The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Monday, January 29, 2007

Warmth in Winter 2007

This past weekend, I was with 10 of the high school students from the youth group at the Tennessee Conference's Warmth in Winter event. It was a really interesting weekend for me because it was my first large conference event as well as my first retreat with these high schoolers. For us, it was a good time, even though we commuted to the event from our church, whereas in the past, they had stayed downtown at a ridiculously swank hotel.

Here are some things I have learned:
1. I can't turn off my critical meter. I am now about 18 months away from having helped plan, lead and been in ministry through large events but I still look at things and go "I wouldn't have done that" or "I would do that differently" etc.
2. The students God has placed in my care are a little spiritually gun shy. What I mean is that when we would reach a particularly meaningful spiritual moment, their initial instinct is to run, flee or shut down. I am praying hard that they would realize that fear and fleeing is keeping them from deeply understanding the love of God. And I still love them and see God working in them...
3. I miss having close relationships with students. I am only 7 months in here and I came in a time of immense challenge for us as a church. It has hindered me in regards to building relationships with students. (I will freely admit that this is a bit of a cop-out.) But it was good to get to know them more and deeper and I am praying God will bring some fruit out of it.
4. Warmth in Winter has a legacy. It has been going on for 26 years and it shows. There were some fantastic things that I really loved and the chances that the event planners took. And there were things that felt like they were just holding on to because "we've always done it that way." On the whole it was a good event and I thought the speaker was very good for the most part.
5. It was the right call for us to keep our junior highers at home. I just think the large and the big would have so overwhelmed them that they would have lost the spiritual significance. Our own junior high retreat is a much better option for us.

Well, I am already back at it. A friend of some of my students died in an accident over the weekend. So please be in prayer for us and for the family of Alex.


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