Go Into All the World

Apr 16, 2024

A Look into Our Discipleship Retreat

“Live a life that provokes the question,” urged the speaker, addressing young faces intently listening at last week’s YFC discipleship retreat. In Matthew 28, Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples of all nations”—a daunting task were we to rely on our grasp of Scripture or our way with words, and even more so our goodness. 

But here’s the great news. It doesn’t depend on us or what we do. It doesn’t depend on “lofty speech and wisdom” but on the Spirit’s power (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). Our very life becomes a testament, much like the once-blind man who declared with simplicity yet profound conviction, “Though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25). Seventeen-year-old Nicolas from YFC captured the essence when he reflected, “How do we proclaim our faith? How do we embody Christ? What sets us apart? These aren’t questions we consider enough, but we must. ‘Live a life that provokes the question.’” 

On March 12 and 13, our School Ministry team organized a discipleship retreat for Christ-following teens. The aim was to inspire them to embody Christ daily and share their faith with their peers. It was an invaluable opportunity for the teens to support each other’s faith journey. Serop, age 15, expressed gladness at deepening his connections with his friends and God. Sandy, age 12, was also thrilled by the bonds she had formed. Gloria, 17, elaborated:

We found strength in one another, united by our love for Jesus and our desire to live for Him. Sharing our challenges during the retreat made me realize I’m not alone; we’re all navigating similar struggles. And I have a feeling we’ll keep tabs on each other after this. Being with people who share the same faith as I do makes such a difference!

The retreat kicked off with everyone jumping into all sorts of fun—skate soccer, “Indian baseball,” and much more! But beyond the laughter and playful competition, a deeper harmony was struck as they came together in worship. A youth leader spoke, kindling a spark within them: to carry the fire of this ‘mountain top’ experience into their daily lives and hold fast to their resolve well after the retreat. In the steady, nurtured relationship with God, we become His message-bearers for life. 

As dusk fell, leaders and teens shared powerful testimonies of experiencing God around a bonfire. Among them, Shady, 16, spoke of a key moment that reshaped his view of God. He later reflected, “Yes, our relationship with God is significant, but it should also compel us to look outward, to reach others, and to proclaim the Gospel.” 

Creative worship stations were one of the highlights of the next day. Set against soft worship songs, teens drifted from station to station, each a quiet space to dive into their journey with God. At one station, they tied ribbons with their commitments onto wood—visual reminders to keep their faith fire ablaze. Some poured their experiences into songwriting, their lyrics a testament to God’s impact in their lives. One thing stood out clearly among the different stations: the teens’ deep and authentic passion for God.

The teens engaged in meaningful discussions throughout the retreat amidst nature’s calming embrace, uncovering their fear of bullying or losing friends over gospel-sharing. However, they also voiced moments of commitment—like the girl who recounted giving a Bible to a friend who, hesitant at first, started reading it at recess. A boy shared a newfound courage gained from the retreat—to never feel ashamed of Jesus. Jad, 17, also shared:

I resonated with the call to ‘proclaim’—to share my faith. But the question is, how, especially around those who seem lost in sin? Then I realized it’s not about my words; it’s about letting the Holy Spirit guide my speech. It’s about surrendering and allowing God to speak through me. Sure, it’s a learning process with its ups and downs, but I’m up for the challenge—especially among people my age. It takes courage, but it’s part of our calling.

Pray with us that these teens keep growing in their relationship with God and experiencing authentic encounters with Him. The retreat may have ended, but their journey of discipleship continues, fueled by the Spirit’s power over their words and lives, as they step out to ‘make disciples of all nations.’