By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
MIDDLETOWN, Md.—In what they called their largest gathering ever, Skycroft Conference Center hosted its annual winter youth retreat, reBOOT, on Dec. 2-4. Organizers say at least 20 students made first-time professions of faith.
Grace Schofield, associate director of Skycroft, shared her excitement over the growth of the weekend event. About 175 people participated in the inaugural reBOOT last year. This year, the number of participants exceeded 400.
In fact, registration for the Amped Ministry event had to be closed in October because they were already full, she said. Youth groups from Maryland and Delaware, but also as far as Virginia and Pennsylvania, came to the retreat.
“For one specific event, this was the most people that Skycroft has ever had!” she added. The event was so successful Skycroft has added a second winter retreat for 2012/2013.
Structured like a shortened version of Skycroft’s week-long summer reCharge student camp, reBOOT featured energetic, meaningful worship, relevant messages, and youth group debriefing times as well as Bible studies, break-out sessions and recreational activities.
The speaker was Tyler Crosson, a youth pastor in Lexington, Ky., and former camp pastor for CentriKids camps. The youth worship team from Global Mission Church in Silver Spring, Md., led worship.
In the worship services, Crosson urged students to throw away things that were hindering the students’ walks with Christ into a mental “trash pit.” He asked students to stand up when they were ready to give up control over something to God or to get rid of the “chains” that were holding them back.
“We probably had half the room stand up just to proclaim that ‘I got rid of some of my junk this weekend,’” Schofield shared, adding that around 20 students indicated they had made first-time decisions for Christ.
On Saturday, students were split by age and gender for specialized Bible studies followed by two “circuit” (break-out) sessions of the student’s choice.
This year’s reBOOT theme was encouragement—“How do we encourage each other? How does God encourage us”—based on book of Philippians.
Skycroft staffer Andi Sweeney put together a “time capsule” concept that went with the theme.
“We were trying to come up with some way for the students to really feel like they were unified and feel like they were a part of something in their youth groups,” Sweeney said. He shared how the time capsule helped the students see that what they are doing now really does affect the future “not just for them as individuals, but as their youth group.”
The time capsules contained notes to each other, a timeline of events that happened within their youth group, and lists of things that were significant to them, among other things.
“This was just the start of it. We told them, ‘This is your opportunity to go home and add whatever you want into this to really make it your own and show future generations what the heart of your youth group is,’” Sweeney said.
To learn more about reCharge or reBOOT or other student ministry events, visit online at ampedministry.org.