A weekend retreat to a camp in the rolling hills of southern Minnesota, when the trees are budding and flowers are blooming…who doesn’t love the sound of that? Add to that the fact that the retreat is put on to prepare a group of college students to be effective servants of Christ, and it has the makings of the best weekend ever.
A couple weekends ago, about fifty students, including myself, attended a retreat just like the one I described, better known as the Leaders Retreat, at Camp Victory in southeastern MN. These students have committed to be leaders on the Summer Training Project, Twin Cities Project, or Cross Cultural Project this summer. This retreat was a time of training and bonding to prepare us for a summer of spiritual growth. With four talks, three workshops, Bible studies and worship packed into two days, there is so much to share, but I want to give you a sneak peek into what the leaders retreat is all about!
Now, you may be wondering why this post is titled "Retreat to Victory." It wasn't meant to be just a funny pun on a retreat happening at Camp Victory. We learned a lot about what it looks like to be victorious as a leader this summer. The talks given by staff members Matt Reagan, Paul Poteat, Mike Polley and Eric Lonergan highlighted the truth that victorious Christian leadership is not about leading the most people to Christ, having all the answers or telling people what to do.
It's about being a servant.
Mark 10:43-44 states, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.”
Servanthood sounds great, but nobody naturally wants to be a servant. It can be a lot of pressure thinking that we have to be the perfect selfless leaders for a whole summer. But we also learned that because of the grace we have received on the cross, the success of STP, TCP or CCP has been redefined. Success no longer looks like us being model Christians.
Success looks like being faithful stewards of the Gospel and growing deeper in our relationships with Jesus Christ. The results of the summer are up to God.
When the results aren’t up to us, we are free to fail. But we are also free to take risks, to step out of our comfort zones and experience the grace of God in a whole new way. That kind of victory makes this summer incredibly exciting!
Leadership in Action
Saturday morning of the retreat, the STP leaders attended six mini-workshops designed to equip us for being team leaders and room leaders. We learned how to effectively spend time one-on-one with students, studying the Bible together or just having fun. But we also learned that all these things should be done with the aim of knowing them on a deeper level and pointing them to the Gospel. We also learned how to lead a discipleship group, do beach evangelism and study the Bible using the inductive study method.
Seeing day-to-day what it means to be an STP leader this summer helped adjust expectations to reality and allay a lot of fears!
Field Day Fun
Of course, we couldn’t spend a weekend at a beautiful camp without getting some time in the great outdoors. On Saturday afternoon, the CCP team put on a good old fashioned field day for the rest of the teams and staff. We competed in a three-legged race, wheelbarrow race, tug-of-war and lip-syncing contest. During free time on Saturday, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, mini golf and exploring the river area kept us busy; in the evenings, games like Mafia, Nertz or Bang were the popular attractions. It was awesome to see everyone come out of their shells a little more with people from other schools through the fun, informal times!
So much more happened at the retreat, but now you have a few snapshots to give you a taste of what we experienced! We’re so excited for this summer and can’t wait to share more about what God is doing!
Here are a few pictures from the weekend: