High School Winter Retreat

HIGH SCHOOL WINTER RETREAT
Nate Edmondson

Our Student Ministries team just completed an outstanding High School Winter Retreat. We took 120 students and leaders to the Chalet at Mt. Baker, and had an incredible time building spiritual friendships and meeting with God together. I want to share a few of the highlights with you.

The snow was absolutely beautiful. We had about 35 students go skiing or snowboarding, and they all said it was the most ideal conditions. We had a group of students who played an epic football game, knees deep in the snow. Lots of students went sledding on one of the coolest sledding hills. When we weren’t playing in the snow, we were admiring it from inside while playing board games, making art, completing an extremely difficult 1,000 piece puzzle, and hanging out with a bottomless mug of hot chocolate.

The worship and teaching were powerful. Twice a day we would spend time in prayer, singing, and opening God’s Word together. The messages challenged students to think about this key question—Who do you want to become? Students were given the opportunity to think about where their life is headed, find momentum to move in God’s direction, and learn how to endure when life gets difficult.

The small groups were meaningful. The goal of small group is to give students a place to belong with a leader who can point them to Jesus. Leaders commented over and over about how fast their students “went deep” at Winter Retreat. That’s the most exciting thing to me. To “go deep” in small group means that students are building friendships—friendships that will help determine the direction and quality of their lives. “Going deep” means that students are discussing spiritual things together, using the Bible as their source for truth. These “deep things” have so much potential to change their lives. One of the primary ways that God changes us is through people, and small groups help students get around the right people.

Ultimately, the success of High School Winter Retreat will be measured many years from now, when students are still seeking the Lord, raising godly families, serving the church, etc. All we can do at events like this is plant seeds, and I think our team planted a lot of seeds. Seeds in the form of making awesome memories, hearing God’s Word taught clearly, singing together, building spiritual friendships, and giving students a glimpse at how much bigger God is than they may have imagined.

Thank you for being a church who loves students and families. I’m excited to see what God continues to do in our church family as we help students find and follow Jesus together. If you’re interested in knowing more about serving on our team, please contact me at natee@highlandscc.org.

Serving others is one of the best ways we can serve the Lord. In fact, Jesus said that whatever we do for “the least of these” we do for Him (Matthew 25:30). That is the reason Highlands is committed to serving the people in our community. We try to create several opportunities a year to help our students serve locally.

One of those recent opportunities was called “Serve the City.” On the last Monday of April, May and June, groups of about six students and leaders from Highlands in Kent went to downtown Kent to serve dinner to the homeless. We partnered with Kent Lutheran Church, which has been serving people experiencing homelessness for the last 30 years. They serve dinner to 100 to 150 people every Monday! A group of volunteers gets up early in the morning to begin preparing a hot meal for every person who will come through the door. Around 4:30 in the afternoon, our group arrived, washed up, and began serving the prepared meals. This was a great opportunity for our students to step outside of their comfort zone and grow their perspective.

After serving one evening, a student shared with the group that she was surprised at how thankful some of the people were, even though they were receiving so little. She said that it was a good reminder that she needs to be more thankful for the things God provides for her every day. Sometimes serving others transforms the life of the servant even more than the life of the people being served.

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