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So you’ve got your youth retreat planned to a T- all the events are in order, the worship team is organized and ready to go, the bills have been paid, and even the food has been ordered. It seems that there isn’t a thing you haven’t planned… or is there?
One of the most important parts of any youth retreat is the theme. It’s the theme that sets the mood for the duration of the retreat. It’s what will drive the sermons, the music, and even the games. It’s the main idea that every little rabbit trail connects to, and it’s the biggest thought that every teen will take home with them. So that begs the question: How do you choose a theme? Here are some tips.
Pick something that can be applied to everyday life
Of course, anything can be applied to everyday life if you really think about it. But no one comes to a youth retreat to spend the whole time thinking. Whatever you pick, make sure your teens can easily understand how it relates to their lives. You may think it makes sense, but it may not make sense to the attendees. As a rule of thumb, if you can’t explain it in two sentences or less, scrap the idea. It’s probably too confusing to make much of an impression.
Pick something relatable to the culture
Remember your target demographic audience; this retreat is not for the church elders, who are well-versed in the scriptures, or for the adults, who are striving toward maturity in the faith. It is for teenagers, who are still learning about the world and about what it means to be a Christian. The odds are that many of your attendees aren’t even saved. So when you pick your theme, it can’t be so outdated that your teens deem it irrelevant and boring. It needs to be infused with all the good parts of the culture; for example, technology. Note that the bad parts of the culture, like sinful trends, are obviously to be left out.
Pick something that needs to be addressed
It seems that every year, there is a new big issue all over the media. This issue is usually something that the whole nation is divided on, something that people never cease to argue about. So in a society where everyone wants to be heard, teenagers aren’t sure who to listen to. The answer, of course, is Jesus. What people have to say isn’t always the correct way. What God has to say is always the truth. At your youth retreat, you want to teach your teenagers to be strong Christians who will stand up to peer pressure and stand with God instead. When they take a side on these big issues, it will be obvious that their faith is in the Creator of right and wrong. Pick your theme in accordance with the truth, so that these teens will open their hearts to the truth and go on to share it with the world.