A Weekend in the Mountains — Part 1 (The Reasons We Went)
A few weeks ago, I took five teenage boys from Allendale to a high school retreat, with Grace Church Student Ministry. This weekend coincided with a school half day and a bye week for our football team, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity for a group of us to come up for this event.
I had spent a couple of months recruiting boys to go. Two guys went last year and had a great time, so they were an easy sell. I was hoping to get three football players that we connected with over the summer. They were all on-board until two weeks before the weekend, when they found out they couldn’t go.
But I was able to find more guys who were eager for something to do outside of Allendale. (One guy brought his paperwork back days before we headed out, only to call me 10 minutes before I left to pick him up, saying his grandmother was having a birthday on Saturday, and he couldn’t go. Really?! Did no one know it was grandma’s birthday any earlier?)
Fortunately, when I was picking up the other guys, one of their brothers was able to join us on a moment’s notice. So we still had a party of five.
There we were, six of us from Allendale, headed to Black Mountain, NC, to join over 200 students and leaders from Grace Church.
The Reason for the Retreat
You may be wondering why I wanted to bring guys to this event. Why would we trade in a weekend of relaxing and drive 500 miles (= about $90 in gas)? Having never been on this annual retreat, I didn’t know what everything would be like, but I did know that they would…
- Have something to do. Weekends in Allendale are typically uneventful (unless Grandma is having a party)
- Have something positive to do. One of the boys told me that if he had stayed home, he probably would have gotten in trouble somehow.
- Get to go to a new place. I estimate that less than 10% of the children of Allendale have ever been to the mountains.
- Feel loved and welcomed.
- Meet new people. Of course, they couldn’t meet all 170 other students, but maybe they would connect with a few.
- Hear the gospel, in the teaching sessions and in our own small group time.
- Have a chance to bond (with me and each other), especially in our 10 hours on the road.
- Get good food, all-you-can-eat.
- Have some distraction-free rest.
As you’ll learn from the rest of the series, we met all these goals, and more. Be sure to come back for the next few posts: