An end of an Era?

Posted: May 15, 2009 in Programming, Youth Ministry
Tags: ,

When I was in high school, retreats (and youth events in general) were THE thing to do. It was a priority. It was something we all looked forward to. Most of my memories from those years were from these events. Now as a youth pastor planning these same retreats (and any event) I’m finding that the idea of a retreat is very different. Students don’t find them important or useful…no matter what the topic or theme is. I’m finding that students are entertained enough in front of their cell phones, video games, or sitting around their house. They aren’t catching the value of a retreat.

This lead me to think (because I was asked) what’s the purpose of a retreat? The reason I put on these retreats is for the biblical purposes of fellowship and discipleship. It’s great getting together without the normal distractions and really building community. After all, ‘ministry happens in the context of relationships’. This seems to be the best time to disciple them, draw them closer to our creator.


Is the idea of weekend retreats fading from youth ministry? Are students not interested in those events anymore? If this is the case, is there anything we can do to ‘take them out of their environment’? Or are there better ways of doing things? I would love to hear your feedback (students and youth pastors).

  1. Matt Cleaver says:

    Good thoughts here. In some way, retreats might be fading in usefulness, which can be a good or a bad thing. I love retreat, too, and think my students enjoy them when they get to come, but their schedules are so diverse that it’s difficult to find a weekend where 50% of them aren’t book. So, we could lament that they aren’t “putting God first.”

    The other option is to figure out how to disciple and fellowship outside of retreat. How do we disciple kids who are on cell phone, video games, or youtube? I’m not sure exactly yet, but I’m trying to help us move a little bit more in the missional direction.

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