Last weekend, 128 Junior High students and 35 adult leaders and staff went to Camp Lebanon for the Ground Zero Spring Retreat: Rescue. We prayed. We prepped. We planned.
And God showed up. Big time.
Rescue was a landmark experience for everyone involved.
Zipline rides, sundaes, nachos, four great meals, street hockey, kickball, capture the flag, and two two-hour bus rides equaled exhaustive fun. On Saturday night, we watched as 40 students shared their talents at the GZ Got Talent Show. No matter how each kid performed, everyone cheered wildly, gave standing ovations, and sang and swayed along as kids put their talents on display. These junior high students experienced a moment of true community love for one another.
Landmark experiences also came during the worship services.
Throughout the weekend, we wanted the junior high students to understand that although they don’t deserve to be rescued, God has sent the ultimate rescue in Jesus Christ. Although they don’t deserve the lifesaver, God loves them enough and gives them the opportunity to be rescued. They don’t need to be good enough or smart enough – they simply must believe and receive.
We wanted to convey the Gospel truth found in John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
And they definitely worshiped with singing and jumping. During each session, junior high students sang loud and jumped around, all to the glory of God.
On Sunday morning, we ended with a session on what it means to be rescued to reach others for Christ. We took communion together, and ended with our theme song, Rescue. “I need you Jesus. To come to my rescue. Where else can I go? There’s no other name, by which I am saved. Capture me with grace. I will follow you.”
It was a landmark experience. We saw kids far from God – hurting and broken – turn their lives to Him. We watched as tough students broke down in tears over the reality that God has rescued them. We witnessed several Christ-following adult leaders surround and love these kids with all they had in them. We all experienced a true slice of heaven.
We pray this RESCUE message will forever be a landmark experience they can look back on wherever their faith journeys take them.
I can honestly say this was a landmark experience because of Eagle Brook Church. From those who give financially to the mission of the church, to those who pray for the next generation, to those who simply help create an environment welcoming to junior high students – they all deserve a piece of the thanks for this unforgettable weekend.
* Post originally written for the EBC Blog