Sometimes the most creative ideas come when you are the least “with-it.” I remember in my 2nd year of Youth Ministry at Bethel coming home late after a youth night and trying to fall asleep. I was buzzing with excitement after staying up late drinking Coca Cola and talking about life with some Junior High Students. I was thinking, what should we do for our next retreat? I was also thinking about Outlet events. Half asleep, an idea popped into my head: what if we took the excitement and mystery of a progressive dinner and made a “progressive retreat?!” After bringing it to our youth leaders, and sanding off the edges of the idea together – we had a tangible plan. The result was our first “Mystery Retreat.”
Six and a half years later, we have done a few of them. Junior and Senior High Students show up at 6:00 pm on Friday and have no clue what they are going to experience for the weekend. They only know they are promised an impactful weekend with Jesus… somewhere in the province. Parents receive a sealed envelope of the locations on Friday evening that they are instructed to read once at home. Amazingly, the Mystery of each trip (which usually has 3 different locations each weekend) has been preserved year after year.
Some highlights have included doing a serve day at Rehoboth, going Go-Carting in Sylvan Lake, praying over street-people in Calgary, sleeping on countless church floors, hiking the Hoo-doos, worshipping spontaneously, continental breakfasts and more. The Youth Leaders try to build elements of service, worship, and play into each weekend.
This weekend (April 17-19) we have special guest speakers, Cameron and Abi Smith from Tennessee joining us. This couple has a long relationship with our youth group. They have been there for all 5 trips to Mexico over the years. Abi is Pastor Arturo’s daughter. We look forward to having them bring God’s Word to us.
God is doing a good work in the youth of Bethel. Please continue to pray for them – that each would discover, and grow in their identity in Jesus. Pray also for our youth volunteers who give their time to mentor and teach our young people.
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