Tomorrow I leave for a retreat with our Confirmation youth. Five youth and three adults will be heading to our local United Methodist Camp to meet up with other youth and adults from all over our conference. At last count, I think there were about 40 kids and 15 adults attending.
Describing this time as a retreat is a little mis-leading, at least as far as I am concerned. Organized chaos might be a better description. Usually a retreat is a time of seclusion or solitude or a time for group prayer, meditation or study. I imagine there will be very little seclusion, solitude, or meditation... although I hope there will be some prayer and study! To be honest, retreats such as this are a stretch point for my ministry. While I am very fond of the kids and enjoy spending time with them, being in a space with that many youth (and adults) for a prolonged period of time is stressful. I value my daily time of solitude, my personal space, and a moment of quiet here and there.
That said, I know I will survive, and even have a good time! My slight discomfort with the weekend is outweighed by the benefits of it for our youth. Church camp experience was vital for my personal faith life as a young person. Who knows... Maybe one of the youth who attends will look back on this weekend as a turning point in her or his spiritual growth.
As for my retreat, I have a post retreat retreat plan already in place.... involving a warm bath, Gary cooking dinner, and the new Dixie Chicks documentary. Sunday night will be here before I know it.
(At least I hope so!)