the student leaders. They planned, organized, and ran the retreat. They did an amazing job. The volunteer team steps up every year and takes ownership, truly shepherding the students that they get to hang with for the weekend.
We saw students stand in surrender to Jesus. We saw students stand confessing their need for change and/or the fact that God had done a change in them over the weekend. During praise and worship, students knelt, stood, raised hands, prayed, cried, clapped, shouted, etc...
As I write this, Acts 2:43 comes to mind: "And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done..." There were times during chapel on Saturday night when I looked over at staff members, with tears in all of our eyes, with shoulders shrugged and hands up, as if we were saying, "I have no clue what is going on, but JESUS IS AWESOME!" Seriously: words fail me. It is my prayer that my inability to share with you in words what God did this weekend will only encourage you in the ability that Jesus has in changing lives.
Like I said before: in 16 years, I have never seen what I saw over this weekend. Thank you so much for praying. And please keep it up, because I'm convinced that this past weekend is merely a catalyst to what God is getting ready to do.