2020 was an isolating year, where gathering together in-person was not easily accomplished. Churches were certainly not immune to this struggle. As restrictions lift and life shifts into some normalcy, youth groups are meeting again, and amazing things are happening. This spring, six Charis Fellowship youth groups from the North Atlantic District gathered at Black Rock Retreat Center for their annual Unite Youth Retreat. The theme was “Restored,” and it was a time of worship, fellowship and challenges from God’s Word.
Steve Martinez is the youth pastor at Grace Church in Lititz. He described the weekend as having a powerful impact on his students and the group left with a greater sense of unity. Tony Villafane and the Gateway Church youth group also attended. Tony added it was an incredible retreat and speaker, Jonny Radliff, was dynamic. “He really challenged students well,” says Tony, “Speaking from the simplicity of the Gospel to the profundity of the Gospel and [his message] made a huge impact on our students.”
Jonny Radcliff is a student pastor in Plymouth Meeting, PA and area coordinator for the National Network of Youth Ministries. He challenged students in four areas: give life to Jesus, put on or put off an attitude, put on or put off an action, and share your faith more. The final night he used cards that represented each of these areas and students came forward to select a card as a tangible reminder of the area they committed to focus on. Steve said, “This made a great impact on our students. It engrained their decisions in their minds.” Most students went forward to make commitments and four made first time decisions for Christ!
When asked for his takeaway from the weekend, Jonny observed that two things stuck out to him—it felt great to get back to “something from the old world” and the teamwork of the churches involved. He commented, “You would think it was just one group that was from the same church, there was so much harmony.”
Momentum is so grateful to these youth pastors who consistently partner with us and our ministries and we are thrilled they had this incredible and impactful weekend together. It makes us all the more excited to be together again at our “On The Road” events this summer.