Saturday, May 23, 2009

Spiritual Retreats -Refresh yourself

For those of us in the Northern hemisphere it's becoming summer. The end of the school year, longer days, warmer temperatures. This initiates some changes and creates opportunities in the way we do youth ministry.

Think of summer not as an ending of this school year but as the beginning of the new year. I'm sure your head is filled with opportunities for the kids now that the weather is nice.The schedule can get packed fast. However, when you are planning, make sure you add some time for your own spiritual renewal.

While some churches and leaders recommend taking the summer off from any Sunday School or youth activities I completely disagree. Summer has always been a time of growth for my groups. Stopping your ministry will mean restarting from ground zero next fall. Hopefully, you have developed many volunteer leaders who are sharing the responsibilities of the ministry so it's OK for you to take some days off (make sure they do too).

Plan a few spiritual retreats for yourself. My favorite activity is camping. I go by myself to a favorite spot. Two nights is enough for me. That allows one whole day for prayer, reflection, and relaxation. The prayers are frequently "listening" prayers. The hikes, fishing, reading, napping are things I do for refreshment feeling that God is doing them with me. It's great to be surrounded by things God created.

My wife, however, usually has her spiritual retreats in a condo she gets through a travel club for just $99.00 a week (e-mail me and I will refer you to this club). That's cheaper than camping.. It gets her away from the distractions of home. She also feels safer than being in the wilderness. Plus, it gives her the opportunity to go in bad weather or the winter. She takes her favorite music, devotionals, and easy food. She goes for a week at a time, comes home really refreshed.

Whatever you can do plan to do it before a hectic schedule crowds it out.