Last night was the opening of the Back to School Retreat for our church’s youth ministry, Grace Fusion. 3 of my kids are now part of the youth ministry, with my youngest daughter getting her first taste of the youth ministry this weekend.
The kids were pumped and ready to go and with every passing hour were asking “when are we leaving to go up to the church?”. Check in at the church was at 9:00PM, with a worship service to begin at 9:30PM. So, you can see why the wait seemed so long. But soon, the time came and we left. My wife decided to stay home and finish getting the house ready for the 10th graders to come over after the worship service at church.
Since it was late and I had already had a long day at work and then helped get the house ready, my intent was just to drop the kids off and go home, even though my wife had suggested that I stay for a little while. Once there, I thought I’d stay to see a few people and then possibly stay to hear Nick Thurmond and his band. I am so glad I stayed.
The service was AWESOME! It was so awesome that for the next 2 and a half hours, yes you read that right, I was completely drawn in by the music and then riveted to every word that the speaker, Ken Freeman, had to say. It was a powerful time of praise and worship with an engaging message on evangelism.
As the music started, all the kids rushed right to the stage, singing their hearts out, with hands lifted high, pouring their hearts out to God. Worshiping with the teens is a lot different than worshiping in the adult service. No one rushes the stage or sings and moves with the freedom and spontaneity that they do. It would really be a kick if we did though. Anyway, back to the teens. I decided I had to move down front right with them. The room was charged and hearts were being prepared. As a dad, an added joy was watching my 3 kids just let it go, even my youngest there, who is my most reserved child. It added to the charge that I felt in the room.
Finally, it was Ken’s turn. He’s a very energetic, straight-shooter who lays it right out there. You could sense the conviction in his heart and his passion for what he spoke about. Although his message was directed at the youth, his words constantly challenged me to evaluate my effort and effectiveness in witnessing and sharing my faith. I found myself falling short, very short. He closed with a powerful invitation, where a number of kids accepted Christ. Praise God!
As we finished, it was about midnight. I don’t think anyone in the room was tired. I know I wasn’t. I am so glad I stayed. To have missed that would’ve been a shame. I thank God that He started working on me to get me to stay for a little while and then He just pulled me in until there was no way I was leaving. What a great time and a great start to the Back to School Retreat!