Loretta and I put on a CORE group (youth) retreat for Friday, Sept 24 – Saturday, Sept 25, 2010. We call it CORE 24 because it is literally 24 hours that we are on the retreat.

This was our second CORE retreat, and we have found that the simple act of “retreating” and devoting some time to reflect on our Christian life and spirituality is precious and necessary. This isn’t an outreach event. It’s an internal reflective and contemplative event. Loretta had 4 high school students attend, and I had 4 middle school students attend. The 10 of us made our way to The Wilderness Fellowship Ministries, which is a little over an hour away from Hayward. This place does not have electricity. Only the bath house does (so that is where we made our coffee!). The fridge and the stove are propane powered and the water is from a hand-pump. It was rustic. No lights at night, either!

Loretta and I had two important sessions we wanted to engage the students with, one on Friday and one on Saturday. The first was for the students to ask the question: “Where is my relationship at with Jesus?” They had an hour or so of silence and solitude to think and ponder that question. Then we shared our thoughts around the campfire.

For the second session we asked the students to answer the question: “What do I want my relationship with Jesus to look like at the end of the school year?” Their task was to return to silence and solitude, and draw a picture of what the answer to that question looked like as they picked out a Psalm that illustrated where they wanted to be.

Again, this was the second year we did these same exact exercises, and they continued to prove to be effective thought provoking questions that engaged the students in self-reflection.

Plus we had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs! But that goes (almost) without saying when you’re hanging out with students minus electricity and no electronic gadgets!

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