Wow! Every year, after every retreat, I am blown away! We had a great weekend at the Middle School Set Free! Retreat with over 150 students joining us to learn about meeting and experiencing God. I hope you’ll get a chance to connect with your child about their experience! If you’ve been on the adult Set Free! Retreat, you know that while it’s amazing, it’s also exhausting because you work hard! Here in Middle School we throw in some fun activities and games too – we work hard and play hard!
I want to give you a taste of what your child experienced this weekend. The sessions, very briefly, that we facilitated this last weekend were:
- Spiritual Warfare: This session we emphasized there is a spiritual battle going on around us, however, as Christians we have the authority to overcome. This may not happen after just one time of praying, and maybe you need others to pray with you, but we have the authority to have victory!
- Bad Attitudes and Behaviors: In this session we got a chance to prayerfully evaluate and “check-in” on how our attitude has been lately. We practiced a whole lot of confession and it was so good! Here we also touched on generational sin and the effects it has on us.
- The Cross: This is probably one of my favourite sessions to watch the students engage in. They have freedom to choose how they spend their time. We have a video clip playing a cross scene set to music and we have the crosses set up to help students better understand Jesus’ crucifixion. They are free to stay where they are and reflect on what Jesus did for them on the cross, sit with a leader to ask for prayer, or sit at the foot of the cross. We end the session with learning about communion and then do it together as we worship. This is always a very powerful session!
- Purity: This one was different for the younger students than the older students. For the older ones, the session looked more like the adult Set Free! Retreat in the sense that we took them through a similar inventory card, followed by confession and prayer. For the younger students we focused more on self-esteem and self-worth – who we are in Jesus. Here we asked Him what is unique about us, what He loves about us and what makes us special.
- Forgiveness: In this session we learned the importance of forgiveness and how it brings so much freedom to us! This can be a challenging lesson, but one that bears so much fruit!
- The Holy Spirit: During this session we spend time looking at the piece of the trinity that can seem a bit mysterious. We looked at the way the Holy Spirit is alive and our helper – He speaks to us, encourages us and directs us; how He is a very special part of the trinity of God.
Something that will help your child get the most out of this weekend is taking what was presented and practiced at the retreat and bringing it home!
- Talk to your child about what they experienced. Ask questions about the things they learned at the 6 sessions they went to. Ask them about how they felt going into the weekend, at the weekend and what was different when they left! Ask them about what impacted them the most! Use questions that invite a conversation to flow out of, rather than yes and no questions or those that can be answered quickly.
- Invite them to teach you something about what they learned and practice and pray with them. This is something that will just help them to solidify what they learned.
- Continue practicing the Set Free! Principles. Continue or start some of these same principles in your family – confession, worship, forgiveness, listening prayer.
- Pray with them. After a weekend like this emotions can sometimes be heightened. Pray with them and encourage them to take their feelings to God and ask God to speak to them about it.
After a weekend like this I’m always amazed to see these students walk lighter and more confidently. After encountering Jesus, they are even more engaged in worship because they experienced God in a deep and meaningful way. I hope you see some of those same changes in your child too!