In his book Sustainable Youth Ministry, Mark DeVries dedicates an entire chapter to the value of friendships within a youth group. In fact, he cites research from Group Magazine which studied 10,000 youth group kids and asked them, “If you were choosing a church, how important would the following things be?” The top two responses ranked as very important, which outpaced every other response by volumes, were as follows: 1) 75% said “a welcoming environment where I can be myself” and 2) 70% said “quality relationships with teenagers”.
Our ability to form spiritual friendships and deep connections with our peers in a safe and inspiring environment is huge in our development as followers of Christ.
How can we ensure our students are able to experience and cultivate those kinds of relationships now when they are at a developmentally critical stage of life?
As you can imagine, I am not convinced that there is one “silver bullet” that guarantees our kids will have good, Christian friends who serve as catalysts to their spiritual growth. However, I do believe that retreats and group adventures do provide an exceptional opportunity to begin to forge those kinds of bonds.
We are so excited about our new fall retreat. For the first time, we are launching an adventure that will change how our students and leaders see themselves and the world around them – right next door. Over the course of this amazing weekend, students will experience exciting challenges and team building opportunities. We will be serving with partner organizations that serve the homeless and under resourced population of our nation’s capitol. Evenings will be comprised of worship gatherings focused on reminding each student of their identity in Christ and “Unstoppable” potential as they follow God’s call in their lives. You can check out more details right here.
I would recommend that you seriously consider this opportunity for your child. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.