sabbath retreat – final report (maybe)

we got back from the sabbath weekend and things went very well. for an experiment this thing turned out wonderful. all the reports i have received from the kids who went have ben fantastic. to the point of having the majority of the teens who went ask me if we could start doing “mini-sabbaths” every month or every other month. of course, the purpose of the weekend was not to start another program so i don’t know if i’ll start something regular from this. here are some basic thoughts on the weekend:

  • the time periods of silence were very well received. the last about 45 minutes each time. i do think that if i do this again i will probably stretch this out some more. a couple of the teens made the very good point that they felt like it took them a good fifteen minutes to really get going with the silence. they said that they wished they had more silence each time. i think next time i will probably go for periods of 1 1/2 hours of silence.
  • the parable of the lost sheep was a HUGE hit. it really brought up some deep seated issues for some of the participants within the weekend. i divided the parable into three periods of contemplation 1) in the pasture with the other sheep, 2) being lost, 3) being found. each time we focused on what it would be like to be within the parable as the lost sheep during that time. the danger of reading scripture is to think it is about other people. so we focused on the parable knowing that it was about us. this was not a bible study per se, rather it was a discussion of what would be running through our minds at the various points within the parable. i didn’t try to then connect this to the kids’ lives. they figured out how it connected on their own. it was amazing to hear some of their comments.
  • cooking our own meals. i did not bring or hire someone else to cook the meals for us. instead the kids and adults did it. they were not allow to cook just hamburgers and such. instead the meals were decent meals – homemade chicken noodle soup, french dip sandwiches, etc.
  • spiritual autobiographies. each person discussed where they had been, where they were presently, and where they were going with CHRIST. they were deeply personal and very moving.
  • the free time. everyone loved the fact that we had a ton of free time.

it was a fantastic weekend and i’m so glad that it went well. if you’re interested in doing anything like this i’ll gladly send you all the stuff we did which you can then adapt any manner in which you want.