For those of you who are unaware, our youth group recently returned from Faith in 3D, one of the most exciting retreats of the year, in Orlando Florida. Faith in 3D is a multidenominational conference that happens every three to five years at Walt Disney World. The weekend is designed to immerse youth from different Christian backgrounds in a united backdrop of worship, as they explore their common faith in Jesus Christ. This weekend challenged our students to contemplate God’s dream for their life through worship, education, and community building. To top it all off, we were at the one place on earth where dreams do come true.
It was the trip of a lifetime, and there are not enough words to tell of all the ways we were able to experience God through worship, prayer, and scripture. There was even a special missions experience at Epcot’s World Showcase as we learned about different cultures around the world. It was truly a powerful experience to worship in the presence of thousands of teenagers who had chosen to give up their weekend to worship God. Perhaps the best way to describe the weekend is, ninth- grader, Audrey Darwin’s exclamation that “I love Jesus and I love Disney! What could be better?”
For three days, I was fortunate enough to watch our students contemplate what God’s dream was for their lives as individuals, and as a youth group. In the moments, I could not help but think that there was no better message for them to hear as members of JCBC and what is happening in the life of our church. Not only as a church bursting fourth with excitement about the launch of a new service, but for what is happening in the life of our youth group.
The past several years have been years of transition and change for our students and left them struggling to find their identity as a youth group. As we begin a new year as a youth group, I ask that you as a church commit to dreaming with us for the exciting times that are on the way. In 2017, we are intentionally turning “inward” to focus on building a deep and meaningful community of fellowship for our students. We are committed to providing multiple opportunities and venues for our youth group to come together on a regular basis, so that our students have the space to connect with the leaders who are personally invested in their lives and form bonds with the peers that walk through life with them.
This inward focus has lead us to bring back our youth leadership team and praise band, so that students have ownership over what is happening in their youth group. We have introduced transition ministries to help nurture our students who are in the critical transition years of adolescence to young adulthood. These programs help guide students as they journey into middle school, begin high school, or prepare to launch as they go off to college. Finally, this year we will offer 10 separate retreats for our students so that they have the opportunity to come together away from all of the distractions of the world and pursue God as a community of faith who committed to doing life together. As we begin a new and exciting year with so many opportunities, please pray with me for the lives of our students as we dream big to help them pursue God’s call on their lives.
Johns Creek Baptist Church