Thursday, March 9, 2006


“Why do events?” That was the question of one youth worker who called me as she struggled with organizing the first trip of her ministry. “What’s the big deal, we can do everything you guys do right here at home.” For her, and for you, there are four reasons that immediately came to mind: place; passion; presenters & participation in something bigger than their micro-community.

Place: Changing Environment

The first reason is that often times we need a change of location to hear the same truth that we are hearing at home. Environment molds the message. If the location is overly familiar often the message is ignored. Taking your youth to a retreat center allows them to be in a completely different environment so that they can alter their perception of everything they hear and see.

Passion: Burning Hearts

Secondly passion is why off site events matter in the lives of young people. Try as you might, you and your staff get tired. You have preconceived notions of the young adults you work with that color how you view them. When you are in a retreat setting lead by an alternative group of people we are not bound by your conceptions. The Ministries with Young People staff are chose because of their burning passion to serve Christ and invest in young adults. They are not doing it every week with the same young people so they bring fresh eyes and intense passion to what they do.

Presenters: Fresh Voices

Not only do we recruit the best and brightest young adults to staff our events, we bring in bands and speakers that really connect to where your young people are. We intentionally find a diversity of styles and cultures so that you will be able to find in our summer line up a speaker and music team that you think will reach your youth.

Participation: Bigger Community

Young people want to be part of something bigger than themselves. SEJMYP youth events allow them to connect with a community that stretches across the southeastern United States. They begin to realize that the Church is bigger than their Sunday morning assembly and youth group. They expand their ideas of what the Church is and what is possible. Every year youth connect with people from a myriad of other places and maintain contact, share their struggles and spiritual journey across the miles thanks to the internet.

NETWORK, the magazine of the National Network of Youth Ministries, in their Spring 2006 issue listed “Church Camp/Retreat/Special Event Conferences” as the most frequently indicated influence on why young people begin their spiritual journey and make ongoing deeper commitments. That is why we do what we do at the SEJMYP, to facilitate those decisions and empower them to live as radically devoted followers of the Savior. Thanks be to God that we are:

Lost in Grace,

Marty

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