Well, it’s here. Tonight is the first night of the final Youth Retreat for Hopevale Church that I will be leading. Almost 8 years ago, Sarah and I (and our little family) moved to Michigan to come to Hopevale Church to lead the student ministries and quickly discovered that this weekend was one of our favorites… a huge ministry highlight for us. Over these 8 years we have seen the huge amount of growth that has happened in the lives of our students, leaders, interns and staff as a result of this retreat.
This is a bittersweet weekend for me. On the one hand, I am very excited about my new role at Hopevale and leaning into families in a more direct way and working with our college ministry to make it something like never before. I am also very excited about our new student pastor being on board and all he will bring to the table by way of leadership and teaching. But, on the other hand, I know I will miss leading events like this one. I will miss the 6 months of planning and prepping. I will miss the ideas that are generated and watching my teams own ministry like they never have before. I will miss the enthusiasm that is experienced when an intern sees an environment they helped create be a catalyst that God uses in the life of a student to bring them closer to him. I will miss the “AHA” moments as students realize God’s deep love for them. I will miss the “I get it” moments where an atheist high school student comes face to face with the truth that there is a God and he deeply loves her and she can experience true love, peace, forgiveness, and restoration through Jesus. I will miss those moments… but I will cherish the memories.
So… I will be walking slowly through this retreat… capturing every emotion, every significant moment, every little thing that God wants to reveal to me about himself and myself.
HERE WE GO.