By Kim King
What could be better than spending a weekend in God’s creation, enjoying food that someone else cooked and soaking in deeply the seeds of God’s Word? Doing it with 100 junior high kids! That’s right, I said Junior High Kids. This is how I spent one cold weekend back in January when several churches got together at Camp Andrews for our annual Junior High Winter Retreat. It was a great weekend filled with worship, Bible study, silly games, zip lines, hiking in caves, campfires, uncomfortable cots and very little sleep.
The theme of the retreat this year was “The Seed Everything Grows Out Of”, based on Matthew 22:34-40. Love God and love others and how that practically and meaningfully relates to 6th-, 7th- and 8th-graders in 2017. In loving our neighbors, we were challenged to consider Micah 6:8. How can we “act justly”, “love mercy” and “walk humbly” with our God while loving others? During small groups the kids spent time brainstorming ideas on how to love their communities at school and home and even strangers who need the love of Jesus in their lives.
We were especially blessed this year to have our very own Casey and Janae leading worship. One of the highlights of the weekend for me was on Saturday evening. After a full day of craziness and fun, we gathered to worship before our second Bible session. As I was sitting towards the back of the room, they began to sing, “Great Are You Lord”. I decided not to sing but to listen. It was overwhelming to hear all those young voices, in unity, singing, “It’s Your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise to You only” to our King, Jesus. I stood there, eyes closed, taking it all in and praying to the Lord that these kids, to the depths of their hearts, would know how much He loves them and would believe it!
I love junior high kids. I love their excitement for life, their willingness to be silly and their inquisitive minds. I consider it a privilege to be part of Junior High at New Life and watch firsthand as covenant kids grow into young men and women with genuine faith. So, take some time to get to know them; ask them what they are learning at church; ask them how you can pray for them; and ask them to pray for you!