This weekend is our annual Middle School and High School Fall Retreat. I always enjoy this weekend because it allows our students the opportunity to get away from their normal weekend routine and focus on their relationship with God. Personally, I believe this is one of the best things a youth ministry can do for its students. A getaway like this provides the youth so many wonderful opportunities for growth. If a youth minister fails to capitalize on something like this, he has missed a great opportunity to instill a deeper commitment to the Lord within the hearts of his students.
The theme for our retreat is “I AM.” We will spend the weekend focusing upon some of the most amazing qualities of God. I have spent a lot of time thinking about which qualities I wanted us to emphasize over the course of this weekend. When one considers such qualities pertaining to God, it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. However, I wanted to pick attributes of God that most teens need to be reminded of and attributes that truly show God in a positive light. Many times when a teen thinks about certain attributes of God, he or she thinks about those qualities in a negative sense. For instance, the fact that God is All-Knowing is generally seen as a negative, not just among teens, but among adults as well. After all, “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13). I want our students to understand why God being all-knowing is a positive attribute we should be thankful for instead of a negative one. Thus, after much thought, these are the attributes of God we are focusing on this weekend.
I AM All-Knowing
“O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.4Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD,you know it altogether. 5You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:1-6).
I AM Faithful
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God,the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9).
I Am Merciful
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:9-10).
I AM Love
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him” (I John 3:1).
The Psalmist reminds us, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It is my hope and prayer that our students will take time to be still and know God, and come away with a better appreciation for Him.
Now that’s Something to Think About!