More than 100 students and 28 sponsors convened at Cohutta Springs Jan. 31-Feb. 2 for this year’s High School Retreat, a time when the Youth Ministries Department sets its focus specifically on Adventist youth who are not in Adventist schools.
“It’s sad to say that we can get busy with all these different other groups,” said William Hurtado, Collegedale Church youth pastor. “This makes us think, Wait a second, I haven’t visited and talked to my public school kids. Now we’re calling them saying ‘Hey, how’s it going? Our annual retreat is coming up, can you come?’ So this retreat is a blessing that brings us back together.”
The weekend is a mix of small-group discussions, activities, and lectures.
“It helps you solve problems, and it helps you deal with other people who don’t actually believe what you believe,” said Isaiah Washington of Bristol, Va.
The weekend’s featured speaker, Ken Norton, said he doesn’t want the spirit of High School Retreat to end when the students go home. “I want them to go away from this weekend loving God more, excited about His Word, and ready to study it with other people. My life personally was changed in a small group, and that’s the dream—to learn the excitement of doing it here. And when they get back, they’ll start with each other and invite friends from school to get into the Word.”
Shelbe Johnson, from Columbus, Ga., said those who didn’t come “are missing out on a great experience. There’s a lot of good Christian people around who can help you with your walk with God.”
There’s good news for those who couldn’t make it this year. The retreat is an annual event, so next year, encourage youth from your church to attend this spiritually powerful weekend.
By Brian Young, communication assistant director
Photos by Brian Young