I was recently listening to a podcast on the importance of having "big events" in youth ministry. One of the speakers was saying that it is vital for students to have "mountain-top" experiences during their time in a youth group, something that they can return to years down the road and remember the way it felt to be that close to God. As I was listening, I began to remember a few of the mountain tops that I had been on growing up.
The Youth Conference to Trinity Baptist College - One year, my youth pastor took me and a few of my friends to a conference at Trinity Baptist College, the school he had attended. We had a blast together and there was some great preaching. I don't remember what was said, but I remember Branden falling in the mud, I remember eating a chapstick to impress a girl, and I remember that I surrendered to preach while I was there.
Our youth group trip to Rochester, NY - Each summer our youth group took a trip to several churches to perform a play and sing some songs. While we were on our trip to New York, we had the opportunity to serve in a rescue mission in inner-city Rochester and we performed at a church where a woman accepted Christ. This was the first time we had done the performance without someone preaching afterward. An incredible experience!
Planning my first youth activity - Just before I left for college, my youth pastor allowed me to plan a youth activity. We raised several hundred dollars for a local food bank and we had a great time. I still have a scar on my right elbow from playing dodgeball. It was during this activity that I felt a confirmation to continue what I was doing.
There are so many other "mountain top" experiences that I could share. The important thing is not the event, but rather the time that I had with God and with others. I look back on these times and they always make me smile.
Do you have any "mountain top" experiences from your youth group days?